The world finally stopped spinning for us this week and we were able to step off, have a moment, smell the roses. Both of us were hit almost immediately with … something, but it didn’t last long. We’ve had quite an idle week, though, considering how busy we’ve been recently.
The poet painted a garden bench and cut the grass. I managed to empty one very small bag and take another upstairs. Oh, and we did some shopping. And that’s it.
Aside from work, of course. We both had a nice short week and today is a nice short day. But this weekend is the first one in an age that we haven’t got to do anything. We don’t have to be anywhere, see anyone, do anything. And, boy, are we going to enjoy it.
Today I had planned on posting pictures from last Sunday’s day out to Alrewas. But they’re not on the portable hard drive, although I know they’ve been done. As any other events we attended were all as far back as May, you’re getting a bit of a waffle-post instead. 🙂
I’ve delivered a book this week, and will invoice for that later today. I’ve transferred an old novel over onto Scrivener. I’ve started to build a new novel on Scrivener. I’ve transferred more of CATCH THE RAINBOW onto Scrivener. And just this second I received an email with the latest requirements from fave short story market, so I’ll have a look at that then read a few copies of the magazine to see what they’re using at the moment.
Over the weekend we’re emptying more boxes and no doubt weeding out yet more clutter.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
I tried my first official NaNoWriMo in 2012, and failed. I tried again in 2014, and failed. And I tried again in 2015 – and won!
This isn’t just a NaNo victory either. This is the first full-length story I’ve actually finished since … 1996!
So what was different this year?
Well, for a start, I have a very supportive husband who wanted nothing more than for me to start writing again. Properly. And he was happy for me to concentrate on this one project for one month just so I could get it done. Granted, he wouldn’t have minded if I’d managed some other work too, and I did do some paid work. But, basically, not having to worry about where our next meal was coming from was a huge help. And, of course, his belief in me.
The second thing that happened was Scrivener, which helped me immensely in the planning stages of this particular story. I really am a planner and I love gadgetry too, but I was always loathe to spend money on writing software when I have a perfectly adequate word processing program. However, when I saw it on a very special offer, I went for it. And the organisation and the ability to move things around so easily really did help, along with the inbuilt facility to track the words as you write per session as well as per manuscript. This meant I didn’t have to keep stopping to count how many words I’d done.
And finally, I did have a story planned out from start to finish. Yes, the story did deviate from the plan. Yes, I did miss things out. And yes, I did add extra things in. I also changed my mind as I went along. But having an idea for at least 1,667 words per day for 30 days and using the index card system in Scrivener kept me going, even when I could have quite happily taken a day (or three) off.
So several things have helped this year, but I’m making a big deal of it because of the 20-year writing drought as well (apart from short material and anthologies).
Of course, there’s much more hard work to come, but I love the editing and polishing part and find it much easier than the actual original composition. I’ll leave it to cool for a while first, though, shall I? 🙂
We did manage to get out over the weekend. I was on over-the-counter drugs for the trapped nerve in my neck, and while I avoided driving Friday night, we did go on a very short walk not far from where we live. Pictures will hopefully follow later in the week, but it was a very wet, very squally day, and we don’t know how they look until we blow them up on the big screen.
We went to a place called Quakers’ Bottom (do you see a theme here?) and did a walk that was only ¾ of a mile. But it took us 55 minutes because it was so wet, slippery and treacherous underfoot. At one point we had to let the dog off his lead just so he didn’t pull me over.
We found a lovely little hamlet and learned a little of its history and we could have continued on with the 1-mile walk or the 1½-mile walk, but we decided on the shorter version with the weather conditions as they were. We can always go back again and give it another go when conditions have improved.
On Saturday night, Monkey Dust had a gig in Doncaster. They’d already found out via the grapevine that another band was playing before them, but that they’d still be on at 9:30pm. By the time I got there, on the train, at 9:15pm, the other band had only just gone on. And at 10:05pm, they were still up there!
