Tag Archives: planning

Happy Hump Day

I’ve been so busy just lately I don’t know where to start. And I would have started this over on Chrome, but for some reason WordPress doesn’t like Chrome at the moment, although I can’t say I blame them. I only use it because I don’t like everything being with Microsoft, but I also don’t like the way Google wants to know so much about you.  I’ve tried to edit the to do list from Monday over there, and I’ve tried to start today’s post, but it just isn’t working and so I’m back on Explorer.

I’ve used Firefox in the past, which meant I didn’t have to use either, but that one seemed to carry so many bugs that it was taking too long each time I tried to do something simple. And anyway, a lot of websites aren’t written with Firefox in mind. Perhaps I should look at switching to Mac and using Safari instead.

Any Mac/Safari users out there? What are you thoughts and experiences? Answers in the usual place below, ta. 🙂

Mind you, I can’t afford a Mac at the moment, but saying that, the work is piling in. Last week it had already gone mental, and this week I’ve filled up the diary for most of February. One more job and I’ll be taking bookings into March.

In the olden days, when I used to be prolific, my diary was booked up for up to 3 months in advance. I’m not sure I want to get into that position again because that was due to writing several columns for several different magazines. Of course, I’d love to get more writing assignments again, but the columns made me stale and complacent. I didn’t have to work for the work any more, if you get my drift, and so I lost the work-gathering skills I’d previously honed so well.

Filling the diary for a month in advance is good, though. Especially when they’re all good payers or even deposit-payers or up-front-payers. I love those the best, but again, that does sometimes make me a little complacent if the money’s already in.

I have a lot to do with the money that’s coming in now, and I have a lot of work to do to get organised on that side of things. Today, for example, I have several letters to write because I’ve reclaimed my debt management plan from the debt management company and have to let everyone know. I’m proud of what I’ve achieved in the last 5 years, but there’s still a way to go.

The dog got his first walk yesterday. I used to walk him every day, to the letterbox, to the post office, to the village shop, or just around the block or the fields, but he’s not had a regular walk for ages – and neither have I. Yesterday I found a letterbox, so there’s one walk I can take him on if nothing else.

I’ve been dodging showers, but I don’t mind getting caught in them. I’ve just been lucky. Today it’s raining again. Perhaps I’ll catch a shower this time.

I still have plenty to do this week, so I’d best crack on.

How’s your week going?

Heather on Langsett

Heather on Langsett. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Heather on Langsett. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

The weekend was all about quiet, thinking and work. I was fairly occupied and wasn’t going to go out Saturday night, but when my friends asked me again to go with them, I decided I needed a break. It was nice to see them, and nice to get out.

On Monday I was very busy editing a book. I finished the manual edits and started the electronic edits, but by about 7pm I was ready to call it a day. I didn’t do much else as I wanted to crack on with this book.

Tuesday was spent down in Birmingham doing legal stuff with my family. However, when I got back there was a new job waiting for me from lovely already boss and I addressed a couple of work issues. But again I was done by about 7:30pm.

Today I have the electronic edits of that book to complete, some revisions to apply to a previous edit, that second edit to get into the post, the gig list to update and a dog to walk. I also bid for 13 jobs this morning, including one invitation to submit, and had been shortlisted for one, down to 2 from about 93 (first it was 9, then it was 5 …). Unfortunately I lost it to someone charging half as much as me. Lovely already boss has also asked me today how I’m fixed for more work.

I have plenty of work in now for at least the next 3 weeks with more promised. I need to get the invoices into the system, though, so that the money is coming in on a regular basis and I’m not swinging between feast and famine again. Time management is getting a lot of attention at the moment to ensure I keep a realistic diary and then stick to it. I’m turning work around a lot quicker and my time estimates are improving.

For the rest of this week I have another edit to start, preferably tomorrow morning. That will take me to Monday.

It’s nice being busy, it’s nice knowing I’m really earning a fair wage, and it’s nice to have a full diary. It’s horrible being broke, though, and I need to eradicate that word entirely from my vocabulary.

A few weeks before we went on holiday we went to Langsett Reservoir walking. This is one of the poet’s favourite shots of his own, if not his actual favourite. Enjoy.

The bridges of Yorkshire Dale country

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We took a lot of pictures of bridges while we were on holiday. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Well, I remembered to come back in and post, but it’s been another busy week.

