I love my diary.
I like to be able to open a book and know what I’m doing or where I’m supposed to be without having to search for the phone or boot up the laptop. Last year’s diary had a lovely touchy-feely cover on it, but this year’s is a more functional, bog standard from Tesco. Last year’s didn’t have enough spaces inside for stuff, but it was nicely touchy-feely.
I like an academic diary too, one that starts in July rather than January. This is partly to buck the trend and to be filling in a lovely new diary when everyone else’s are already scribbled in. But I think it also stems back to when I was a teacher and every year started in the summer with enrolment.
Last night I started to fill in the new academic diary (2014/2015). But it took a lot longer than usual because now it’s not just my weekends and holidays that go in first; the poet’s go in there too. And his work trips. And his gigs.
Usually the session is done in one go, but last night I only managed weekends and holidays and next year’s Big Adventure (which was the first thing to go in there), and it took me All Night.
Because I’m very anal about my diary, I also had to complete this coming week of work, so that I know what I’m doing today for a start (I wasn’t writing a blog … which is one reason the diary’s written in pencil, as it isn’t cast in stone). But also because while I still have a lot of work in I need to keep sight of of when that work runs out. I need to be looking for more work now, or reminding clients that they haven’t sent me any for a while if there’s a gap looming in the near future.
I also had to add in the Doncaster Literary Festival, something that launched last year for the first time, I believe, but something we’d both like to go to this year, especially after I saw it posted on Facebook last night. It’s at the end of May.
I still have the birthdays and anniversaries to put into the new diary, and then the poet’s gigs, our visits to Birmingham and Doncaster, his fishing trips, my Leeds write-ins … then we’ll see what’s available for actual work …
We were scheduled to go back to the Crime Writing Festival in Harrogate at “the start” of this year (i.e. July), but we decided to book another holiday to Dent instead for that week.
So this is why my diary plays such a big part in my working (and personal) life. I love to fill it in because it means I have work – and a life. And here’s this week’s to do list as a result:
write blog post x 3 daily competitions x 4 surf job boards daily x 4 pay for Big Adventure diary work (started) write walks report submit walks report to 7 x local newspapers manual edits on non-fiction #1 electronic edits on non-fiction #1 send non-fiction #1 back to author send non-fiction #1 for typesetting author reviews on non-fiction #2 proofreader reviews on non-fiction #2 return non-fiction #2 for 2nd proofs run
- manual edits on non-fiction #3 (will become #1 next week)
invoicing (hurrah!) Monkey Dust gigs x 2
- Leeds write-in (possibly …)
Trip to Birmingham Trip to Doncaster
This is why I’m more than capable of sitting on a riverbank, doing nothing and gazing at the water. For hours. When I get the chance.
I had such good intentions to crack on with some work, and we had a weekend of activity planned as well. And then I caught the lurgy off the poet and, as ever, the best laid plans …
We’d already cancelled our camping trip because he was poorly last weekend, but by Wednesday he’d rallied enough to go fishing, and get ready for work the next day (we were on holiday from work). Then on Wednesday evening I started to get a bit of a throat …
Friday and Saturday were my worst days. On Friday I didn’t even get dressed, and that’s very unlike me. I usually make the weekday morning cuppa too, but on Friday I had one brought to me and was told very firmly to stay in bed. So I did. Saturday evening he had a gig to do, and that knocked him back a bit too. So Sunday’s trip to Birmingham was grudgingly cancelled, so that we didn’t share our germs and to give us chance to recharge.
Today we’re both feeling quite a lot better, though we’re both still very full of cold.
I have the diary to update (hurrah!), the walks report to write and submit, a new non-fiction to start editing, and proofreader/author reviews to do for a previous one.
And I also have books to put back onto shelves as the poet did manage to hang bookshelves for me and fetch the bookcase in from the garage.
So, while I do that, here are a few more fishing photos for your enjoyment:
… and I forgot it was a 4-day week last week, the second of 2 on the trot. We have a 5-day week this week, then it’s back to a 4-day week next week again, only my week will be a 2-day week.
So I promised more pictures by Wednesday, thinking it was Monday when I posted. But it was Tuesday and the rest of the week just ran away with me.
We spent a few hours in the garden and pitched a tent to see how weather-tight it was.
As it turned out, it wasn’t very weather-tight at all. So I took it down this morning, after doing the “dog-poo-patrol” (sorry …), and before hanging out some washing, and shoved most of it in the dustbin.
I’ve kept the tent pegs – you can never have too many tent pegs … Because we bought a new one at the weekend, another we can just chuck in the boot of the car when we feel like it and shoot off for a couple of nights.
