Diary of a freelance writer: 29 June 2016 (*** list alert ***)

It’s Wednesday again, and I made it in on time again. Things are looking up.

We finished the final stage of moving house at the weekend, so that gives us much more time at home, and me more hours in which to work. We do have boxes and bags to sort and unpack, though. But at least we don’t have that extra travel time in between houses. I’m really hoping to knuckle down and get some serious work done.

Wednesday 22 June 2016
Last Wednesday the plumber was due at 8:30am. He made it at just after 9:30am. He was coming to drain down the heating system and give it a good flush through. By midday his work was done and we had hot water and central heating at the same time.

While he was here, I still cracked on with work and left him to it. I added a new daily chore to the daily chores, I wrote 1,067 words for a blog post, I did some more photo admin on Facebook, and I did some sugar-free diet research. We were supposed to be at a meeting on the evening for the pro-bono project, but we were just too busy and too tired, and had to send our apologies.

Now we had hot water, I enjoyed a much-anticipated bath – I’m not really a shower person, but at least we have one for backup.

Thursday 23 June 2016
First job Thursday morning, after the daily and household chores, was gig list admin. There was an item in my diary entitled “blog post”, but today was Thursday and the next blog post was due on Friday. So I rubbed it out … then I remembered I had Friday off, so had to pencil it in again. I wrote 687 words, and was then able to tick it off. Ticks are very therapeutic and truly aid motivation.

I did my weekly diary chore and then did some writing research. I was looking for markets and guidelines for novellas and I found 2 UK-based ones. And then I had a lightbulb moment for the family saga story idea.

Friday 24 June 2016
My car was due for its MOT on Friday (it passed, eventually) and we also had to collect a self-drive van for the last of the house-move. The day was spent moving stuff and collecting my car.

Weekend
We still had the van for the morning, so finished using that. Then we cleaned the old house from top to bottom and the poet filled a load of holes in walls. We did some shopping and spent what time was left (not a lot) looking at boxes.

On Sunday we were in Alrewas for the National Service Memorial Day at the National Memorial Arboretum.

Monday 27 June 2016
We had Monday off too as part of the big move weekend, and were finally able to settle into our new house and know that we didn’t have to go back to the old one again.

Tuesday 28 June 2016
Tuesday it was back to work for both of us. It took a little longer to do the daily chores and jobs – it always does on the first day back at work – but I still managed 590 words for a blog post.

In the afternoon I was supposed to do some writing work and some editing work, but a migraine settled in instead and I went to lie down in a dark room for the rest of the day, and some of the evening.

Homework w/c 22 June 2016
I’m getting a little better at keeping on top of work, but the to-do list is still a lot like the one I did for last week, although it is also shorter again:

  • start new edit for lovely-already-boss
  • start new edit for lovely-more-recent-boss
  • write #1 of brand new story A DAY TO REMEMBER
  • continue uploading CATCH THE RAINBOW to Scrivener
  • write #2 of short story THE MONEY IN THE SHED
  • Module 7 fiction writing course
  • Module 8 fiction writing course
  • Module 9 fiction writing course
  • continue tidying photographs
  • continue playing with new novel idea

What are you up to this week?

Diary of a freelance writer: 22 June 2016 (*** list alert ***)

Well, well, well. It’s Wednesday and I’m updating the diary on time. Looks like I’m catching up.

We’ve still been living in 2 houses, sort of, finally moving the big stuff over to the new house on Saturday. We still have odds and sods to pick up, and we’re hiring a van on Friday to do that, then we’re cleaning the old house on Saturday, and filling holes and things like that. The poet has already cut the grass over there. Hopefully it won’t need doing again before Monday, when we hand the keys over.

Wednesday 15 June 2016
Wednesday, then, was a very good day. I managed to do everything at the right time and I wrote 837 words for a blog post and 2,558 words for a short story. That story has now been edited and sent off. (Please keep everything crossed.)

Thursday 16 June 2016
Thursday started well, with all of the admin being done in time again. And I wrote 633 words of a blog post.

In the afternoon, however, when I went to print off the next editing job, the printer wasn’t connected. The computer could see it, but it just wasn’t communicating. That took the entire afternoon before it was fixed again.

