Hey you! Yes, you at the back! Say hello!

I have no idea why, but Wednesday’s post seems to have been more popular than some of the previous ones as it was possibly shared and re-tweeted much more than any of my posts have ever been shared before. So, all you people at the back, before you read any further, nip on down to the bottom and say hi. No need to be shy, we’re very friendly here.

Have you done it? Go on, I’ll wait …

# tum ti tum ti tum ti tum …

Done it? There now, that didn’t hurt, did it?

So, what have I been up to this week?

Well, so far, without counting today, I’ve pitched for 24 new proofreading or editing jobs, including several regular gigs. I’ve also caught up a bit on the non-fiction editing – I’ve done author and proofreader revisions on a non-fiction book, I’ve edited an essay and I’ve been reviewing another non-fiction book that needed additional work doing to it.

I’ve written the walks report and submitted it to 6 local newspapers, and liaised with a couple of said newspapers, and I’ve caught up on the daily competitions. I’ve also been doing my own writer’s boot camp. I’m working on 5 short stories and have a couple of 1st drafts I want to have a look at.

And a big job I did yesterday was my first critical data backup in 9 months … I’ve done a lot of work in that 9 months, it would be awful if the computer crashed and I lost it all. That took a little longer than intended as it involved tidying up the hard drive anyway to make sure I wasn’t copying any duplicates or anything that really isn’t needed any more.

As part of that backup I found a load of old ebooks that I’ve not been able to read anywhere due to the archaic format. But I think I’ve managed to transfer the majority of those to my new Kindle Paperwhite. They’re all saved on there as “personal”, and if I delete them from the home page they also go from the collection(s) I put them in. But I think I can at least read them.

There are a couple of old magazines on there I’d like to read, Alfred Hitchcock and Ellery Queen. I might try those first.

I still have today’s chores to do – daily competitions, surf for more work and pitch if necessary, invoices to raise (hurrah!), the notes section of a non-fiction to read through, today’s boot camp. And I think I have a hair appointment at 5pm-ish.

We’re having a bit of personal upheaval over the coming 4 weeks, so this weekend the poet and I are having some quality time together. I think we’re going fishing tomorrow, and we may go to the pictures on Sunday. We also have to head over to the other house to inspect it for new tenants and change the locks, but we may do that this evening.

So, y’all have a great weekend – tell us what you’re up to – and I’ll see you on Monday. 🙂

Burn out!

Phew! What a busy few weeks we’ve been having here in Baggins Bottom. First a holiday, then a music festival swiftly followed by a beer festival, then a trip to Solihull and Tipton, then another music festival including a camping trip in major thunderstorms. And to top it all, I come in here today, and the whole interface has changed. Ooh-er. I think I need to pause and take stock.

In between all of these exciting shenanigans I’ve also been very busy. I’ve been editing and proofreading books well into the evenings to make sure I meet deadlines. I’ve fielded argumentative emails from argumentative clients. (I’ve had some proper bostin clients too, by the way.) And I’ve given my writing a good kick up the backside.

I’ve been reading a selection of books in order to get me writing, and these are filled with lots of positive, pro-active exercises that lead to finished products, rather than being exercises for exercise sake. I’ll share some of the better ones with everyone once I know which ones have actually worked. 

And it is all work. As well as a part-completed Camp NaNo during July, I’ve also started several short stories and even finished the first drafts of a few. Now I need to plod on through, continue with the exercises, and get some stories polished and off into the ether to earn their keep.

So, what have you lot been up to while we’ve been gallivanting around the country? Answers below. 

Camp NaNo Day 4

The sharp-eyed will, once again, notice that Baggins Bottom has had another bit of a facelift. Do let me know what you think of it in the comments below. I love the replies because they’re on crinkly paper.

It’s a bit of a flying visit for me today as my workload for the rest of the month just doubled, and we have a week away in the midst of it.

Camp NaNo has been going well for both of us. I haven’t done today’s yet, as I’ve been hanging washing out, emptying/filling the dishwasher, fetching the bins in, running errands – bit of shopping, paying rent money into bank, buying the biggest lemon on the planet – and I have another to go to at 4pm. So work’s being squeezed in between and NaNo will be done this evening again. (Little man will be updated then.)

I’ve been doing credit control this week, and one payment just arrived. Another is still late and has just had another reminder email sent back. The accounts clerk was on holiday until Tuesday, and that gives me 2 reasons to be concerned: 1. It’s a good job she hadn’t gone on holiday for a month; and 2. If she’s been back since Tuesday you’d think I might have had the courtesy of a reply …

Anyway, another invoice is about to go off to the same firm but, with plenty of work also coming in, I may not be able to do any more for them until they’ve paid what they owe. I really am starting to tire of people thinking I don’t need paying for the time and work I put in.

I pitched for a job last week, and apparently narrowly lost out to someone they awarded it to just as my pitch came in. However, that freelance has now taken quite seriously ill (I wish him a speedy recovery, but little wax dolls have come a very long way … 😉 ), how was my schedule fixed, and did I still want it? Naturally I said yes.

