Diary of a freelance writer, 16 December 2015

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Fishguard – see Tuesday’s entry (Picture: Diane Wordsworth)

This post will be my last diary entry for 2015 as I break up on Friday until the new year. All being well, there will be a regular post on Friday, but as I’m popping out, I may run out of time.

Wednesday
On Wednesday I did some band admin, I continued with an edit for a client, and I wrote 411 words for a writing project.

Thursday
Thursday started with gig list admin and I moved on to pro-bono work. I finished the hard copy edit for the client and did the diary for the coming week.

Friday
On Friday I managed just 291 words of a writing project and spent much of the rest of the day doing the electronic edits for the client book. I also raised the invoice for this work (hurrah!) and submitted it (the work, not the invoice) to both client and author.

Friday night we had a gig in Leeds, which was … interesting to say the least. It was a work’s Christmas party and we were quite surprised at the behaviour of some of the attendees, one of whom was so drunk he fell over and broke his ankle … and people ask me if I miss corporate life …

Weekend
Unfortunately, the weekend was a bit of a wipe-out for us as the poet had a relapse on the cold he’d been suffering from (due to singing the night before, we think), and he managed to pass it on to me. We did some shopping on Saturday, but cancelled everything else and wrapped presents on Sunday.

Monday
On Monday I managed to write 650 words for one project, I did some gig list admin, I won a new editing job and I started another. Well, I printed them both off …

Tuesday
On Tuesday I thought I’d allocate an hour and sort through some photographs, specifically on Facebook. I wanted to move lots of odds and ends into existing folders and merge a lot of the same or similar (holiday photographs, fishing photographs, days out photographs, etc).

Some of the pictures went back several years, like the one above, against which I’d noted “this will be getting a lot of use”. It hardly had any use, so I’m using it today to illustrated today’s blog. Nothing to do with writing, other than it was a writing weekend I attended. I love the colours of the houses and that backdrop.

Once I realised the time, I got to a place where I felt I could leave it (some time in 2014, I think, which was actually quite good) and moved downstairs to do some editing. I’m delighted to see that the current edit is a quick and easy one, and a nice author to work with who also mentions me in his acknowledgements. 🙂

Looking ahead
I won’t be completely idle over the Christmas break. It’s all change at my favourite fiction market and I’d like to have something to send them each month. If I work really hard, I might manage a December submission. But I’d like to at least have something for her in January and again in February. So I’m mulling over a few story ideas.

I also hope we’ll manage a few research trips. We have just over a fortnight off and visiting the family won’t take up all of it. Plus, I’ll be looking back over the past year and what I’ve achieved, and looking forward to the coming year and what my plans and goals might include.

What are your plans for over the Christmas period?

Diary of a freelance writer, 9 December 2016

I wasn’t going to do a diary today due to having just a 4-day week last week and another this week, and I can’t think what to illustrate it with either. But then I thought I’d have almost twice as much to do next week so I thought I may as well give it a pop.

I’ve not done much writing this week at all. I think I’m probably still in recovery for the blitz that was November. I have been busy doing other stuff, though.

Wednesday
Last Wednesday started with the blog, for which I at least wrote 776 words. Then it was publishing work on the republication of Night Crawler: a Marcie Craig mystery.

All of the interior was completed, but I had to do that twice as Windows 10 managed to corrupt some of my Office files and I had to reload Windows 8.1 first and then recover my files. So that took a lot of faffing time.

We had pro-bono work to do Wednesday evening, with this month’s meeting over in Doncaster.

Thursday
On Thursday I wrote the Friday blog and was going to schedule it, but decided to go ahead and publish. So that was another 561 words written. I also pre-scheduled a post for the gig list for Monday morning.

We had a lot of discussion about the cover for the book, and tried a few things, but then settled on one that we both thought looked good. And then I ordered a proof copy, which arrived on Saturday. (It’s looking good!)

Weekend
We booked the weekend off a few months ago, once we found out when the Christmas markets were, but we ended up going to Matlock in Derbyshire on Friday instead of Lincoln, and are sure we had a much better day there than we would have done had we stuck to our original plans.

Illness wiped out pretty much most of the rest of the weekend, but we did manage some Christmas shopping on Monday.

Tuesday
Tuesday it was back in the hot seat and catching up on emails, because I forgot to switch on the out-of-office auto-reply. I also did some more pro-bono work.

I won one job I pitched for a week or so ago, and I pitched for another 9. And I wrote 793 words for the post-weekend blog.