The night was spent at the new house as our new dishwasher was due for delivery “between 7am and 6pm” on Friday, so I had to be up early.

Friday 17 June 2016
On Friday I printed off the new editing job, wrote 855 words for a blog post, and did some photo admin. I’ve been using Facebook as a backup for photographs since 2005, and now they’re threatening to remove that facility for some.

I don’t like having so many pictures on Facebook anyway, so it was a good opportunity for me to start tidying things up over there. We have a portable hard drive now, so I started by downloading some of the older albums to that before deleting them from Facebook. Then I started a gradual regime of filing photographs on Facebook in group directories. I’ll do a bit more of this each day, as and when I have a few moments to spare.

The dishwasher arrived late morning, and when the poet came home from work, he fitted it straight away. (He’s very versatile.)

Weekend
On Saturday the van came at 8am (it was booked for 8:30am), and all of the big stuff was moved over in just one journey. By 10am they were gone and we had our “stuff” around us again. And, of course, the cats finally came over too. Much of Saturday was then spent sorting everything out, and going for another couple of car loads as well as a good, weekly shop.

Sunday was Father’s Day, so we went to Doncaster to see the poet’s dad and one of his lads made it to see him too. Then it was off to Birmingham to see my dad. When we got home, we had a lamb dinner, having used the slow cooker for the first time in the new house.

Monday 20 June 2016
On Monday I did more photo admin, I wrote 695 words for a blog post, and I rebooted my fiction writing course, studying the new Module 5. They revised the course after I started, and because I’d raised some issues about the quality and content of the course, they asked if I’d like to resume with the new version instead. So, of course, I said yes.

The new course arrived in October or November of last year, and I’d already acquainted myself with the first 4 modules. But this is the first I’ve managed in a long while.

Tuesday 21 June 2016
Yesterday, I continued with my study, reading up on Module 6. I did a little more photo admin, then I outlined a new short story (inspired by part of the next assignment I have to do for the course), and I did some short story admin.

I updated the worksheet I use to keep on top of drafts, moving material I want to work on first up, and shifting older ideas to a different spot, so I don’t forget about them. Although, if I do forget about them, perhaps they didn’t really want writing in the first place.

Here’s how the spreadsheet currently looks:

worksheet

KEY
O = Outline
#1 = draft 1
#2 = draft 2
#3 = draft 3
E = Edit
SS = Short Story
F = Filler
RTE = Reader’s True Experience

(I can’t even remember what THE FORTUNE TELLER is all about, but it will need editing if it’s to stay up there!)

I also discovered some “story starters” over on the website of a magazine I really want to crack – she currently has one of mine sitting in her drawer that I slightly re-wrote at her request, I’m hoping if I can send her another it will remind her of the one in her drawer! – and I’ll be mulling over some of those and hopefully adding them to the list.

Then I sat down and started a new binder on Scrivener for a new novel … the poet reminded me when he got home that I have yet to complete a version of CATCH THE RAINBOW on Scrivener, but I’m hoping to run the two consecutively. Plus, I need to be practising with Scrivener so I don’t have to keep on Googling how to do things I’ve done several times already. I need to be “doing” so I remember how to do it.

For the new project, I also started to create a family tree, as it’s going to be a family saga. Someone recently told me that family sagas are very popular with publishers, and as I generally strive to “write for the market” … well, I have to give it a go.

Homework w/c 22 June 2016
So, the to-do list is a little shorter than last week’s, but the first 5 are also carried over from last week’s, so not as great as that first seems:

  • start new edit for lovely-already-boss
  • start new edit for lovely-more-recent-boss
  • write #1 of brand new story A DAY TO REMEMBER
  • continue uploading CATCH THE RAINBOW to Scrivener
  • write #2 of short story THE MONEY IN THE SHED
  • plumber coming Wednesday to clean out hot water system 
  • Module 7 fiction writing course
  • Module 8 fiction writing course
  • Module 9 fiction writing course
  • continue tidying photographs
  • move last of stuff over from old house, close up and hand keys over
  • Armed Services Day at Alrewas
  • continue playing with new novel idea

What are you up to this week?

