The writing bag

A while ago I mentioned that I have a writing bag. At the time a few people asked for more information, but I’ve been a bit busy moving house, moving office, getting on top of work. So I’ve not had chance to organise the bag properly.

However, on Wednesday, when I took the car in for its MOT, I packed an up-to-date writing bag so that I wasn’t carrying unnecessary stuff.

And here it is:

Bag 2

It’s a little out of focus, but I think you get the picture.

The bag itself is a Penguin book bag I think I bought from the book shop at Sheffield Hallam University not long after I moved to Yorkshire.

The purple A4 folder on the bottom has all of my 2nd and 3rd short-WiP drafts in. The 2nd drafts are in a sprial bound A4 notebook; the 3rd drafts are typed. All are awaiting editing before moving onto the next stage – draft 3 and edit/submit respectively. Currently I have 1 short story waiting to go to market, 3 short stories awaiting electronic correction before they go off to market, 1 RTE awaiting electronic correction before going off to market, and – in the notebook – 1 2nd draft waiting to be typed and 1 2nd draft waiting to be split into 2 separate RTEs and then typing up. I have a similar A4 folder for 2nd and 3rd drafts of the novel, but that one’s pink.

The black leather folder is one of my souvenirs from my days at the National Grid. It’s a conference folder and it usually holds whichever book I’m currently editing. At the moment, that’s a non-fiction book on Ancient Egypt. It also holds a red or a green pen – currently red, felt tip.

The fancy brown and pink, touchy-feely A5 book is the current academic diary, running out at the end of this month. The new one is also A5, but it’s a plain black one.

The 2 fluorescent pink polypropylene shorthand notebooks held together with an elastic band is the first draft of Catch the Rainbow. There are notes in one book, and draft 1 in the other. When I’m working on 1st drafts of short WiP, these are usually fluorescent green polypropylene shorthand notebooks held together with an elastic band. One has outlines in; the other has 1st drafts.

Finally, here is one of my several pencil tins, upside down. This one is Winnie the Pooh, and it says: ‘You’re the Best Bear in All the World.’ It holds a 6″ (15cm) ruler, a mini Bambi stapler, mini Bambi staples, a pencil sharpener, a rubber (eraser), 1 black, 1 blue and 1 green pen, 1 automatic pencil, 1 manual pencil, 1 highlighter pen, and 2 ‘posh’ pens for best.

So, there’s the world famous writing bag of Baggins Bottom. What do you keep in yours? Or what would you, if you had one?

Grammar Nazi At Work

Bassenthwaite, where thar be osprey (can you see them?). (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Bassenthwaite, where thar be osprey (can you see them?). (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Yes, I’m a bit of a grammar nazi. But I try not to bandy it about too much as not everyone is as bothered as I am about quality, standard or consistency – or just plain being correct. So with emails, texts and social media, I tend to just ignore mistakes, typos and general bone idleness.

However, when it’s a writing organisation or a writing competition, I’m slightly torn. I’m annoyed too when it’s promotional literature that a client has paid for – surely if they’re paying a professional rate, they should get a professional job. Or maybe I’m just old-fashioned like that.

For example, if I see a poster on, say, Facebook, that has anything to do with a campaign or something else I have a lot of interest in, I tend to share it with everyone on my list. But if that poster has any grammatical errors on, I just like it and move on.

When it’s a writing organisation or a writing competition, I really do want to share it … but if there are grammatical or spelling errors … I tell them.

This happened this morning on FB, and I won’t name the organisation as they fixed it as soon as I sent them a private, friendly (I hope) message. Within minutes there was a new poster available that I felt more able to share.

So, today’s question is this: Would you tell them or would you let it go?

Navel gazing
I’ve had a bit of a navel-gazing week. I wasn’t very well on Monday still, following our little flu epidemic last week, and yesterday I just couldn’t get on with much work beyond mechanical-type stuff. I didn’t know what the problem was until I received a phone call from one of my lovely bosses, as I had plenty of work in. But the problem turned out to be, I didn’t want to do it (for various reasons I won’t go into here); I wanted to work for lovely boss.

So we had a chat and he does have plenty of work for me, and this has given me light at the end of the tunnel, if you like. Now that I know I don’t just have this work in I really don’t want to do, but I have more, more enjoyable work on the horizon, I was able to find my mojo again.

Writing bag
I started by upgrading my writing bag to one I can fit the editing/proofreading folder in as well.

I’ve added my Teeline Shorthand for Journalists course to the bag and intend to work on this for at least an hour a day.

The current novel is in the bag – The Beast Within: A Marcie Craig Mystery.

My Kindle is in there, with a few reference books for writing I have open, a collection of stories from Arthur Conan Doyle, and a novel.

I have a journalism workbook in there too, and all of the current short writing work in progress, plus all of my various notepads and a pencil tin.

Current WiP
Today I’m editing a book and tweaking another. I’ve already updated the gig list for the week. Tomorrow I’m in Birmingham to see to a few things with my parents.

Today’s picture
While we were on holiday in Dentdale, we also ventured over to the Lake District. There are osprey at Bassenthwaite, and from the RSPB viewing platform up on the hillside we had a very good view of the adult male and the two juveniles – one male, one female. The adult female had already migrated about a week or so before we arrived.

