Diary of a freelance writer: 25 May 2016

I’m not going to say we’ve had a busy week again because I’m starting to feel like a stuck record. But it has been … a bit of a whirlwind, with “housework” creeping back onto the daily list, but only for half an hour at the very top.

Wednesday 18 May 2016
After all the usual daily stuff I wrote 970 words for a blog and 1,248 words for CATCH THE RAINBOW. I’m moving the novel onto Scrivener and revising it a little as I go along. In the afternoon I did some editing for a client. Then on the evening, we went to see the new house, to make sure they’d done all the things we’d asked them to. They had.

Thursday 19 May 2016
On Thursday, I had to revive my gig list admin as the poet isn’t around to do it at the moment. I’ve been doing little bits here and there, but I’ve not done any trawling for gigs, and I’ve not posted any received. So it was a shock to the system on Thursday when I suddenly had to find time for that again.

I wrote 458 words of CATCH THE RAINBOW, and I did more editing for the client.

Friday 20 May 2016
On Friday I did a little job-trawling, and I pitched for 10 new editing or proofreading jobs altogether. I’m not spending loads of time on this at the moment as I want to stick to existing clients and publishing companies, rather than get the odd private client here and there for just one job at a time.

I did a little editing work, but the poet was home early again (it being Friday) and we had to go and sign the paperwork for the new house.

On Saturday morning we had a furniture delivery to the new house, so half the day was spent over there. On the way home we did some shopping for bits and pieces for the new house. Monkey Dust had a gig Saturday night in Doncaster, though, so we didn’t have much time to do anything else.

On Sunday morning we did our shopping on the way to Birmingham to visit my parents. Then on the way back we dropped in at Doncaster to visit the poet’s parents.

Monday 23 May 2016
The Monday admin jobs took a long time – they always do after the weekend. But I also managed to write a 639-word blog post as well as 636 words for CATCH THE RAINBOW. I’m also in the process of setting up my binder in Scrivener for this, and I was able to add a load of colour-coded index cards for scenes and characters.

On Monday afternoon, I did more editing for the client. Then Monday evening was spent at the new house. The poet jet-washed the garden – there was peacock poo all over it – while I sorted out some of the furniture and the bits and pieces we bought on Saturday. We measured all the windows for curtains and blinds. Provisions are also making their way over there in dribs and drabs.

Tuesday 24 May 2016
Tuesday was another very productive day – I’m wondering if Tuesday is my new Monday, as historically I’ve always managed more work on a Monday.

Aside from all of the daily work, I also researched things like curtains (which ones would fit in which rooms), cat-flaps in glass doors, dishwashers and rotary washing lines. And internal, retractable washing lines … And I had to check the MOT on my car to make sure I can use it legally for the move. (I can, the MOT runs out in July.)

Work-wise , I did more binder work for CATCH THE RAINBOW, wrote 1,048 words for that, and finished the editing job.

Last night we did more house shopping, dropped the editing job off, and installed a few more things over at the other house. I personally removed 2 shelves, so we could put the tumble-drier in place, and put them back up again (yes, with a screwdriver and everything) while the poet secured the stable and dug out some earth ahead of a shed delivery on Thursday morning.

Homework w/c 25 May 2016
Today I have writing work (study and for CATCH THE RAINBOW) and editing (client work) scheduled in. We just had a meeting this evening cancelled, which is great as we still have lots to do as well as this week’s gig list.

Tomorrow morning I have to go up to the other house so the shed can be delivered. I’ll be taking the editing job with me. And I’ll be doing more on CATCH THE RAINBOW.

We have another camping holiday this coming weekend. So we break up tomorrow and are back at work next Wednesday. A brand new editing job just arrived in my inbox, so I’ll be starting that then.

And, of course, we’re still moving over what we can to the other house, and doing whatever jobs we can.

We also have shopping – camping shopping, new house shopping, and weekly shopping … perhaps we’ll fit that in tomorrow evening … when we’re also  apparently building a new shed …

What are you up to this week?

Diary of a freelance writer: 18 May 2016

Looking back at the diary, it seems to have been a fairly good, productive week.

Wednesday 11 May 2016
The poet started his new job on Wednesday, so I had to start getting used to being up at 7am again. He was out of the house by 7:15am, though, and yes, I went back to bed. But I was up at 8am and at my desk by 9am.

