Productive week

Despite being on my own again this week, it’s been a productive one.

First of all I won 2 jobs, and one of them I turned around the same day. The second one is a nice biggie, and it starts today or Monday, depending on how I get on with what I already have – probably Monday, but I’ve allowed 2 weeks for it.

I got a final revision in from a regular client and, again, I turned it around the same day. Some things just work better with the touch-it-once mentality. Had I not just turned them both around and sent them on their merry ways, they would have been thrown into the to-do basket with everything else.

I’ve been plodding through a new edit for lovely-already-boss and I hope to have that one done by the end of today or by midday Monday.

My writer’s boot camp has come into its own finally, with me completing the following:

  • 4 outlines – 3 short stories and 1 filler
  • #1 of a filler
  • #2 of a 1,402-word short story
  • #3 of a Reader’s True Experience (RTE)
  • final draft of another RTE, polished and submitted

The latter one I edited down from over 2,700 words to bang on 1,200 words. The required length? 1,200 words. 😀 The short story needed to be 1,400 words too, so I think I did quite well on those two.

NEWS JUST IN: That RTE I submitted yesterday has just been accepted. 😀

I’d like to do more boot camp today, but I’d also like to finish the current 1st hard-copy edit, so I need to decide which is more important to me.

The next job to do on the short WiP list is the first draft of one of the short stories I outlined. That’s always a hard one for me, and I like most of the story to be inside my head before I start. I think it needs to percolate a little more, but I may just get a burst of enthusiasm when I least expect it.

The next job after that one is a 2nd draft of the filler, so I might just skip to that one for now, just to keep the writing muscle exercised. Further proof that the short WiP schedule is not cast in stone.

I’ll be collecting the poet again from the station at teatime today, so I have until 5:30pm to finish today’s work.

I don’t think we’re doing anything tonight, but we’re shopping tomorrow and going to a comedy show tomorrow night. If the weather’s okay, we may also do a spot of river fishing at some point over the weekend. He’s not done that in a while, and it gives me chance to read or do more boot camp, depending on what I feel like. The dog also gets extra walks, which means I do too.

Or, we may go for a walk or just a day out.

We could also hear from son #1 again this weekend, though, wanting to move that furniture. But we’ll deal with that if and when it happens.

What are you up to this weekend? Hope it’s a goodun. 😉

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Clipped wings

Maybe the Universe couldn’t manage the nice weather I ordered for my research trip. Maybe that’s why my car broke down and I couldn’t go. It’s horrible being grounded, though, and nowhere near any rail stations. I feel as though my wings have been clipped. The weather anyway, for the midsummer weekend and super moon, was atrocious. Blustery showers and grey skies the whole time.

The diary that I ordered on Thursday was here on Friday. That’s quite good going considering they only charged me £1.50 for 3 – 5 days delivery (apx $2.30). Next day delivery would have cost me a lot more, and I got it anyway. Friday evening I had a lovely time acquainting myself with the new diary.

When the post came in on Friday and on Saturday, I touched it once, and shredded or binned it straight away. I had some money-off vouchers come from Tesco, more than £5-worth (apx $7.75), and those went straight into my purse.

When I went through the pile of post last Monday, I had to throw 3 lots of money-off vouchers away – 2 from Tesco and 1 from Boots – because they’d expired, and some only the day before. Those were probably worth about £15 (apx $23), and all for things that I buy anyway. This was one of my motivations for touching it once in future. (Although I did manage to save some coupons, £3-worth for the Co-op – apx $4.60 – and 60p-worth plus extra points for Boots.)

On Saturday I did some baking. I made a Quiche Lorraine and a plum crumble – yes, I’m hard enough to make a plum crumble … Sorry. Ahem … I walked the dog up to the Co-op to get some odds and ends, I took a rucksack so I could carry it home and still have my hands free for the dog. And I took the rest of the day off. I faffed, played games, caught up on old NCIS episodes and generally dossed, and baked.

I’ve started to do a big shop at Tesco just once sometimes twice a month, getting all the tinned, bottled and other heavy stuff, and then filling-in in between on a weekly basis, usually locally. It’s working out quite a bit cheaper, approximately £40 – £45 a month (apx $75), and I’m throwing even less food away.