So, as you can see, just a small one this time. Next week’s should be back to normal and then, well then it’s the Christmas holiday …

Diary of a freelance writer, 2 December 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015 “Mardi Gras”

Oh yes, I’m definitely dining out on this one for a while.

In case you didn’t know, I hit my NaNoWriMo target and for the first time ever – EVER – I became a NaNoWriMo WINNER!

But this was a double celebration for me, because it’s also the first full-length story I’ve finished in 20 years …

When I originally wrote that, I put 10 years, and it looked a lot then. But as Night Crawler was written in 1996, and as I haven’t finished anything long since, it is actually 20 years. And that is absolutely disgraceful.

I wrote Night Crawler in 3 months whilst also holding down a full-time job. I’ve been writing Catch the Rainbow for at least 5 years. I’ve been writing The Beast Within for at least 10 years. I wrote Mardi Gras in 30 days. I know which one I’d sooner make a habit of, don’t you? I can feel the Scrivener coming out again.

Wednesday
So, then … on Wednesday I did a lot of pro-bono work and gig list admin, the latter of which took a while as I wanted to embed the guestbook into the gig list but had to come up with an external link instead. It doesn’t matter, it works just as well, and we’re happy with the result.

I also came up with the new publication schedule for next year, starting with the re-release of Night Crawler in January.

And I wrote 1,010 words of one project, and 1,743 words for NaNo.

Thursday
Thursday was another difficult Thursday for me, and the only job I seem to have completed is 1,535 words of NaNo. I woke up with a trapped nerve, though, and was unable to do a lot else.

Friday
On Friday, I wrote 721 words for one project, and 1,705 words for NaNo.

On Friday evening we went on another gig list trip to Doncaster, with the poet taking photographs of a band some of our friends are in. I didn’t do a review because we only stayed for one set. My neck and back were killing me so we left early to come home.

Weekend
Despite some terrible weather on Saturday, we went out on a photo-collecting walk. It was cold, windy, wet, squally and very dangerous underfoot. At one point we had to let the dog off his lead just so he didn’t pull one of us over. Because of the weather, and because of my trapped nerve, we made it a very short walk. It was under a mile but still took us 55 minutes. However, at least we have some new photographs, the first of which will be on here on Friday – I have to schedule a blog post for Friday as we’re having a long weekend, on both sides.

We came home, dried off, went shopping, came home again, then I did NaNo and wrote 1,635 words. Then in the evening, Monkey Dust had another gig over in Doncaster.

Sunday was pretty much a day in Birmingham. We had a late start and the weather was still atrocious, so we only had a short visit this time. When we got back, I wrote another 1,733 words for NaNo.

Monday
Monday was an absolutely fantastic day. Before I did anything else … well, other than post the request for gigs on the gig list FB page … but before I did anything else, I wrote my final 1,674 words for NaNo. As soon as I could I had it verified so that I could get my winner’s badge before posting Monday’s blog. I was very pleased with that, and still am. And I also wrote 879 of another project. So very happy camper on Monday – and very relieved.

Tuesday
Yesterday started with a little more pro-bono work. I’m hoping to hand the FB page over to a couple of other members of the committee now it’s all set up but for now, I’ll still look after the blog and any media relations. We have a meeting this evening, so I’m hoping I can offload some of it there.

I didn’t do any writing, but I did pitch for 5 new editing or proofreading jobs. Then the rest of the day was spent playing with covers for the re-release of Night Crawler. The poet has come up with a great design for it, I’m really happy with it. But we could not get the placement right for the text boxes.

Homework
My homework this week is to get back into the swing of working. I only have 3 working weeks in December, and 2 of those are short ones. So I need to crack on and do some work to get some money in before Christmas.

What are you up to this week?

Packed diary? Weekend again!

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Cusworth Hall, Doncaster – November 2013 (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

“We still don’t have any new pictures for the blog,” I said.

“We must have loads of them,” he replied.

“Not of winter.”

“We have, we’ve got lots. From last year.”

“We’ve probably used them all.”

“No you haven’t. Have a look. Choose one from last year.”

So I went to have a look at last year’s pictures … and there aren’t any. This time last year we were moving house. We didn’t get a lot of time to go out and take pictures. Apart from “new house” pictures. And I know I’ve already shared all of those – some of them more than once.

So I went back another year, to 2013, to November. And there was one folder. Just the one. From Cusworth Hall in Doncaster. You’ve probably already seen this one, but as it’s a November shot … well, enjoy. 🙂

And we might not be going out tomorrow either. We were going to go for a short walk, to start us off again building up to bigger and longer walks eventually. But on Wednesday night I did something that trapped a nerve in my neck. I didn’t feel any twinge or pain. I didn’t make any sharp or sudden movements. My neck just gradually started to get stiff. And when I woke up Thursday morning, I could hardly move.