With this, a full-length book, and another that came in this week, plus one that came in last week, plus several author/proofreader revisions I need to check, I think that’s just about me done now for the month. Let’s hope they pay me, eh. 🙂

Here’s some feedback I also received: “Great work and fantastic communication. Highly recommended for editing and book writing assistance.” Five stars. 😀

Late this afternoon, then, I’m off for a hair appointment and the poet is helping a work colleague move house this evening, and we have NaNo. Tomorrow I’m not sure what we’re doing, but think it depends on weather and funds. Tomorrow evening we have a gig in Doncaster. And Sunday we’re off to the Tour de France, to watch from a hillside somewhere near Holmfirth. Apparently the roads are expected to be murder, but we have a friend’s drive to leave the car on within walking distance. But if the traffic is too bad, we may just go to the seaside instead.

Y’all have a great weekend.

Camp NaNo Day 2

Camp NaNo started very well yesterday with the first brand new story written in ages, and my first target of 1,000 words or 1 hour met. I already know what I’m writing to today, as I copied the prompt out into my notebook while I had a moment. The poet is giving it a go this year as well, so I’m saving today’s for when he gets home so we can work together. I’ll change the little man as soon as I have something to change.

We’ve already had a hectic week. I’ve been plodding through electronic edits while I waited for a new proofread, I wrote the walks report yesterday and submitted it to 7 local newspapers, I pegged 17 jobs this week so far to pitch for later in the week (bearing in mind we have a holiday coming up), caught up with the daily competitions, paid a few bills – with another small debt biting the dust! – changed a hair appointment and, of course, started Camp NaNo.

Phew!

Another thing we did was change our relationship statuses on Facebook, something that we thought would happen quite quietly but which, in fact, turned into a bit of a fanfare and attracted more than 120 ‘likes’ and over 80 ‘comments’. That took a little time keeping on top of acknowledgements, etc.

And here’s a *** truth alert ***

While we’ve never actually done anything wrong – we were both completely and absolutely single and ‘available’ when we started seeing each other, and there was absolutely no one else involved – we’ve not had an easy year. I’m not going into detail, and it wasn’t our doing, but it’s all behind us now.

We’ve known about it for a while, as we had to book it in advance, but we didn’t want our parents or the kids finding out online. So we told them all first. And, well, we’re getting married next year. And we’re going away to do it, so there. Not everyone will be happy but – this time – it’s not about them. We’re just overwhelmed and delighted with all the warm wishes from our friends and families.

*** end of truth alert ***

So that’s what we’ve been up to this week.

Today I’ve been carrying on with the electronic edits, and the new proofread arrived this afternoon. I’ve also been doing my Widow Twanky impression while the weather’s still nice. My eyes are a bit tired with all the close screen work and have gunked up a little over the past few days.

Tomorrow will just be a day 3 update, then on Friday I’ll be back with plans for the weekend.

Hump day holler

So how’s this week going for you?

I’ve been busy getting work in again while also trying to keep on top of mundane things like washing.

I’ve pitched for 17 jobs this week, including one that was invited for and one outside of the job boards. And I won one so far. I also have revisions to do on existing work plus a new edit to start.

Writing-wise, I haven’t done much this week, as I’ve been doing other stuff, admin stuff. But I did do the walks report and get it sent off to 6 local newspapers.

The weather’s been very hit-and-miss, but I have managed to get washing dry and the dog has been walked.

And that’s it. More of the same for me this week, and probably into the weekend too.

See you Friday.

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?

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. 🙂

More reading fodder

So yesterday I was all set to surf the job boards, bid for some work, edit a book. But as usual, it didn’t get very far.

The book I couldn’t edit yet because I was awaiting a reply from an email sent last Friday. That email finally arrived overnight last night, but today is already full so I’ll have to reschedule that one for Monday.

I got as far as my record of jobs bid for and could hardly believe my eyes at one I’d lost. Not because I’d lost it – that’s their prerogative and their loss. No, I was astonished because this was a 9-week job, of solid editing work, and the person who’d won the job had bid just $153. That’s £91. For 9 weeks work. And the job site fee had to come out of that too. And exchange commission if the contractor wasn’t in America.

That is ridiculous, and I hope they both – the client and the contractor – are ashamed of themselves.

How can anyone expect a quality job for just 10 quid a week? (Minus fees and commission.)

So, moving swiftly on, and totally disgusted, I closed the site down, closed the internet down, closed the computer down, and went to the literary festival in Doncaster for solace.

The person I was specifically going to see was Michael Fowler, a Twitter buddy of mine who is also the father of the lovely young police officer who looked after me during my Pervy Nextdoor Man episodes. He also writes crime fiction and has done, successfully, since 2010. Co-presenting the event was Moth competition winner Rebecca Muddiman. The two of them read from their work and then led an informal chat. It was very interesting and I came away with a book each – Heart of the Demon and Stolen respectively.

So that’s 4 new books on the bookshelves when we haven’t really sorted out what’s in boxes in the garage. But hey, who cares? It’s what we do, right?

Today, then, I will be bidding for work again. I’d like to do some writing. I’ll be reading something or other. And then I’m going shopping. We have a gig this evening in Doncaster, I’m probably going to Leeds tomorrow for the write-in, we have a gig tomorrow night, and the poet’s off fishing (hopefully) on Sunday. So I may get chance to do some more of my own writing then too.

Over on Facebook I shared this picture:

books

And it’s started some discussion on how tidy the books are in the picture. I arrange my books (when they’re not in boxes in the garage) in alphabetical order by author and then chronological order by book. How do you arrange yours?

Have a great weekend.