On Sunday I had an idle lie-in and faffed some more. Then I knuckled down to some more baking (choc chip muffins), housework and then some writing work. I picked up 5 books on Kindle for just over £6 (apx $9.30) to read up on a potential new genre. When I wasn’t reading I was watching telly, but just for an hour. I would have liked to have gone out, but my wings had been clipped … I do miss my car.

When I get the car back I’ve discovered I can get to Leeds for the Saturday afternoon write-ins a bit quicker and a bit cheaper just by going to a different railway station. It’s not in a nice area, so I’d need to look at the car park security, etc. But if it saves me nearly £3 (apx $4.60) and about 20 minutes each way, it might be worth considering. It means the dog won’t be left so long on his own too.

This week, then, I have a new historical novel to edit, the walks report to write and submit, the daily comps to enter, job boards to surf daily, a well-woman clinic to attend, the gig list to upload for July (July already, sheesh!), a do diddle day, a book to write, diary work, invoices to raise, a trip to Birmingham, and – hopefully – a research trip to Derbyshire (weather and car permitting). Then I change to my new diary.

What are your plans for the week?

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Thanking the stars

On Monday night it took me nearly 3 hours just to open the post. Straight away I was able to get rid of 3 piles. 1. straight in the rubbish; 2. straight in the recycle bin; 3. shredded and then into the recycle bin. The shredded pile took the remainder of the 3rd hour and filled 4 shredder bins or 1 dustbin liner.

I was able to dispatch a 4th pile pretty much straight away too, into an envelope and off to someone else, while pile no 5 went straight into the filing folder. That left pile no 6 for “reading later”, and pile no 7 for “dealing with NOW”. That was the urgent stuff I was looking for.

I’ve never had so many piles …

It was quite traumatic, I must admit. But it was nice to get my 2 mailing trays back (in and out) and the now-vanished pile of post was good Feng Shui.

I really, really need to get into the habit of touching the post just once – whether that means shredding or binning or recycling it straight away or, heaven forbid, actually dealing with it immediately.

Of course, the filing pile is now a different story. I’m going to have to do daily 5-minute bursts to try and get that shifted. I’m almost certain I have another pile of filing shoved away in a cupboard somewhere too.

I finally sank into a bath at 10:45pm, but at least it was another job jobbed and it did feel good to have the clear desk and all that rubbish gone.

On Tuesday, when the post came in, I touched it once … and shredded, recycled and binned straight away. That felt good too.

Tuesday was a glorious day and as I’d finished the proofreading job I was scheduled to finish, written and filed the walks report, met an obligation in town, and delivered one of those urgent forms I needed to fill in NOW, I decided I fancied and deserved a nice run to the seaside. Rufus had a great time there, we had fish and chips, a lovely walk along the beach, and we headed home at a reasonable time.

But halfway along the motorway the car cut out and I managed to limp onto the hard shoulder. We waited for over an hour for the AA to come out but he could only do a recovery, and he was close to his driving hours too, so we also had to give him a 45 minute break. He got us home for about 1am.

On Monday I was talking to the Universe; today I’m thanking stars. But I have a lot to be thankful for – for being in the AA, for the motorway being relatively empty, for not losing control of the car, for the dog not escaping across the carriageway, for not being alone, for nothing crashing into us on the hard shoulder, and for getting home safely. It could have been so much worse.

We had to abandon the car outside someone’s house, but my lovely mechanic has been out this morning to collect it, identified the problem, and will look at it as soon as he can. Meanwhile, and if it’s too expensive, I’m grounded again. But we’re all safe.

I couldn’t hand-deliver the job I finished yesterday, so that will be going via the post office later on this afternoon.

Today a new job landed on my desk – I touched it once, put it straight into my work folder and disposed of the packaging. Now I have to decide whether to crack on with that one, and therefore invoice it quickly, or carry on with the plan and write up the first chapter of my non-fiction.

I’m a bit tired, so I’m doing pc and internet admin stuff for now. I’ll see how I feel later on today and decide then.

Friday – the planets … 😉

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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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