Monkey Dust didn’t get on until about 10:20pm, so they only did one set and played through until 11:45pm. That’s quite a long set, but at least it’s just the one. The bar was quite busy, but there were several televisions placed around the room that showed what was happening on stage. For some strange reason, the poet’s black trousers look white in the picture below …
We got home quite late so had a very late start the next day to see my parents in Birmingham. We didn’t get there until 2pm and it was a horrible drive down. The squally weather was relentless and the high winds, standing water and spray from lorries slowed us right down. I didn’t do any driving, but the poet did and he was very stressed by the time we got there.
Because of the weather, we didn’t want to stay too late, so it was quite a short visit in the end. The weather was a little better coming back but it was gone 6pm and very dark when we did.
He’d left a piece of pork slow-cooking while we were out and he made the rest of our Sunday dinner for 7:30pm. But we could have done with an extra day this weekend.
We now have 2 short weeks on the trot, then we break up in 3 weeks for Christmas. I have a lot to do before then.
There’s been an uplift in work and activity this past week, definitely a shift in the right direction.
I don’t know if this is because I’m just getting better or because with me being so busy with NaNoWriMo I’m getting withdrawal from everything else and wanting to up my game.
Whichever, it’s certainly a good thing – and I think I’m liking it.
Okay, Much of Wednesday was writing 1,705 words for NaNo and a further 697 words on another writing project. I must have faffed for the rest of the day as there isn’t much else in my diary. I’m sure I probably did a lot more, but I really need to start noting it all down. I do know it was a busy day household chore-wise, but I’m sure I did a lot more.
Note to self: When writing a “diary”, remember to actually write the diary entries.
Thursday was better, in that I remembered to write down much of what I did. This was 2 lots of gig list admin, the second taking up quite a lot of time as I tried to get the dot com reactivated and the Blogger site redirected. It was taking so long in the end that I abandoned it until the next day, but it did take a long time.
I also managed 1,699 words for NaNo. They were a real wrench, though, taking most of the working day to happen, and I’ve come to the conclusion that Thursdays are not very good days for me, either creatively or technologically. This will be reflected in future diary work scheduling as I try to work around it, as I remember it happening when I worked for a living too.
Friday was even better again, with 1,176 words written for one project and 1,733 words written for NaNo. And I managed to sort out the dot com for the gig list, so that took up additional admin time making sure everyone knew.
Our weekend started Friday evening with a press trip out to Homfirth to see Walter Trout at the Picturedrome. I had a press pass, the poet had a photo pass – his first proper assignment. (I gave him another this morning before he left for work …) On Saturday his band had their own gig over in Doncaster, and I managed 1,758 words for NaNo on Saturday, and 1,725 words on Sunday.
We ran out of time to do any photo/research trips of our own.
Monday was a good day, writing-wise. I wrote up the review from Friday (only 203 words, but hey, every little counts), plus 547 words on another project, and 1,836 words for NaNo – a personal best so far. I also sifted through all of the photographs from Friday night, put them all into a separate file for the poet to play with, and selected 26-ish for the Facebook page and 1 each for the gig list and for the blog. I cropped a handful but pretty much left them as they were.
On Monday I started to get the freelancing itch, the urge to be doing more than what I’m currently doing and getting back into the swing of the writing. On Monday I also started to read a book about finance for the self-employed. It may be this that has given me a bit of a kick up the bum.
I started the day with some pro-bono work and a bit more admin. Then it was another day of chores before I finally got around to my NaNo. But I hit another personal best with 2,008 words, I cleared the 40,000-word mark, and I finally caught up with the last couple of hundred words I was short on last Thursday. By the end of yesterday, I was feeling pretty smug.
Work starts today on the long-awaited re-publication schedule.
In January I’m hoping to have a new hardback of Night Crawler available, but this one will be called Night Crawler: a Marcie Craig mystery and it will be by Diane Wordsworth. The schedule is to include a paperback 3 months later, the ebook 3 months after that, and possibly an audio book 3 months after that. Then, 3 months after that, the large print.