Diary of a freelance writer: 15 June 2016 (*** list alert ***)

Hurrah! I made it – only a day late for this week’s diary! 😀

Wednesday 8 June 2016
I think today was the day we’d stayed over at the new house for the first time (Tuesday night) because a plumber was coming at 8:30am to fix a radiator and remove a radiator. So I was up and waiting and taking pictures of horses wandering up my drive when the farmer came to say I’d missed him. The plumber, not the farmer. Well, how could that have happened? We called him back and he said he’d be there around 12 now.

He arrived at about 4pm … and said he was knocking at the door at 8:10am. Well, what a surprise. I was up, but in the shower at 8:10pm.

So much of today was waiting again, having the heating fixed, and finding out what the problem is with the hot water. (It needs flushing out and could take a whole day.)

I did my usual daily and admin work, and continued to hard-copy edit the big historical.

Thursday 9 June 2016
I didn’t have to wait in for anyone or anything today, so was actually able to get on with some work. But that was mostly finishing the hard-copy edit of the big historical … and being asked by the client if I was almost ready for the next one! Wunderbar!

Friday 10 June 2016
Friday was also a full working day with no interruptions, other than the poet finishing work early and us going to buy yet more things for the new house. He wasn’t skiving, he’ll always finish early on a Friday … which probably means that I will too, once we get settled. I started on the electronic edit for the big historical.

Weekend
Saturday was once again waiting for people to turn up, this time the Sky engineer for the television. But they’d called yesterday and given us a more narrow time-slot (from 1pm – 6pm to 1pm – 3pm), and they turned up at 1:20pm. This was the day that we found out that our old Sky HD+ box would no longer work, despite the Sky salesman assuring us that it would.

Monkey Dust had a private party to play for on Saturday evening, in Doncaster. And Sunday was doing more stuff at the new house and finally being able to have some chill time.

Monday 13 June 2016
On Monday I started to write again. (Hurrah!) Nothing great, just a blog post. But every little helps and that old writing muscle doesn’t get fit by doing nothing all the time. I managed 953 words for that, and it included a couple of rants. I did all of my admin and daily stuff, streamlining some of it so that 2 fit into 1 hour and 1 only takes 1 hour, and more of the electronic editing.

Tuesday 14 June 2016
On Tuesday, I finished the electronic edit and got that submitted. (Hurrah! Again!) And I wrote another 354 words for a blog.

Homework w/c 15 June 2016
So, now I’m back in the swing of things, the plan for the coming week is as follows:

  • write 1 more catch-up blog for the diary 
  • edit SHAKING THE TREE and submit 
  • share the gig list with FB followers 
  • schedule a new gig list post for Monday morning 
  • start new edit for lovely-already-boss
  • start new edit for lovely-more-recent-boss
  • write #1 of brand new story A DAY TO REMEMBER
  • write a new blog post on Friday for Tales From Baggins Bottom
  • await dishwasher delivery on Friday
  • continue uploading CATCH THE RAINBOW to Scrivener
  • move big stuff to new house on Saturday
  • Father’s Day visits on Sunday
  • write a new blog post on Monday for Tales From Baggins Bottom
  • write #2 of short story THE MONEY IN THE SHED
  • look at catching up on fiction writing course

(Those square root signs, btw, are ticks.)

What are you up to this week?

Diary of a freelance writer: 8 June 2016

Still catching up for the missing weeks of the diary …

Wednesday 1 June 2016
Today was the day I was going to leave my work at a place I could leave it. I’d told Sky I needed the internet that day, and they assured me it wouldn’t be switched off until that evening. So I lined up all of my jobs … and yes, you’ve guessed it. They’d already switched me off. This was so annoying, when I’d especially asked them not to.

Fortunately, I was able to print out a new client job that had already been sent over and saved (yes, I get into the habit of doing that immediately now, and let the client know I’ve grabbed it safely). But, apart from that, there wasn’t a lot else I could do.

So I packed. And Wednesday evening we took the “office” over to the new house.

Thursday 2 June 2016
We’d asked Sky for a 1pm – 6pm visit to install broadband and the telephone, but when I checked on the mobile phone the previous night, they had us booked in for 8am – 6pm. This meant I had to get up super early to make sure I was at the new place when the engineer called. I unpacked a few things, did some editing work, and waited.