After all the usual daily stuff (competitions, surveys, admin, etc), first job of the day was a chase. I’ve never, ever chased a short story submission in all of my writing career – that’s since 1985 for those who don’t know. But this was a story I initially submitted back in March as a continued break-in attempt to crack a very old market.

For the first time ever, the magazine asked me to do a re-write rather than rejected it outright. So I was very delighted with that for a start. And the very next day, naturally, the re-write was back in the post. As the story is June-themed, I thought I might need to chase it just to make sure it arrived, as the magazine is usually very quick to react to a submission with an email if it’s no good. I was a bit scared, but did in all the same, and the fiction editor responded almost immediately to say: yes, she’d received it; yes we’d missed June but not to worry about that; and yes, it’s still in her drawer.

I wrote a 456-word blog post, had a dental appointment, wrote 779 words-worth of press releases for the pro-bono project, and did some gig list admin.

We were supposed to be going to a gig in Wakefield, on comp tickets for the gig list, but as it was the poet’s first day at a new job, he didn’t feel able to finish early enough to go. So we had to send our apologies.

Thursday 12 May 2016
On Thursday, once the admin and daily stuff was done, I did some more work on the pro-bono project, did some more gig list admin – which included scheduling a post for Monday, and I did some writing

Aside from a 433-work extra blog post, I also wrote 1,820 words of a short story, draft 2.

The poet had band practice Thursday evening, so I did the shopping.

Friday 13 May 2016
Friday included a lot of admin work too. Then I wrote a 489-word blog post, and I wrote 2,491 words of a different short story, draft 3.

The poet finished work early, so that – naturally – cut my day short too.

The weekend was the climax to our pro-bono project. There was a sponsored cycle ride last Sunday, from Doncaster to York and back. On Saturday afternoon there was a charity football match (over 30s v under 30s). And Saturday evening was the actual “bash” itself. Three bands, the Outcharms, the Kavaliers and Monkey Dust, played to a packed house. And we think we raised over £14,000 for charity, which is an excellent sum – £10,900 of which was raised by the cyclists!

On Sunday we popped up to the new house to measure for a shed and a greenhouse, and we met our lovely new neighbours, who just happen to be related to the potato farmers where we live now!

Monday 16 May 2016
I didn’t get so much done on Monday. I didn’t feel very well and went back to bed for a good hour after the poet left for work. The daily stuff always takes a bit longer after a weekend off, which is why I schedule the Monday morning gig list post now rather than make sure I get up early enough to do it.

I did manage a 324-word blog post, and I wrote 86 words of a short story outline, so not a total loss, and I still managed to write something. But I knocked off at 3pm and went downstairs to read.

When we move, I’ll no longer be working “upstairs”. The “office” will be just inside the dining room, which is just next to the kitchen, which is just next to the front door. The ideal “office” is too far away from the door, although it does overlook the front of the house. But the poet is having that for his “studio”, and we’ll no longer be sharing.

Tuesday 17 May 2016
Tuesday was another very good day.

I quickly ran off another pro-bono job of just 80 words, then I set up my binder on Scrivener for CATCH THE RAINBOW. I typed 1,174 words for that, and I wrote 1,350 words of another short story, draft 2.

After doing all of the regular daily and admin stuff, I had a spare hour. So I spent that editing BAGGINS BOTTOM BEST BITS BOOK 3. The first edit pass of that is now complete. Overall, I got it down from around 98,000 words to around 75,000 words, and I tidied it up a bit and made it consistent. The next stage will be a hard-copy edit.

Homework w/c 18 May 2016
I’m going to be good to myself this coming week and not set myself too many objectives. We get the keys to the new place on Friday and we’ll be doing work up there when we can. The garden needs a fence before the dog can come with us for a start. On Saturday we’re having a furniture delivery. We have a whole new room – the dining room/office – and have had to buy furniture for that.

On Saturday evening, Monkey Dust have a gig in Doncaster. And on Sunday we’ll be in Birmingham and Doncaster, visiting.

CATCH THE RAINBOW is now a (week) daily task, added to the others. I have 2 books of my own to continue editing (MARDI GRAS and BAGGINS BOTTOM BEST BITS BOOK 3). And I have 2 books to carry on with for lovely-already-boss.

What are you up to this week?

Back into the groove

You know when the schedule’s starting to work again when you get an extra 10 – 20 minutes in which to do whatever you want. Some people may re-jig their schedule as they can probably squeeze something extra into that extra time. But I prefer to reward myself for being busy because, otherwise, I just may burn out.