In February, it will be the turn of Baggins Bottom Best Bits, but I won’t be bothering with a hardback for that. The ebook, audio book and large print will follow. Then in March it will be Twee Tales. Twee Tales won’t appear in hardback until I have an omnibus edition, but it will still have the paperback, ebook, audio book and large print until then.
And then it will be Baggins Bottom Best Bits Book Two.
As each book is re-published, the old one will be retired. And there will be a clear message on all of them that they were previously published under a different name/title.
Twee Tales Too is already published by Diane Wordsworth, but it needs to be converted to ebook and then audio book. And Baggins Bottom Best Bits Book Three is currently awaiting editing, but that will also be by Diane Wordsworth.
Since I’ve been working with Scrivener, I’ve realised I can copy all of these into there and Scrivener will export it to whatever format I need for publishing. That means less formatting work for me, and more time to write, edit and polish.
I’m hoping that by the time we get to a month without a new book to start, I’ll either have another one myself or maybe one with a publisher. I’m working on Mardi Gras (for NaNo), Catch the Rainbow, The Beast Within (a Marcie Craig mystery), and Diary of a Scaredy Cat.
The poet’s job in all of this is jacket design and author photography. I’m already very happy with the jackets I currently have, but we want to re-brand everything so it all looks as though it comes from the same place.
So, aside from just under one week left on NaNoWriMo, this publication schedule (and any editing) is my own homework this week. What’s on your to-do list?
Even when I worked for a living, you know – had a “proper job” – Thursdays were always really, really bad. I was tired. I didn’t feel like getting up, let alone going to work. And when I was able to choose my part-time hours, Thursdays, along with Mondays, were the first to go.
Over the past few weeks I’ve noticed that not a lot has changed. I still don’t feel very … bright-eyed or bushy-tailed on Thursdays. Last Thursday my NaNo word-count for the day was 189, and yesterday the words were a real wrench.
So then I wondered, perhaps I should just write-off Thursdays as not-very-productive, and do something else on those days, something easy. I could make Thursday my errand day, or I could make it my admin day. So long as I do something, I don’t mind if it’s not as productive as the rest of the week because I do generally make it up anyway.
Next week, then, I’m going to give it a go. I’m going to move admin and any errands from Friday to Thursday and see if I manage not to beat myself up if I do it that way around. Or I could make Thursdays the pro-bono day of the week. Whatever, for the rest of November, at least, I still have to write. For NaNo.
Do you have days where the words come more easily? I know different people have different times of the day that they like to work. But does it apply to days of the week too? Mondays I’m very, very productive, writing-wise. Then it all seems to go downhill from there …
An online buddy of mine has two blogs that she regularly “earns” from. Sometimes this is real, actual cash. Sometimes it’s products to review. One of her blogs is a fitness blog, the other is a cooking blog, so the products she receives to review are all pertinent to those two topics. And she gets giveaways too.
Aside from monetising my blog (which I can’t do on this one anyway, as it’s a free one and you’re not allowed), I wasn’t sure how I too could do this.
But yesterday evening I had one of those light-bulb/brain-murmur things.
We can do it with the gig list – and I think we can monetise it too, and add widgets that point to goods from which I could earn a commission.
Over the past month we’ve received invitations to concerts and even a new album to review, pre-release. We turned down several of those invitations, mostly because we’re already so busy. But the album was sent as a download attachment and we could also manage the concert that went with it.
So our names are down and tonight the poet gets his first ever official photography assignment – which also means he gets to go behind the barriers in front of the mosh pit. I’ve never been comfortable doing that, but he is quite happy on a stage anyway, so it will probably suit him a lot better. And on Monday, a review and at least one picture will be up on the gig list, and all of the pictures will be on the Facebook page.
I’m currently having a few problems with the gig list, though. Yesterday evening I bought the old domain name back that I lost when someone in China or Japan jumped on it because it was getting so many hits. I could have bought it back then, but they wanted almost £100 for it, so I told them to forget it. They didn’t even use it for anything, cheeky sods. And I’d put money on their name not being Diane either, let alone them having a gig list.