I was going to nip down to Birmingham to see my parents yesterday. But I couldn’t even get my nightie over my head let alone drive 200 miles. So I took 2 “horse tranquillisers” (prescription co-codomol) and went back to bed. Where I slept the sleep of the dead for 4 hours. And when I woke up, the pain and the stiffness were still there.

That’s when the poet started to feed me “big pink ones” (very large ibuprofen). They do upset my stomach, and they upset his stomach too. But reading the leaflet yesterday he discovered that we’re only supposed to take one of these at a time, and he takes 2. I forced one dose down and the stiffness did indeed start to wane. The pain was still there, but at least I could move again.

Last night I took 2 more horse tranquillisers before bed and I’ve been taking big pink ones today (with food). But if I can’t even drive, or raise my arm over my head, or turn my head beyond the line of my shoulders (less on the right than on the left), then he doesn’t think we should go for a walk. Even a small one.

We’re going out tonight, and he’s driving. He has a gig tomorrow, and he’s probably driving again. Then we’re definitely going to Birmingham on Sunday and he won’t let me drive that far in case it aggravates my neck even if it is feeling better by then.

So you lot are going to have to wait another 2 weeks before there might be any more new pictures.

Saying that, I have still managed my NaNoWriMo all week and the finish line is on the horizon. Well, if I stand on tip toe, I can see it from here – it’s Monday. Then on Tuesday, I start work proper again.

I’ve also managed some work on the republication for January of Night Crawler: a Marcie Craig mystery. The interior is ready. The artwork is chosen for the cover. It just needs sharpening and tweaking and the text placing. Then I can order the first proof copy.

Today I’ve done some more pro-bono work too. We have a meeting next Wednesday evening, and the 2 chosen charities are both sending representatives to talk to us, so I’ve been liaising with them.

I still have today’s NaNo to do. I’ve been doing it of an evening, but we will be out this evening so I need to do it this afternoon. And tomorrow we have shopping to do too (as well as my NaNo) as Sunday is already full and I really wasn’t up to doing it last night.

I hope I feel up to a short walk tomorrow, but I will take it easy if I need to. I’d sooner lose just one weekend of driving and walking than have to put up with this for as many weeks (or months!) as some of our friends have recently experienced.

Have a great weekend. 🙂

A quiet weekend?

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Walter Trout, Picturedrome, Holmfirth (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

So there was me thinking we had a quiet weekend coming up … How silly of me.

Friday night we had our first assignment for the gig list, and it was the poet’s first photography assignment too. Walter Trout was playing at the Picturedrome in Holmfirth, along with a support band and his own son as special guest, and we enjoyed all of the performances.

Sadly, though, we thought the light show was very poor compared to many other times in the past that we’ve both been there. Most of the performers had their faces in darkness for much of the time, and we struggled to get some decent pictures without dazzling or distracting everyone with flash.

We also thought the venue might benefit from some TLC. It’s looking a tad tired at the moment, with paint peeling all over and evidence of roof leaks in the otherwise still ornate ceiling. We also don’t know why we have to go around the back to get in now. What’s wrong with the front door? The back entrance is up a sloped and cobbled hill, which gets quite slippery when wet. And on Friday it was cold and wet too.

It’s still a good gig, though, and we’ll be back in December to see Roy Wood.

~~~

On Saturday we were back in Wormy’s kitchen with him boiling ham and making 6 jars of tomato ketchup and me making 2 of our 4 Christmas cakes. I did my NaNoWriMo, and on Saturday evening Monkey Dust had another gig over in Doncaster.

On Sunday, he put half a pork shoulder in the slow cooker and the other half went in the freezer. We were going to have a proper Sunday dinner, but we got up late (after the gig the night before) and we visited his parents, and we nipped to the shops. But we were eating cheese and biscuits at 4pm so were too full for a proper tea later. I think we’re having that one today instead. I did my NaNo again, and that was the weekend over with, again.

~~~

This morning I’ve been busy sifting through the photographs from Friday night (we try not to do work stuff at the weekend, having enough to do with the research/review trips and any gigs the band has), selecting about 26 (from around 100) for the Facebook page, cropping quite a few, and choosing just one for the review. Then I wrote and posted the review. It’s only short but it’s a start, and you can see it here if you’re interested.