My kind of camping. 🙂
We need to get that one pitched too so we know how to pitch it in case it’s dark when we get to wherever we’re going. But in the future we may get a bigger tent, possibly a trailer tent.
We’re hoping to go away this coming weekend, but I now have a tenant for the other house. Actually, I had 2 people fighting over it in the end, but I decided to go with someone I know because her mum lives next door (other side to Perve). And she’ll give me time to sort out the paperwork.
So we have a lot of packing to do and a removal man to arrange. By Saturday … Hopefully we can still be away by Saturday teatime.
I still have a lot of work to do – a very lot. Here’s a taster (list alert!):
- electronic edits on non-fiction #1
- author revisions on historical fiction
- write weekly walks report
- submit weekly walks report to 6 x local newspapers
- manual edits on non-fiction #2
- author & proofreader revisions on non-fiction #3
- electronic edits on non-fiction #2
- formal book proposal to write for (my own) non-fiction books 1, 2 and 3
- sample chapter to write for (my own) non-fiction book 3
- book optician appointment
- attend optician appointment
- house to empty
- house to clean
- tent to pitch/take down
And I only have 4 days … or 3½ now … so here are more of last week’s pictures:
After a very full and adventurous weekend and still feeling the after effects of quite a bad cold, I could have quite happily stayed in bed today. But I took one look at Abbey Road, saw how glorious it was in here again, and promptly sat down at my desk – early again for the second working day running.
We did some shopping Friday night but had an early night and then had a couple of busy days out. Saturday night we went to a gig with the gig buddies, and yesterday we were up with the larks … well, by 9am (it was Sunday …), out by 10am, buying the dog a new ball and a new lead, and walking in quite blustery sunshine for a few hours. We were both aching by the end of it so it must have been a good workout for us. There aren’t many pictures this time, so before I go today I’ll leave you with some more taken off the camera before we went to Keswick.
We were back by 2pm and still had a lot of the weekend left, so we really must try and do this again, rather than start the day at noon …
I sort of have a bit of a busy week this week. I have a Do Diddle Day on Wednesday, but – against Do Diddle Day rules – I’ve arranged to meet estate agents over at the other house. We’ve already had a rental quote from one, and we may have a potential tenant already (found privately), but it’ll be interesting to know how much the house is worth if we decide we’d like to sell it. And the poet has 2 site visits this week at least, one of them a long, long, long way away.
So I have a lot to cram in to the remaining days. Here’s this week’s to do list:
- surf job boards daily x 5
- write 3 x blog posts
- doctor’s appointment
- make optician’s appointment
- diary work
- enter competitions daily x 5
- write walks report
- submit walks report to 6 x local newspapers
- electronic edits on non-fiction #1
- manual edit on new fiction
- Do Diddle Day
- meet with estate agents x 3
- complete proofread of non-fiction #2
- invoices (hurrah!)
- WRITE something
- start non-fiction #3
- trip to Doncaster
- trip to Birmingham
The dog’s digestive system seems a bit awry at the moment, so we’re keeping a close eye on him and have reverted him back to the careful diet he had to go on when he was a puppy, after he had an acute case of worms immediately followed by septic gastroenteritis. I’ve found him a nice pillow to sleep on under the desk while I work, and he’s currently fast asleep.
We still have boxes and piles to go through and paperwork to reduce down before introducing everything back into Abbey Road. So we’ll try and do a little of that each evening.
And that, my friends, is today’s blog slot almost complete. Here are those pictures I promised, taken at Cusworth Hall near Doncaster last October:
It’s such a beautiful day here today I’m at my desk a whole hour earlier and having to close the blinds against the sunshine. Since the “office” was added to “Abbey Road” I’ve been at my desk every single day. I’ve had some transitional admin work to do with the other house, but generally I’ve been here working. Every. Single. Day. And I’ve been very surprised when I’ve cleared a load of backlog to see it’s still only the middle of the morning.
Everyone should have a dedicated work area if they can. I’m certain that’s what’s doing it, and having such a lovely environment to work in too helps.
Here is how this week has panned out (list alert!):
- surf job boards daily x 5 √√√√√
- pitch for 15 new jobs √
- write 3 x blog posts √√√
- diary work x 2 √
- enter competitions daily x 5 √√××√
- write walks report √
- submit walks report to 6 x local newspapers √
- complete manual edits on non-fiction #1 √
- pay outstanding bills x 4 √√√√
- set up new direct debits x 4 √√√√
- complete electronic edits on non-fiction #1
- start manual edit on new fiction
- set up new annual budget for 2 new bank accounts (in and out) √
- arrange estate agent market evaluations x 3 √√√
- recommence work on non-fiction #2
- invoices (hurrah!)
