The poet hates gardening, but his hanging baskets are thriving at the moment.

So I was still feeling a bit sorry for myself when the poet started to spout statistics at me, reminding me that in order to win it, you need first to be in it. He pointed out that as I’ve been so busy editing and proofreading other people’s work I’ve not really had much time to write any new work of my own, and all the stuff I’ve been submitting is stuff that was written a while ago – in the main.

When he started to ask me for figures, I decided to check my record. And he’s right. Not only have I not been writing very much new material recently, I’ve also not really been submitting very much either.

When I checked my record of submissions, I worked out that in the past 24-month period I’ve actually had a success rate of 26.6%. Some were fillers written and submitted on the spot, and pretty much instantly accepted; some were older stories still doing the rounds, although there are also 3 brand new stories in there since January of this year. I did it over 24 months because, as he says, I’ve hardly submitted anything recently so that’s the latest I have to go on.

I suppose, then, that 27% isn’t really a very poor return. It’s more than a quarter. But I am keen to change the ratio of work in favour of my own in the coming months.

Back on the wagon, then …

We went fishing on Wednesday evening. The poet had a chance to join a match and we’d already spent several hours there on Saturday in quite pleasant surroundings so I wasn’t adverse to doing the same again. I took some work with me, and some reading, and we both actually had quite a successful time. I managed to write a 50-word flash-fiction story and almost 700 words of stream of consciousness; he just missed out on a prize by coming 5th – not bad when he was up against around a dozen anglers who regularly fish the lake.

It wasn’t a flash in the pan either, or not so far. Yesterday I ticked all of the jobs on my list and in the middle of it all managed:

  • 677 words on CATCH THE RAINBOW
  • an hour of study work (fiction writing course)
  • 21 hard copy pages edited

Today I sneak in a swift editing job – just one chapter revisited of a book I edited last week – and hope to do more work on CATCH THE RAINBOW. And all those books on the Kindle? Weeded down to:

  • 5 mystery magazines – 2 x Ellery Queen; 2 x Alfred Hitchcock; 1 x Sherlock Holmes (market study)
  • 7 how-to-write books, complete with exercises (kick up the bum + exercising the writing muscle)
  • 3 collections of short stories – Arthur Conan Doyle; Teresa Ashby; Della Galton (market study)
  • 1 non-fiction book on the IRA (research)
  • 3 novels – Peter May; Robert Tressell; Jack Higgins (R, R & R – rest, relaxation & research)

I’ve just added another freebie on habits, but I’ve not looked yet to see if it’s a keeper, a saver or a deleter. But there’s plenty for me to dip into there, and the how-to-writes and the fiction writing course are keeping the ideas coming.

What’s on your Kindle/TBR pile this weekend? Y’all have a goodun!

New research fodder

Phew! What a weekend!

Friday night we had a gig over in Doncaster, so that’s always a rush. It was a good, atmospheric gig, but a little late finishing by the time everything was packed to go. The guitarist was on a flyer because he had to be at a triathlon time trial by 7am – or something equally silly – so they were a man down.

Saturday morning, first thing, we heard that the guitarist had qualified for Team GB, coming 30th out of 11,000 (or something like that), but definitely 3rd in his age group. I asked him what happened to the other 2 places and he said he’d get them next year. Hearty congratulations go to our Tom, though. Well done, matey.

I headed off to the write-in in Leeds where we were 7. I came up with 2 research questions for Catch the Rainbow, and I wrote 1,341 words. I had a lift to and from the station, but when we got back it was another dash to get ready for another gig, but this one was more local.

Saturday evening we watched the boxing in the pub, and then Monkey Dust finished off the night with a cracking set. We seem to have nailed the gremlins that were plaguing them for a while and the sound was really good.

On Sunday, the poet went fishing, which gave me the whole day to do whatever I wanted.

I got up at 11am and started by doing washing! I put a load away and put another load through. I swept the patio and threw a vacuum cleaner around the downstairs. I took the dog for a walk, and I dropped into Tesco to buy some new research fodder and a shorthand notebook – the notebook had to be polypropylene and it had to be fluorescent shocking pink.

I managed all but the fluorescent part.

20140602_114630The research fodder was magazines to update my files on which are looking for what kind of fillers and short stories these days. I have a shiny new notebook, that I’ve actually had for a while. But I’ve decided it’s going to be my new WiP notebook.

I’ll start by listing all the fillers the magazines are looking for, along with contact and payment details. And then I’ll do my WiP chart – Plan; Write draft #1; Write draft #2; Write (type) draft #3; Edit & Submit.

The idea is to have several short projects on the go all the time to ensure a regular flow of work to do as well as out there earning its keep.

The poet didn’t fish very well, but he had a nice day despite picking up some kind of pollen allergy. He’s suffering really badly today, too. So, once I wrote a further 1,056 words, we had a nice, cosy evening in front of the telly to wind down.

Today I have that WiP work to start and a non-fiction to start editing. I also already have washing on the line and more in waiting to go out.

Have a very happy Monday. 🙂