Diary of a freelance writer: 31 August 2016

Sorry for going AWOL again, but I hope the reason for skipping the best part of a week soon becomes clear.

Wednesday 17 August 2016
A week ago last Wednesday was a good working day. I wrote 672 words for one blog, 419 words for another blog, and I finally sold a short story to People’s Friend after 31 years of trying! My story, THE COMPLETE ANGLER, will be in the 2018 PF annual.

In the afternoon I continued to edit a particularly gruelling book for the retainer job. And a new edit arrived from lovely-already-boss. I had a mess with Trello, so that’s now in the system.

The poet had band practice that evening and so I went and did the weekly shopping while we were over there.

On a downside, my father-in-law was taken in to hospital and kept in overnight for observation.

Thursday 18 August 2016
Thursday continued in much the same vein. I did some gig list admin in the morning before writing 731 words for a blog post, and I did some admin work too.

In the afternoon I continued with the gruelling edit.

Unable to find anything significantly wrong with my father-in-law at the hospital, he was sent home.

Friday 19 August 2016
Friday morning was another good working session. I wrote 550 words for a blog post, I wrote 1,060 words for CATCH THE RAINBOW, and I started to collate TWEE TALES TWEE (see sidebar for current word-count). I also managed some of the gruelling edit.

Friday afternoon was the dentist for both of us. We both have to go back next week for fillings.

Weekend
At the weekend, Monkey Dust had a good gig over in Doncaster on the Saturday and we were able to visit both sets of parents on the Sunday.

Monday 22 August 2016
Monday morning was yet another good working session. I wrote 405 words for a blog post and started a new collection, TRAVELS FROM BAGGINS BOTTOM (again, see sidebar for current word-count).

In the afternoon I continued with the gruelling edit, but my dental appointment was for 4:20pm. However, I was booked in for 2 fillings and a clean, but when he had a good look, he only decided to do one filling, and that was repairing a hole in a crown.

Tuesday 23 August 2016
Tuesday wasn’t a great day in the big scheme of things. I didn’t do any writing work of my own because I wanted to finish the gruelling edit and I spent all day on that.

Sadly, at around 9pm, my father-in-law passed away. I’d say suddenly, because the hospital and the doctors had failed to find anything wrong with him. But he hadn’t been very well at all over the previous few days. We didn’t put anything on Facebook because the poet doesn’t actually have an account on there and he didn’t feel comfortable with people he doesn’t really know making any comment, although he does appreciate that many may want to. We would, however, still appreciate it if it still doesn’t appear on Facebook. Thank you.

We went straight over to help sort out preliminaries and see the family, then we fetched my mother-in-law back with us so she had company for a few days.

Wednesday 24 August 2016
I spent last Wednesday finishing the gruelling edit as far as I could. There were 4 chapters missing and we were still awaiting those from the author despite several reminders that we didn’t have them.

We made some unpleasant but necessary phone calls. Then the poet’s kids and his granddaughter came over to spend some time with their (grand)dad and their (great-)grandmother, and we had a relatively lovely afternoon – especially under the circumstances.

Thursday 25 August 2016
On Thursday, we did some running around, made a few appointments, and went for some shopping. Late in the evening the poet was finally able to post the gig list.

Friday 26 August 2016
On Friday we had a few appointments before taking my mother-in-law home. She was ready for some time on her own, she had things that needed doing and there were friends and family who wanted to see her. We fetched a pile of paperwork back with us so we could go through it all and put it into some sort of order.

In the afternoon, it was the poet’s turn for a filling at the dentist. But again, once he had a good look, the dentist decided it wasn’t necessary and he did an alternative repair instead.

After the dentist, we both had hair appointments. The poet often sits outside while he waits for me to have my hair cut, or he’ll take the dog to the park. But he doesn’t have time to get his own hair cut. So having it cut at the same time as mine seemed the logical and most cost-effective thing to do.

Bank holiday weekend
We were busy at the weekend. It was a bank holiday so we had an extra day. The time was spent going through the paperwork, doing bits and bobs we don’t often have time to do, and on the Monday he made me some bookcases. We’ve been looking for ages for some bookcases that were in just the right colour, and when we couldn’t find any he decided to make some.

When we married, he inherited a lot of tools – either bought by me over the years or given to me by my dad. We jokingly call it my “dowry” – he was surprised to find a female who had her own full set of wood drill bits! He had lots of fun using the cordless drill/electric screwdriver that came with the dowry, along with a square and the aforementioned drill bits. And I have a lovely pair of bespoke bookcases! 🙂 Win-win!

Tuesday 30 August 2016
Yesterday was once again back to being very productive.

Because the poet had shared the gig list instead of me last week, I’d forgotten to schedule a post asking for the coming week’s gigs. So that was the first job on my list – I did it from bed at 7:20am! I also did some band admin for Monkey Dust, I made another phone call for the mother-in-law, and I did a little job for my dad.

I chased an invoice (it was paid this morning – hurrah!), I deleted a load of people from LinkedIn who I don’t actually know, and I did some admin work for my 2 main editing clients.