Phew! But just look at all of those lovely ticks. I still have some missing, though, so I’d best get on.
Before I go, here are some pictures we found on the camera before clearing it for the Keswick trip:
I skipped a day this week, I missed Wednesday. That’s because apart from being really, really busy this week, I was also out running errands. Just LOOK at this week’s to-do list, though. (Link here.) There’s just one whole job that’s being carried over to next week (historical non fiction #3, which will become #2 next week) and one half a job (historical non fiction #2, which will become #1). But apart from that … didn’t she do well! I also sold a filler this week …
It’s been a wonderful week anyway, as people finally (finally!) started to pay me. And with several jobs finishing this week too, I’ve probably earned a whole month’s wages this week alone. It’s a pity it’s the wages I should have earned 3 months ago, but it’s still a start. And with the amount of work (and further wages) I have coming in the next few weeks, I can finally relax and do some of my own work as well for a change.
Yesterday I had 2 separate errands to run, and I almost decided against the 2nd one. But it was a run to the pet superstore to get his lordship a new ball. I’d already been out for one beautiful drive in the sunshine, and while on the road I managed to “write” the best part of an article in my head that I’d promised someone by the end of the day.
So as I’d earned a month’s wages already, as I’d already filed quite a few jobs, and as the drive might allow me to finish “writing” the article in my head, I decided to go for it, the dog would get his new ball, and he’d also come for a ride with me too. He ended up with TWO balls and a rubber bone, so he did very well out of it. And when I got back, the article was “finished” and I was able to dash it off in minutes, give it a quick proof, and send it on its merry way.
Today, then, I’ve printed off historical non fiction #2 (which will become #1 next week) and I’ll start to edit that. I’ll also do the invoices (hurrah! – there are LOADS of them). I have to book a hair appointment (I had to cancel the last 2), and I’ll take the dog for a walk. I think we may be shopping this evening, but the poet also has 2 guitars to restring (oops – both Ds, apparently) as he has another gig tomorrow night. OR we may do the shopping tomorrow. We’re also off for a big walk, probably on Sunday.
For March I’m looking ahead to taking part in the Leeds write-ins again, hopefully on alternate Saturdays when the poet isn’t fishing. I’m also booking in a daily slot to write 1,000 words a day and we think it needs to be a novel. I picked up 4 new writing books this week (2 were free, 2 were very cheap) and I intend to do some reading too.
I feel like I deserve one of these this week …
Have a great weekend.
I had some good news last week. A short story I wrote over a year ago and submitted to a magazine last March was finally accepted. I have to do some work to it – lose 200 words and confirm something – but I was very happy to hear from them as it’s a favourite client. That’s 2 fillers and a short story I’ve had accepted or published in the last few weeks, and there was me thinking I might be losing my touch. Of course, I might be, but at least it’s given me some confidence back.
Two days before I was yearning to be back in Dentdale, but a quick check to see availability and a tentative message to the poet (to which I had one of the speediest replies ever), and we’re booked in for a full week in the summer. We have to pay the deposit, still, but because we’re returning customers, and because I went direct to the owner, it’s fairly cheap and he’s reserved the cottage for us anyway.
This is what I was a tad excited about, for those who noticed last week on Facebook. We’re also looking forward to spending 2 nights in Keswick for my birthday next month.
We had a good weekend with the poet’s first gig of the year. He has 2 more in February and then that’s it, I think, until April. Most of the band have asked for most of March off.
Much of this morning was spent doing shameless self-publicity; this afternoon I made a red trifle. I still have a few jobs to do today, but here, for now, is this week’s to do list:
shameless self-promotion√ diary work x 2√√ blog x 3√×√ surf job boards daily x 5√√√√√ daily competitions x 5√√√√√ write walks report√ submit walks report to 6 local newspapers√ electronic edits on historical non fiction #1√ send historical non fiction #1 to author for checking√ send historical non fiction #1 for typesetting√ doctor’s appointment√ revise short story√ return short story to favourite client√ write editing article for writing anthology√ print off historical non fiction #2√
- manual edits on historical non fiction #2
- electronic edits on historical non fiction #2
- send historical non fiction #2 to author for checking
- send historical non fiction #2 for typesetting
- invoices (hurrah! – there are LOTS)
- check historical non fiction #3 3rd proofs
- send historical non fiction #3 back to client
check historical non fiction #4 author amendments√ send historical non fiction #4 for typesetting√
What’s on your to do list this week?