But I bought the domain via Wix, and Wix has to be the most complicated of products I’ve ever laid my eyes on. Easy enough to set up a website in the first place using their templates, but as soon as you want to do anything with them … you need to allocate several days. AND they use frames, which are horrible on mobile phones – and I don’t care what Wix say, they’re awful and there’s no getting around it.
Last night, for a brief moment, the new domain pointed at the gig list and all was hunky dory. But as soon as we tried to look at it on our mobile phones we got “this website is currently unavailable”. And I’ve been struggling ever since to get it to work. It looks as though today is going to be a gig list admin day …
I also want to change the template of the gig list. I do like the current one, but I also like to brighten things up every so often and if we’re going to get it earning its keep, it needs to look the part too. But so far I haven’t found anything that I like.
Finally, the gig list itself needs a complete overhaul. The links in the sidebar have been there for yonks and many of the links might not even work any more. So I have to set time aside to check each of the links and delete any that are broken.
And then I might also monetise it.
Meanwhile, is there a Wix Doctor in the house who can help?
NaNoWriMo is still going well for me. Yesterday the words were tough, but I still managed 1,699 words. I still have just over 600 to catch up from last Thursday, but even that figure is coming down. Yesterday I cleared the 30,000-mark, which also brought my to-do down to just under 19,000.
On a regular month my word-count target is around the 20,000-mark and this month, not only have I already done 31,000, but what’s left is under my usual target.
I’m learning a lot from NaNo this year. For a start, it’s the furthest I’ve ever come in all the years I’ve done it. And secondly, I’m really, really enjoying using Scrivener. I’ve always flirted with writing software but never actually taken the plunge. But I doubt I’ll ever work without it again, it’s been so much fun.
The big lesson learned, however, is to stop being pernickerty when writing the first draft. So long as I have a basic cast of characters and the basic plot laid down, I’ve discovered that I can really go for it, even if the end product is tosh. After all, what’s editing for?
If you’ve ever done NaNo, what lessons, if any, did you learn?
Today’s picture is from last Friday’s gig, which we really enjoyed. This weekend we may find some time to go and get some more pictures. There will be photographs from tonight, obviously, but those will be mostly kept for the gig list. Monkey Dust have a gig tomorrow night. But apart from that, we have nothing else planned for the weekend.
Perhaps this week we’ll manage that walk and be able to get some new pictures to illustrate the blog.
I’m keeping on top of my NaNoWriMo, which is the most important thing this month, although I had one short day that I’m still catching up on.
I did decide to just call it a short day too, rather than try and make it up the next day. I think if I’d done the latter, I might have given up.
This is how my Scrivener is looking for Part One. The index cards have been changed from “to do” to “first draft”.
On Wednesday I did some much-needed admin work that had been neglected for the whole of November so far. This was mostly my monthly spreadsheet that shows what work I have in and what work I’ve done, how many words written, how much money earned, how many jobs pitched for, etc.
The spreadsheet has been working really well since I started it a few months ago, but each of the components were on their own individual page. Now I have one of those big, massive spreadsheets that has lots of tables on the first page.
I managed to write 1,697 words for NaNoWriMo and I wrote a further 456 words on another project.
Thursday was my short day. I’d started the day late, due to various reasons, and was behind on all the day’s work. And I’d just settled in to write my daily NaNo (already very late) when it was time to go and collect the poet’s car.
On the way back we also did the shopping and by the time we’d put that away and had tea it was too late to do any more work. So I only managed 189 words on Thursday, but at least we had the car back. 🙂
On Friday I was back in the saddle and wrote a further 1,676 words. But because they were quite a wrench, that’s when I decided to leave Thursday’s count as it was and just live with it.
I printed off the next hard-copy editing job for a client.
We didn’t have any research trips at the weekend, although we did want to go somewhere on Sunday afternoon if we had chance. Saturday was a cooking day for the poet and I managed 1.679 words for NaNo. He had a gig Saturday night, but when we got there, everyone decided to cancel it and we all went home.