Aside from battling flu x 2 – but winning, we hope – I’ve also finished editing a non-fiction, submitted it to the author and had two responses already, with very minimal comments other than replies to my questions (three of them) and a couple of author-error corrections. Basically, he’s happy with my work. 🙂

I carried out the revisions on the other edit, only to find that the software isn’t working, so that’s on hold again until they fix it.

I had a meeting with a new financial management company, updated the gig list for this week, and I’ve pitched for 15 jobs so far.

Today I start a new edit, it’s another historical fiction, and I’ve already raised this week’s invoices. (Hurrah!)

I’ve also started to do the daily competitions again, while I have a tea break.

The weekend is still a bit up in the air, mostly due to the flu. If I’m still coldy, I won’t be very welcome at my parents’ as my dad is likely to catch it. But we do have at least one gig to go to on Saturday.

What I’d like to do, now I seem to back in the swing of paid work again, is get into the swing of writing – fillers, short stories, pitches, books, novels. I’m starting to itch and I need to scratch it and it’s driving me mad not having any time to do it. And yes, yes, yes, I know I have to find or make the time, but just now everything else seems to be wanting attention.

Finances for a start. I need to build credit control into my working week, as well as marketing, sales and promotion. So, while I’m on the subject, please visit my book pages. Proper books are here, ebooks are here. 😀

If I stay home this weekend, I’ll either try to get ahead on the guaranteed paid work, or I’ll have a potter with the writing. Which would you do?

Today’s picture is another from Dentdale. We saw a lot of bridges while on holiday and liked them. Very much.

Have a great weekend.

Another week hurtles by

Where does the time go? I knew I’d run out of time before posting last Wednesday, but to miss Friday as well …

I’ve been very busy, in my defence. Which is Very Good. But also Very Rude.

So where did my week go?

Monday – I was here. Blogging about the weekend. I also wrote and submitted the weekly walks report for 6 local newspapers and started to edit the next historical fiction. I pitched for 10 jobs and formally applied for another.

Tuesday – was mostly the historical fiction, but I also had an appointment in town and I heard from a weekly red top magazine that they wanted to buy one of my fillers. I pitched for 4 jobs.

Wednesday –  I was still editing, and I updated the gig list. I also had a friend over Wednesday evening and together we brainstormed our current writing WiPs.

Thursday – that editing job went on a lot longer than I thought it would, but I finished the manual edits on Thursday … at 11:30pm … I also filled in a massive form I’d been sent and my hair appointment from Friday was brought forward.

Friday – I received proofreader’s and author’s corrections back for a previous project and so spent the day applying as many of those as time dictated. Corrections and amendments are one thing, but rewriting is something else not usually covered at proofreading stage. I pitched for just one job (invited) and worked until about 8:30pm.

On Saturday I went to the CampNaNo write-in in Leeds and had a good couple of hours planning the book and writing the opening paragraphs. I bust my NaNo duck and wrote the grand total of 629 words. I supervised a couple of 10-minute writing sprints (or word wars as the campers call it). On the evening I went out with friends to a gig to help them celebrate a birthday.

On Sunday it was red hot outside. I had an idle lie-in and was going to take the dog out, but it was toooo hot. I only pegged some washing out and had to lie down on the settee to recover. So I spent the afternoon idly watching tennis (we won, just in case you didn’t know), playing mindless games on FB, and generally chilling and relaxing out of the sun. Then we took the dog out at about 7:30pm beside some water and spent a thoroughly pleasant hour feeding ducks, looking for fish, and strolling and chatting.

Today I spent the whole morning on CampNaNo and have added 1,105 words. Not a lot for a morning’s work, but in between I was hanging washing out again, updating the nice neighbours on nuisance neighbour, reading and planning. But it’s 1,105 words more than I had written when I started.

Following last Wednesday’s brainstorm session, I decided I really need to write the remaining Marcie Craig books and bring her as up to date as I can in as short a time as possible. So the current WiP, The Beast Within, is just 2 years on from the last one. We discussed it and discussed it and really didn’t think freezing her age and fetching her bang up to date was the right thing to do, but moving the story on by 2 years at a time, and in quick succession, might be the way forward. As soon as that was decided, a cloud seemed to lift and I was itching to write.