In today’s picture, taken by the poet, you can see the lake and a bar of sand where the juveniles’ favourite perch is. We also watched the male juvenile have a go at a spot of fishing.

While there we also saw a jay, some finches and a beautiful red squirrel. I’ve never seen a red squirrel before, so that was a special treat for me.

Enjoy the view. 🙂

Leeds write-in

Yes, I’m slowly getting there, getting organised, ticking things off the list, getting “out there” again.

Yesterday I pitched for 2 article writing jobs, and both were picked up immediately. I’ve also been given the go ahead to sketch out a few more. I need to do some more research still, and I need to frame the ideas in a more structured manner. But, generally, I have the material and I have the market. All I need to do is adhere the bum to that seat.

I had another restless night last night that resulted in another late morning. I think the dreamcatcher definitely needs to go up over my bed instead of over the spare bed, or I need to move into the spare bed for the foreseeable future. Also, the articles I’ve been collating material for have been on the occult, spooky happenings, weird experiences, and I think they’re playing on my mind a bit.

The late start means I’ve not been able to do as much as I wanted to today, and then I had to deal with some potentially sensitive correspondence whilst keeping my client in the loop. I have an appointment at 4pm too, or it might be 4:15pm (note to self: check diary …), so the day is broken up and I have to walk the dog yet as well.

Tomorrow I’m off to Leeds. The Leeds NaNoWriMo crew are having a write-in and I was invited to go along. Some will be working on last year’s NaNo, others will be working on other projects. The idea is just to have a write-in and churn out some words. I was also asked to fetch cookies, which rather makes me question my invite in the first place (ha ha ha), but I don’t think I’ll have time to make any. The train fare is going to cost me as it is so I need to try and clear some paid work to help pay for it.

We’re starting at 1pm and my buddy’s meeting me at the station about 10 minutes before then. The longest I can stay is 3 hours, because I have to get back to the dog and the travel time will eat into my time away.

I’ve decided to take the short projects – that’s the WIP notebook, the outline/planning notebook, the 1st draft notebook and the A4 2nd draft notebook. I shan’t take the writing bag, though, as it has everything in so is quite heavy and I’ll be spoiled for choice. I don’t want to waste time wondering what to work on first/next.

On Sunday we’re off to see the parents as we didn’t make it last week.

In between I’ll do some proof-reading, and may take a proof-reading job with me to Leeds as well in case I run out of steam.

Have a great weekend.

Writing bag

Yesterday was another busy day.

Despite reminding myself, I still almost forgot to fetch the washing in, so it was quite damp and had to go on the clothes horse. Most of that will go away today now.

I sat down with my writing WIP notebook and planned out all of the various drafts and stages for all of my short material: outline; draft 1; #2; #3; edit & submit. Then I opened a page for JANUARY and listed all of the jobs I have to do (proof-reading, writing, editing) or have already done in January along with what they’re worth. There’s space for admin work, such as meetings or invoices, and another space for research for future stories and articles or research visits for events or places of interest or walks I may want to write about in the future.

Plotting it all out like this gives me a tickable list (and we all know how much I love those), and it sets it all out so I can see exactly where I am and how much more work I need to get in for January.

Thankfully I don’t need any more work for January. 😉

I managed more than 1,300 words altogether, over all projects, and I packed a writing bag.

This writing bag is a gorgeous red soft leather shoulder briefcase I bought for work a long time ago. I decided that it’s too extravagant to hide away in the bottom of a wardrobe. So now it has all of my current writing projects in:

  • Catch the Rainbow
  • We Also Served
  • fave market current guidelines and current story
  • current long short story (Ace of Wands)
  • daily freewriting exercises (A Writer’s Book of Days + notebook)

It also contains:

  • Devon’s 5 (Stories) in 10 (Weeks)
  • A5 desk diary day-to-a-page
  • A5 writing journal (day-to-a-page diary)
  • WIP notebook
  • 2 x WIP shorthand notebooks (1 for outlines; 1 for 1st drafts)
  • ideas notebook
  • A4 notebook (for 2nd drafts)
  • daily food and exercise trackers
  • pencil tin
  • 12″ wooden ruler
  • handypack of tissues
  • chapstick
  • Kindle

The bag’s quite packed and a little heavy, but it’s a shoulder bag so easy to carry around and it stays with me for pretty much all of the time. Yes, it even comes to bed with me (in case I wake in the night with something burning to be written). I’ve used a few bags in my time, but this is the only one I can fit everything in. I need another for the proof-reading and editing projects …

What would you keep in your writing bag?

Rufus woke me at 4:30am coughing (he was fine) and I gave up trying to go back to sleep at about 8am. So I got up, did my yoga, had breakfast, managed a couple of hours work … and went back to bed again … The joys of working from home.

Today I’ve checked the jobs boards, entered the daily competitions and put another washload through. It was far too cold to hang any out this morning. It’s bitter out there. So once the clothes horse has been emptied, I’ll be filling it again.

I have a proof-reading job I want to shift today, I still have some of my daily writing to do and there’s a dog to walk. And a bonus email arrived saying another proof-reading job was in the post.

Happy days. 🙂