I had some pro-bono work to do too, as the second of the charities we’re supporting has now been in touch.

I also did a little admin for the gig list, and more admin for the band. And before I knew it, the poet was home for an early dinner at just gone noon, which gives me a slightly longer than usual afternoon now he’s gone back to work.

~~~

This afternoon I still have today’s NaNo to do and a book to hard-copy edit. I also have the diary to do for this week, which I didn’t get around to last week. And I haven’t done the daily competitions today yet either.

I’d best get a shake on.

Diary of a freelance writer, 11 November 2015

“Mardi Gras” (NaNoWriMo 2015)

 

My NaNoWriMo is going very well. I set myself a daily target of 1,667 words, and on one day I managed exactly 1,667 words, on another day I managed 1,668 words, but all the others have been over 1,700 words. This means I’m still on target for 30 November.

I’ve not really been doing it at 11am as I’ve either not been quite ready or I’ve had something else more pressing to do – like sort out who to best speak to about the poet’s car, or finish an edit I really needed to invoice for, and things like that. But I have been doing it every day. Every single day. So I’m very pleased with myself about that. 🙂  ← see?

Wednesday
On Wednesday, I started to watch jazz funerals in New Orleans as part of my research for NaNo, and I chose some pictures of a couple of vehicles my characters would use. I wrote 1,714 words for NaNo and 625 words on another project. I also worked on a client edit.

Thursday
On Thursday I had to renew my car insurance before noon. I should have done it the day before, but ran out of time. I wrote 1,762 words for NaNo, and I started the electronic edit of a client’s work.

It was bonfire night, but we didn’t go to any bonfires or fireworks demonstrations. We just watched from the garden. Rufus didn’t like it very much.

Friday
On Friday the gas man came and was here for half a day draining down the hot water and central heating system and doing what maintenance work he could while he was here. I did more of the client electronic edit, I wrote 1,667 words for NaNo, and I wrote 370 words for a different project.

Weekend
We did some errands on Saturday and had a gig in Doncaster Saturday night, but aside from a bit of baking, I also managed 1,706 words for NaNo on Saturday and 1,702 words on Sunday.

Monday
On Monday, I continued with the electronic edit, did some gig list admin and some band admin, and I wrote 1,709 words for NaNo.

Tuesday
On Tuesday I did some of my pro-bono work, which took up most of the morning. This involved telephone liaison work and blog and FB page admin. I finished the electronic edit and got that submitted and invoiced (hurrah!), and I wrote 1,668 words for NaNo, 219 words for the pro-bono, and 378 on another project.

Homework
I don’t have any homework suggestions this week again other than NaNo if you’re doing it. Today I updated my monthly work spreadsheet and see I need to kick up the freelance writing work a bit, so I’ll be doing that as well as NaNo and editing over the coming week.

Have a good one.

Still no new pictures …

rufus 003a… so here’s one I made earlier to warm you on this blustery day.

We ended up having another very busy weekend, but we did take Friday evening off to chill in the end, and did as many of our errands as we could on Saturday.

We did the shopping. We returned the spare fancy dress outfit I bought last week in case the other one didn’t fit. We returned something to Meadowhall that was the wrong size. We collected the poet’s fishing pole from the pole doctor. We visited the poet’s parents. We went to a Monkey Dust gig in Doncaster.

On Sunday we had somewhere to be in the morning, but when we got home I made a parkin cake (only my second ever) and the poet made Hollandaise sauce so we could have eggs Benedict – made with home-boiled ham and chives from the garden.

He also left a brisket of beef in the slow cooker so we had that for tea with roast potatoes, veg and Yorkshire puddings.

And that was our weekend gone again. Pooff! Just like that.

Ah yes, but I still managed to do my daily NaNoWriMo, so I was quite chuffed with myself for that. I just need to update my little man in the sidebar now.

This week has been sort of busy too, although yesterday was actually a bit of a non-starter as I was shattered when we got up and hardly felt like doing anything – which is why the blog has been done today. I did do some editing, though, and I did do some more NaNoWriMo.

Today has mostly been the pro-bono job. I’ve contacted the charities concerned and I’ve updated the blog a little, and added a new post – so that’s TWO blog posts I’ve actually written today, although the other one is just a shorty. If you’re interested, you can visit the blog here and the Facebook page here.

Next up is more editing, and then I’ll do my NaNoWriMo again. I know NaNo was booked in for 11am, but I’m sort of percolating ideas and content while I’m working on other stuff so that the words flow more easily when I do sit down to do it.

And that’s it for today – busy, busy, busy! 🙂