The phone was already switched on, so that was something. So I called Sky up and they said the engineer was definitely down for visiting between 1pm and 6pm. So I pootled and faffed a bit more. By 4pm there was no sign, so I called Sky again, and when he checked – Ta-da! Apparently the engineer had visited and everything was up and working …

… and people wonder why I often think I’m going mad.

I hadn’t seen a soul. All Day. And my internet most definitely wasn’t working, although the mobile phone could see it and it was a very strong signal.

So after about 20 minutes of trying switching things off and on again and the person at the other end calling me back so he could test the line, he finally suggested I try connecting the new modem, which Sky had sent and told me to hand over to the television engineer when he comes on 11 June. The lovely chap noticed that we’d been switched to fibre optic and perhaps our old modem wouldn’t work with that.

He talked me through it, and I switched it on and … Ta-da! Lo, we had internet!

The engineer had clearly got as far as the little exchange box at the top of the main street and not thought it necessary to actually come and see me.

And by the end of the day, i.e. when it was too late for me to do anything of any significance, my office was indeed up and running at the new house – and that meant I had to get up and “drive to work” every day from now onwards.

The only job I had time to do before going home to have tea with the poet so he could go to band practice was a very meagre gig list.

Friday 3 June 2016
I had appointments all day on Friday but was able to nip to the new house and do a little admin for the gig list before the first one, which was in Sheffield. Then I went to Meadowhall to indulge in a spot of retail therapy – after the week I’d had, I felt I deserved it. And from there I went straight to a hair appointment in Barnsley. And then I did some shopping and met the poet at the new house, where we spent much of the evening sorting things out.

Weekend
Saturday day was spent out and about, shopping for supplies, fetching things from one house and taking them to the other. And on the evening the poet had a gig. Sunday was spent visiting the parents in both Doncaster and Birmingham.

Monday 6 June 2016
Monday was my first proper day “driving to work” and spending the day with the dog at the new house. I had the big editing job to clear by the end of the week, so much of the time was spent doing that – and it was a biggie at almost 100,000 words. I also got back into the swing of the daily admin jobs, but started to streamline the things like “daily competitions” and “daily surveys”. I only really have 2 hours a day to spare for both of these things, and while one does win us prizes and the other does earn money, it’s not my primary reason for working from home.

Tuesday 7 June 2016
Tuesday was more of the same, and again I didn’t manage any writing. But the Kindles are all synchronised with “work” books to read, so I did manage a lot of that.

Homework w/c 8 June 2016
Again, I’m not going to include any homework for this particular post as it’s also already gone and I still know what I didn’t do.

This week’s should be up tomorrow … she said, hopefully. 🙂

Diary of a freelance writer: 1 June 2016

So … it really has been very busy again, to the extent that I’m really behind on blog posts. So I’m going to do one I should have done at the start of the month today, and try and catch up with the others tomorrow and Thursday. There’s not a lot to say this time as we had a holiday and I didn’t do any writing. Shame on me!

Wednesday 25 May 2016
Yes, 25 May really was my last “diary”. It was a good and productive day, however. I wrote 848 words for a blog and I wrote 1,913 words of a short story, 3rd draft. That one’s now sitting in the pile waiting to be proofread and edited.

I also printed off a new client job, but I haven’t started that yet.

Thursday 26 May 2016
On Thursday it was mostly prep work for our camping holiday. I managed admin and some gig list work, but that’s about it.

Friday 27 – Monday 30 May 2016
Our Whitsun/late spring bank holiday was spent in beautiful Eskdale, in the western lake district. The weather was much kinder to us than on our previous 2 jaunts, and we hardly did any driving. Our campsite was within walking distance of the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway at Dalegarth, for Boot, so one day was spent riding on that, another day was spent walking locally, and another day was spent in Whitehaven, where my mom was evacuated during the Second World War.

We came home a day early again, but not because there was anything wrong. We’d already got the keys to the new house and with the poet still in a new job, we needed to maximise the holiday he already had booked, and we spent a day doing new house stuff.

When I’ve caught up a bit more, the pictures will be up on Facebook and on Tales From Baggins Bottom.

Tuesday 31 May 2016
On Tuesday, amongst other things, we built a shed between us.

Homework w/c 1 June 2016
I’m not going to include any homework for this particular post as, well, it’s already gone and I already know what I didn’t do.

I’ll try and do the next one tomorrow.