The pub bombing book has been postponed until a more suitable 50-year anniversary, and meanwhile I have 3 Marcie Craigs to write – at least. The Beast Within; Snowblind; Killer Queen. And possibly Burn. The steampunk has been put on the back burner while I learn more about the genre and decide and research which period in history I want to use. During that time I’ll read as many as I can.

I think that’s finally the right decision, as so many things were just stopping me from getting on and writing something – anything. I received a very welcome kick up the backside, put everything else onto one side, and agreed to work on just one book.

This afternoon I have this week’s walk report to write and submit and I need to start the electronic edits for the historical novel I finished manually editing Thursday night. I also still have the dog to walk, washing to fetch in and jobs to sift through.

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A chat with the Universe

Oh my goodness. I know it’s been a while but this whole interface has changed. It definitely wasn’t like this on Friday. I wonder why this happens. And I wonder why they can’t leave anything alone.

Anyway, Saturday was a very busy day in that I didn’t even surface for air. I surrounded myself with my diary, with my dates dictionaries, with my folklore calendar, with article-writing textbooks, with notebooks, the lot. And I sat down and I planned for England.

I had a really productive day and I created a schedule whereby, for example, right now (June) I should be “thinking” December, “querying” November, and “writing” October.

Then I went through the diaries and the almanacs to see what’s happening in those 3 months.

I’ve identified some upcoming anniversaries that interest me and that I hope I may be able to interest a magazine editor or 3 in as well.

I’ve identified some October and November topics I can write some speculative fiction for.

And I identified some imminent annual events locally that I can attend and photograph now, research after, and query in December in time for next year when they come around again.

I also decided on which subjects to initially specialise in and honed my list to incorporate as many anniversaries and events that come under those subjects (traditions & customs and great days out).

Yes, folks, the freelancing hat is back on and I’m hoping to get back into it with a vengeance.

Then I went through all of my outstanding WiP – short stories, RTEs, fillers – to see what can be finished now and submitted, and what can be slotted in for completion to the WiP file.

I also filled the diary and noted when I have some holes in the workload. Some of those holes can be plugged immediately with some work someone has specifically been waiting for but that won’t earn me any dosh just yet, so it was a low priority. However, it should earn me a nice crust at some point and I need to invest some time in that.

For the rest, I did some Cosmic Ordering, and I had a jolly good chat with the Universe about new work and people who owe me money.

Yesterday was a day off as it was Father’s Day and I was down in Birmingham with the dog.

Today I was up and at ’em and raring to go and I started a brand new job that should only take me a couple of days.

I fielded 4 telephone calls – four! I don’t normally get that many in a whole week let alone a day, and a single morning at that. And I received 2 very nice emails. One was informing me that a payment only authorised last week has been released, that should hit my bank account tomorrow. The other was asking if I’d like another editing job …

Remember that jolly good chat with the Universe? Well, case rests, mi’lud.

This evening I have some admin to do. I have this heap big massive pile of post and I know there are at least 2 forms in there I need to complete quite urgently. I keep trying to keep on top of the post pile, but it takes over every single time. I need to learn the touch-it-once principle, I really do.

I have a book to proofread, a book to edit and a book to start writing. I also have a walks report to write and submit plus whatever other writing WiP I can fit in this week. Yup, that’s this week’s to-do list …

This week is nicely full and on Sunday, weather permitting, I’m off for a ride around some of those imminent local annual events armed with my camera and my dog. I’ve ordered nice weather too, so I can take lots of lovely pictures. Let’s hope the Universe continues to be so accommodating.

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Three days a week

I’ll be regularly updating the blog again, but only for 3 days a week, on the 1st day of the month for the month’s to-do list, on the last day of the month for the how-I-did, and on Do Diddle Days to remind folk it’s a Do Diddle Day. Watch out for updates on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and – where they don’t fall on those days – the other 3 days too (1st, last, 26th).

This fits in much better with me not necessarily being on the pc every day when I’m busy. I’ll come on every Monday to do the walks reports and file those, I’m on every Wednesday to update the gig list, and every Friday to do invoices. As everything else can pretty much be done on the phone, and as I have weekends off (in case anyone has forgotten), it’s unlikely I’ll be here outside of those times – unless I’m submitting work by email or typing up, but I won’t necessarily be online whilst typing up.

Posts on the 1st, last and 26th can be scheduled in advance.

So, happy bunnies; job jobbed.