Today, I’m writing an extra blog post! 🙂 (Lucky you lot!)

The diary has had a bit of a re-jig today and the item HOUSEWORK no longer features. This doesn’t mean I’m not doing any housework any more. I’m just doing it in bursts of 10 minutes when I can, either before the working day starts, while I’m making a drink or having a break, or after work ends. After all, if I had a “proppa job” I wouldn’t be here to do the housework.

The poet started his new job yesterday and his hours are quite different to his last job. Now he starts at 8am and finishes at 4:30pm. This means he’s out of the house by 7:15am and probably back by 5 – 5:15pm, and it adds another half-an-hour onto my own working day – especially if I omit that pesky housework thing. And that means I have 8 working sessions per day instead of 7, in 1-hour blocks, but I also get 2 x 15-minute breaks and 1 x 30-minute lunch break.

Mornings will be mostly admin things, surveys, emails, catching up on social media, etc. But 3 times a week there’s a blog post – Mon (Baggins Bottom), Wed (Words Worth Writing), Fri (either/or). On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the extra hour is currently pro-bono work and gig list/band admin respectively.

Dinner’s at 1:15pm, and I also get to catch up on friends’ blogs, social media, etc, now. So watch out for that extra visitor to your site.

Four afternoon sessions mean at least one writing hour per day and 2 editing hours (either my own or a client’s). Then I get a study hour on Mondays (which is also writing, really), a job-search hour on Tuesdays, another study hour on Wednesdays, an extra admin hour on Thursdays (diary work), and an invoices/admin/PC mtce hour on Fridays.

The diary, as ever, is completed in pencil, with appointments and date-specific work going in first, as it comes in, and then everything else going in around that on a weekly basis. And because it’s in pencil, it’s also still very flexible for anything that comes in unexpected, such as some extra pro-bono work I needed to do this morning, because the press dictated it.

So, there’s my extra 20 minutes done with. Back to work and … “writing work”. Wahey!


Diary of a freelance writer: 11 May 2016

Wow, looks like I made it in on time this week!

Things have eased off this past week. The poet starts his new job today and we found a house. So that means I have my office and my schedule back again – although I do have a dentist appointment this afternoon … 😦  The house is eerily quiet without him … and I have to make my own lunch!

So I’m slowly getting back into the swing of things, and here’s how the past week went.

Wednesday 4 May 2016
On Wednesday I wrote 761 words for a blog post and I did all the usual admin work, including surveys, daily competitions, and so on. Extra work this week, however, included catching up on the washing after our weekend away camping.

I also had a dentist appointment.

Thursday 5 May 2016
On Thursday, it was all admin and laundry again before going shopping – for our weekly groceries and some camping equipment. I did manage an extra blog, though, and I wrote 709 words.

Friday 6 May 2016
On Friday the poet had a second interview for a job in Rotherham, and he was made an offer before even getting back into his car – which he accepted. When he was given a start date of Wednesday (i.e. today) he had mixed emotions – first of all he was delighted and over the moon and glad to cancel all other job-search-related appointments, but then he said he’d rather have had a little more time at home. However, as we’ve also been forced into house-hunting, it was important he get back to work as soon as possible for the credit checks and references, etc.

I wrote a very short blog post of only 71 words.

Much of the weekend consisted of family time and chill time.

Monday 9 May 2016
Monday was a house-hunting day. We had second viewings on 2 properties, but plumped for the one in the middle of nowhere that comes with local fishing rights, more farm animals and, erm, peacocks …

Tuesday 10 May 2016
Tuesday was mostly new house and new job admin and appointments, but I also managed another blog post of 316 words – perhaps I’m getting back into the swing of things.

Homework w/c 11 May 2016
I’m not doing a list this week because it hasn’t changed at all since last week. I do, however, have a dentist appointment today (as already mentioned), and I’m mostly catching up with getting back in the swing of work.

We have complimentary press passes for a gig in Wakefield tonight and I have press releases to do for the pro-bono project that climaxes this coming weekend.

I also have a lovely new book in from lovely-already-boss (fresh off his holidays) to edit, and another to proofread for him.

What are you up to this week?

Twee Tales – rebrand now available on Amazon!

product_thumbnailI promised I’d let you know when Twee Tales was available outside of Lulu.