On Sunday we went to see my parents and do some jobs and errands for them, and – as I say – we were going to go somewhere on the way back. But the weather was horrible and it was already starting to get dark when we left, so we came straight home. When we got home I wrote 1,730 words and felt very smug for doing that.
By Monday, with NaNoWriMo settling into a bit of a rhythm, I found my mind straying to other freelance writing work, and I started to do my think/query/write/submit thing … well, I got as far as printing off the topical dates I’d normally need in November and slipped them into my notebook, but it’s the thought that counts, yes? 😉 I also found myself tidying the desk and office a little too, which is often a good sign.
I managed to write 1,706 words for NaNo today, and I didn’t leave them until the evening either. True, I didn’t do them in the booked 11am – 1pm time slot, but I still did them during the normal working day. Last week I’d spent a couple of evenings catching up at 9pm – 11pm, and that wasn’t doing my health much good. So on Monday I tried to pull it back to within the normal working day. I also managed to write 954 words on another project too.
On Tuesday, the job-pitch-itch descended and I tidied up the one remaining job board I still use and chased a couple of payments. Then I did a bit of a search on the job board and pitched for 8 new editing or proofreading jobs. I also wrote 1,792 words for NaNo.
My own homework this week is as follows:
a) continue with NaNoWriMo
b) start the new edit
c) think/query/write/submit for November (Jun/May/Apr/Mar 2016)
Well, the year is galloping onwards towards its end, and we’re already into day 4 of NaNoWriMo.
I haven’t started today’s yet as it’s scheduled in at 11am and I’m trying to stick to that 2-hour slot.
It’s a bit of a short diary this week as most of the words I write should really go towards my NaNoWriMo and any other writing work I can fit in. How is your NaNo going?
On Wednesday, I did a bit more prep work for NaNo, I wrote 884 words on one project, and I continued with the hard copy edit of an easy book for a client.
On Thursday I did some tweaking with my NaNo prep on Scrivener, juggling index cards, writing remaining brief blurbs on each, and then transferring that to the top of the page for each index card/chapter. By the end of Thursday I felt ready to tackle NaNo.
I moved a hair appointment forward from Friday, and I continued with the easy hard copy edit.
On Friday I was waiting in for a fancy dress delivery and I wrote 578 words on a project. I finished the hard copy easy edit and finalised details for a new edit.
We had my dad for the weekend, which involved a 430-mile round trip to collect him and then another to take him home again.
We had a Monkey Dust gig too, which was also our Halloween party – hence the fancy dress. We got to bed at 3am on Sunday morning, so had a real chilled day with Dad on Sunday. But we didn’t get out to do any research trips.
At 11am on Sunday, I obediently sat down at the kitchen table, with my notebook/switch, and I banged out 1,750 words for NaNoWriMo.
Monday was a bit of a short day as we were taking my dad home. There was a lot of fog so we had to leave as early as we could in order to have a chance of getting back again.
I wrote a very short 248 words on a project, then again at 11am I sat down at the kitchen table and bashed out 1,756 words. My dad made me a cup of tea and brought me cake, so that was a nice treat.
On Tuesday I started a new edit. I still have the electronic edits of the easy book to do, but another client came in with a rush job and I was already late squeezing that one in for her. It’s only a short job and doesn’t take many hours out of my schedule.
NaNoWriMo was very difficult. Not because I didn’t have the words, but because I kept on being distracted.
The poet’s car is still in the garage and we’re now arguing with the car company, the car dealership, the service department, customer services and the warranty people – I bet you all can’t wait for THAT particular rant to rear its head.
For 2½ weeks the poet has been patiently negotiating with them but is just about at the end of his tether now, so I stepped in to see what I could do – and I received a response virtually straight away. (You can see the Twitter links in the sidebar.) The rant will depend on the outcome, as will my own choice of new car next year.
It took me all day, though, but I still managed 1,703 words. So I was very happy with that.
I don’t have any homework suggestions this week other than there’s still time to join in with NaNo if you want – and if you don’t feel you can manage 50,000 words then be a NaNo rebel, choose a different word-count and work on whatever suits you.