I closed down a couple of my survey accounts and claimed a payment from a 3rd. Now I have the regular retainer work coming in, I don’t have time to do the surveys.

I caught up on some diary work, and then it was book admin – adding the latest re-published book to my author page on Amazon, and I ordered/bought a few books. Now that I have a bookcase for fiction, I was able to complete my George R Martin collection, add another writing book to my writing collection, plus a load of freebies for the Kindle.

The outstanding 4 chapters arrived, but I flagged a further concern with those before printing off another book I can crack on with for the retainer client. However, by the end of the day, he’d resolved my query, so I’ll finish that one first now before starting the next. He also added me to one of his own Trello boards, so already that new system is working.

Homework w/c 31 August 2016
And so this coming week I need to crack on with stuff. I have the gruelling edit to complete and the new one to get done. Then I want to do the one that came in from lovely-already-boss.

I didn’t do any writing yesterday, so I want to ensure I at least catch up with that.

On Friday morning we have the funeral and on Sunday we’ll be taking my mother-in-law with us to visit my parents.

What are you up to this week?

Diary of a freelance writer: 17 August 2016

Well! There’s nothing like a holiday to make you come back to work refreshed and raring to go. It’s been a very busy week since my last diary post, and there have even been extra blog posts. I also crashed through the 20,000-word mark for CATCH THE RAINBOW (did you see the word meter in the side bar?)

Wednesday 10 August 2016
My day is now very clearly split between “my time” and “retainer time”, and during my time I created my new monthly tracker spreadsheet (it was a week late) and I wrote 1,166 words for a blog post.

In the afternoon I finished the editing work I’d started before we went on holiday.

Thursday 11 August 2016
On Thursday, in the morning I downloaded and applied a Scrivener update, I did some gig list admin, and I wrote 642 words for CATCH THE RAINBOW.

In the afternoon, I created a book schedule for lovely-retainer-boss, so we both know we both know what books I have, and I started to play with a sort-of online T-card system the poet had found for me, Trello.

Friday 12 August 2016
On Friday I wrote 2 blog posts, one of 594 words and the other of 296 words. I raised some invoices. (Hurrah!) And then I wrote 673 words for CATCH THE RAINBOW.

Weekend
Apart from a quick visit to see one lot of parents on Saturday, the weekend was spent chilling, dossing, gardening, baking, and basically doing diddley squat. We don’t often get a weekend off, and when we do, we’re still mega-busy.

Monday 15 August 2016
The new week dawned with another 2 blog posts, one of 433 words and the other of 368 words. I raised another invoice. (Hurrah!) And I wrote a massive 1,369 words for CATCH THE RAINBOW cold, i.e. without even an outline.

In the afternoon I tried to edit a book, but it had somehow become corrupted. We’re trying to sort this out as best as we can between us.

Tuesday 16 August 2016
On Tuesday, yesterday, I wrote 453 words for the blog and 323 words for CATCH THE RAINBOW – these words, despite having notes and an outline, didn’t come as easily as the 1,369 of the previous day … food for thought.

In the afternoon I started a work-around on the corrupted edit.

Homework w/c 17 August 2016
This coming week I want to crack on a lot more with CATCH THE RAINBOW. I also want to carry on with the corrupted edit as there are 4 more books to do after that one.

Beyond that, it’s more of the same really.

What are you up to this week?

Challenge: Write a novel in 7 days or 10 days

seven days ten daysdark

Recently, I discovered the books, the website and the writing methods of Dean Wesley Smith. He’s a very prolific writer who writes some of the Star Trek novels, Spider Man novels, Men in Black, X-Men, as well as his own novels, short stories and serials.

Further investigation reveals that the 7-day novel isn’t actually a full novel length, more a novella length of around 42,000 words. The 10-day novel chronicles the time he spent ghosting a novel. But hey, 42,000 words in 7 days is still an achievement.

How does he do it? He writes “into the dark”, or “by the seat of his pants”, or “without an outline”.

And, for the 7-day novel(la) at least, he starts on day 1 by writing 3,000 words, on day 2 he writes 4,000 words, on day 3 he writes 5,000 words, day 4 = 6,000 words, day 5 = 7,000 words, day 6 = 8,000 words and day 7 = 9,000 words. Total = 42,000 words. (I’m not giving anything away here, this information is still available publicly on his website.)

Aside from the number of novels and novellas he manages to complete each year,  he also produces enough material to release a monthly bundle consisting of a novel(la), serials and short stories in the guise of Smith’s Monthly.

Now then, this clearly works for Smith, but would it work for a serial planner like me?

Last year’s NaNoWriMo was written, for the first time ever, by the seat of my pants and, for the first time ever, I completed it. (NaNoWriMo, not the/a novel.)

I don’t think I could do it in 7 days, and I don’t think I could start with 3,000 words. But what if I did it for 10 days (i.e. 2 working weeks) and started with 1,000 words? That would give me 55,000 words, which is the length of a category romance – not that I write many category romances, but you get my drift. My NaNoWriMo was just over 50,000 words, so the right length for a YA or a long novella.

I need to do a bit more mental preparation (i.e. read the Writing in the Dark book – the other 2 I only have as samples at the moment), and I need to clear the deck a little. But I really, really fancy at least giving it a go. Do you?