Amazon were once again first off the blocks within only a few days. It’s available here for £4.99 + delivery if you’re not a Prime customer or if you don’t spend £20.

Or you can get it from Lulu, here, for £3.99 + p&p.

If you Google your favourite book store, you may be able to see it or order it there.

Diary of a freelance writer: 4 May 2016

Yes, yes, yes – I skipped a week again. But we were on holiday over the May Day weekend, and it was our first wedding anniversary. So another post that’s also catching up.

Wednesday 20 April 2016
On Wednesday I wrote 351 words for a blog post and I did all the usual admin work, including surveys, daily competitions, etc, etc, etc. However, I also had an x-ray appointment at 1pm (long-term arthritis in back check-up), and I had an optician’s appointment at 3pm (my usual 2-yearly appointment). I finished the day with a brand new prescription for both reading and distance glasses.

Thursday 21 April 2016
There is nothing in my diary for Thursday 21 April beyond the usual admin work – surveys, competitions, gig list admin, diary work, job search, etc. The poet did have a band practice on the evening, though. But I think I stayed home for that one.

Friday 15 April 2016
On Friday the story is pretty much the same, I’m afraid. But I did have a hair appointment at 3:30pm.

That weekend, Monkey Dust had a gig in Upton on Saturday evening, and we spent Sunday in Birmingham for my parents’ 62nd wedding anniversary and my mom’s 82nd birthday.

Monday 25 April 2016
Monday was a house-hunting day and a day for gig list admin.

Tuesday 26 April 2016
On Tuesday, once the daily admin jobs were done, the rest of the day was spent at an appointment in Barnsley and in me researching, writing and sending press releases for the pro-bono project that happens this month. I wrote 241 words for this.

Wednesday 27 April 2016
Wednesday was another house-hunting day with several viewings booked in. I had a mare of a toothache, though, and managed to get an emergency dentist appointment for 2:50pm. He gave me some antibiotics and told me to come back again next Wednesday. The pain was so bad, we almost cancelled our weekend away. But we left it to Friday morning to make the final decision.

Thursday 28 April 2016
On Thursday, I did more gig list admin, went to the optician to collect my new glasses, and then prepared and packed for our weekend away.

On Thursday evening we went to see the Harlem Globetrotters in Sheffield. I won the tickets in a competition, and we had a great time.

Friday 29 April 2016
On Friday we made the decision to go on holiday and headed off to Bala in Wales for a 4-night camping trip. I was already starting to feel better and didn’t want to wake up Saturday morning wishing we’d gone the day before, and so waste the day travelling. Friday evening was FREEZING, though, and we even had SNOW!

The weather gradually grew warmer and on Sunday, 1 May, we celebrated our first wedding anniversary under canvas. The tablets had worked their magic, but I did have a gum-boil burst while I was in a shop ordering a sandwich … I really hoped I wasn’t dribbling!

Monday 2 May 2016
Bank holiday Monday was our last full day in Bala and the weather had certainly started to improve a lot.

Tuesday 3 May 2016
On Tuesday, we came home. We were promised fine weather for decamping, but the only 2 showers for the whole of that morning happened while we were un-pegging the tent! We’d had a lovely time, though, and certainly recharged our batteries.

As soon as we got home and unpacked the car, the poet chose and booked our next venture – Eskdale at Whitsun.

I made a decision to finish Catch the Rainbow by the end of September 2016. This is mostly because a crime-writing workshop I was attending at the end of May has been moved to the beginning of October and I’d like to be in a position to start something new for that at the same time. This means I have around 50,000 words to write in 5 months, as I already have about 25,000 words written. The objective will be to write one day, type it into Scrivener the next day as revision/part editing, then be warmed up sufficiently to carry on writing that same day, and so on.

My target word-count per month, then, is 10,000 words for Catch the Rainbow, and 5,000 words on short material.

Homework w/c 4 May 2016
Looking a lot like the last list … here is a not-even-slightly-updated to-do list for the coming week:

  • think/query/write/submit Nov/Oct/Sep/Aug
  • #2 short story – THE MYSTERY OF WOOLLEY DAM (draft 2)
  • #3 short story – SHAKING THE TREE (draft 3 – 1st typed draft)
  • continue editing BAGGINS BOTTOM BEST BITS BOOK 3
  • continue transferring to Scrivener CATCH THE RAINBOW

And I STILL still have to reinstall those word-count meters …

What have you been up to this week?