I’m working on a heavy edit at the moment. It’s a 146,000-word auto-biography and I’m probably cutting it down, as I go along, by about 26,000 words. When it comes to wielding an axe, I’m right up there with the best of them. It’s long and hard work, but it’s a really interesting story and I’ve suggested it to already-lovely-boss and already-lovely-boss’s-also-lovely-boss, and they seem keen too.

I’m still a little behind, and catching up on backlog caused by holiday and injury. A nice, easy job would have been good, but this one was next in the queue, so it’s the next one I’m working on. I also had another set of author edits on a previous book for already-lovely-boss’s-other-colleague, and that was so quick to sort out, I did it in between. We’re still having layout issues with that one, but I need to crack on a bit more with this one before allowing myself to be distracted again.

Hopefully I’ll get there soon and everyone will be happy again.

The 30k in 30 days in April challenge is going really well, and the eagle-eyed will see that not only am I on track, but I’m also over half-way. This is such a big thing for me as, usually, my own work takes a back seat. Closer to the end of the challenge I will do an update on this, along with a list of accomplishments (me and my lists … 😉 ).

However, it’s working so well that my own writing is now becoming a priority, even if it is only lots of short works getting completed finally. And because of this I’m looking ahead to May and wondering how to raise the bar. So, here are today’s questions:

  1. Do I just carry on with the 1,000 words a day until I’ve run out of ideas for short works?
  2. Do I switch from short works to longer works (bearing in mind I have a non-fiction book as well as several novels to work on still)?
  3. Do I keep with the 1,000 words a day on short works and add 1,000 words of longer works to it?
  4. Do I switch to 1,000 words a day on longer projects and carry on with short works if I haven’t run out of steam?

What would you do? Suggestions in the usual place – thank you!

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Writing bag

Yesterday was another busy day.

Despite reminding myself, I still almost forgot to fetch the washing in, so it was quite damp and had to go on the clothes horse. Most of that will go away today now.

I sat down with my writing WIP notebook and planned out all of the various drafts and stages for all of my short material: outline; draft 1; #2; #3; edit & submit. Then I opened a page for JANUARY and listed all of the jobs I have to do (proof-reading, writing, editing) or have already done in January along with what they’re worth. There’s space for admin work, such as meetings or invoices, and another space for research for future stories and articles or research visits for events or places of interest or walks I may want to write about in the future.

Plotting it all out like this gives me a tickable list (and we all know how much I love those), and it sets it all out so I can see exactly where I am and how much more work I need to get in for January.

Thankfully I don’t need any more work for January. 😉

I managed more than 1,300 words altogether, over all projects, and I packed a writing bag.

This writing bag is a gorgeous red soft leather shoulder briefcase I bought for work a long time ago. I decided that it’s too extravagant to hide away in the bottom of a wardrobe. So now it has all of my current writing projects in:

  • Catch the Rainbow
  • We Also Served
  • fave market current guidelines and current story
  • current long short story (Ace of Wands)
  • daily freewriting exercises (A Writer’s Book of Days + notebook)

It also contains:

  • Devon’s 5 (Stories) in 10 (Weeks)
  • A5 desk diary day-to-a-page
  • A5 writing journal (day-to-a-page diary)
  • WIP notebook
  • 2 x WIP shorthand notebooks (1 for outlines; 1 for 1st drafts)
  • ideas notebook
  • A4 notebook (for 2nd drafts)
  • daily food and exercise trackers
  • pencil tin
  • 12″ wooden ruler
  • handypack of tissues
  • chapstick
  • Kindle

The bag’s quite packed and a little heavy, but it’s a shoulder bag so easy to carry around and it stays with me for pretty much all of the time. Yes, it even comes to bed with me (in case I wake in the night with something burning to be written). I’ve used a few bags in my time, but this is the only one I can fit everything in. I need another for the proof-reading and editing projects …

What would you keep in your writing bag?

Rufus woke me at 4:30am coughing (he was fine) and I gave up trying to go back to sleep at about 8am. So I got up, did my yoga, had breakfast, managed a couple of hours work … and went back to bed again … The joys of working from home.

Today I’ve checked the jobs boards, entered the daily competitions and put another washload through. It was far too cold to hang any out this morning. It’s bitter out there. So once the clothes horse has been emptied, I’ll be filling it again.

I have a proof-reading job I want to shift today, I still have some of my daily writing to do and there’s a dog to walk. And a bonus email arrived saying another proof-reading job was in the post.

Happy days. 🙂

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