So, watch this space …

Writer at Work- writing CATCH THE RAINBOW: characters

I’m currently typing CATCH THE RAINBOW onto Scrivener, the writing software I wish I’d discovered 30 years ago. I’m loving all of the gimmicks and gadgets that help to make the writing fun, interesting and motivating.

Yesterday I moved a few scenes around using index cards … and there they were already moved in the text part of the story too. All I had to do was change the scene numbers. I can move different scenes into different chapters at the sweep of a mouse. It’s blummin bostin!

Today, I’ve added a new character picture, using a photograph of Duane “Dog” Chapman (aka the bounty hunter). I can attach this picture to both the character index card and any chapters I’m writing where I need his image in front of me. And the index card has been duplicated, because the same character appears in a Marcie Craig story, THE BEAST WITHIN, more than 20 years later.

This character’s real name is Frankie, and the Duane Chapman image is attached to the 1974 story, CATCH THE RAINBOW. But in THE BEAST WITHIN, he looks more like Cat Weasel, and he’s now known as “Popeye”.

Here, then, for my indulgence, are some of the characters who appear in CATCH THE RAINBOW. Lenny is the main character, Jack is her best friend, Nicky and Shaun are twins, and Frankie you’ve already “met”. For fun, I’ve also included “Popeye”:

Lenny

Elaine “Lenny” Moxon (surname may change)

Shaun 1

Shaun O’Flaherty

Nicky

Nicky O’Flaherty

jack2

Jacqueline “Jack” Hardy

Popeye

Frankie

Popeye

“Popeye” (imagine him with an eye missing …)

Thank you for reading. 🙂

Diary of a freelance writer: 10 August 2016

So it’s been 3 weeks since my last diary post! What on earth have I been up to in all that time?

For a start, I’ve been publishing on Kindle and planning the book-writing/publishing schedule. Then I got offered a full-time job. And then we went on holiday.

The Kindle books you know about, as I was able to sneak in an extra post here.

The job … went into negotiation, as I really do like to be self-employed and do my own thing when I want to. But it was an offer I had to consider very carefully and, well, we agreed on a compromise, and one that will be quite flexible and revisited once we get into a regular flow.

One of my lovely editing clients has taken me on via a monthly retainer. They’re not getting all of my hours, but they’re getting more than half of them – around 20 hours per week. But I get the retainer whether I do more hours or fewer. We still have to iron out the details, but, well, I already have 5 books in from them, so it looks as thought they’re serious.

This means that I no longer have to trawl for another editing job, which is very good news and frees me up to do more of my own work. And I know I’ve said and done this before, but sometimes, when the work is quiet, I do still go and have a look to see what’s on offer. But I’ll still do any other work that comes in from other existing or previous clients as well.

It also means that I should get more of my own work done as it removes any financial pressure.

I’m delighted, and hope that it works.

The holiday will be detailed over on the lifestyle blog.

Wednesday 20 July 2016
On the first Wednesday of this very long period, I wrote 870 words for a blog post. I completed Module 7 of my fiction writing course. I updated and marketed the Facebook pages. And I applied part of my next study assignment to Scrivener.

Thursday 21 July 2016
The following day I started to update this Words Worth Writing blog, which included a new page, Current Projects. On this page you can see all of the books I’m currently working on in one form or another. The covers are all “working graphics”, unless they already exist. These working graphics don’t necessarily reflect how they will look when they are done, but they provide a nice visual prompt/motivation for me to get on with them.

I updated the Buy My Books and the Buy P&S Books pages.

I also continued to edit a book for lovely-already-boss.

Friday 22 July 2016
Friday was the day I published TWEE TALES on Kindle and NIGHT CRAWLER: A MARCIE CRAIG MYSTERY on CreateSpace. This took up much of the day, but I also managed more editing on the book for lovely-already-boss.

Weekend
That weekend, Monkey Dust played a charity festival over in Castleford on the Saturday, and we split the Sunday between parents in Doncaster and Birmingham.

Monday 25 July 2016
This Monday was the first attempt for me at doing “my work” in the morning, and editing work in the afternoon. I’d moved all of my daily competitions and daily surveys to either never or just once a week, and a lot of the other daily chores went too.

Quite successfully, I managed to publish NIGHT CRAWLER: A MARCIE CRAIG MYSTERY on Kindle, and I wrote the blog about it – in the morning.

And in the afternoon I moved into editing, but was still finishing the job for lovely-already boss.

Tuesday 26 July 2016
Because I’d spent quite a lot of time on my own work just recently, I felt able to give over the whole of this Tuesday morning to finishing the job for lovely-already-boss. I sent the book back to the author, but didn’t get around to raising the invoice yet …

The afternoon section was starting a new edit for lovely-retainer-boss, and his first ever rush-job. He even asked me to delay starting a book I’d already received and to crack on with this one. I’d warned him we were off on our holidays at the end of this week, but I’d do what I could before then.

Wednesday 27 July 2016 – Saturday 30 July 2016
And this was when I seem to have disappeared off the face of the earth …

For the next 3½ days I worked solidly on the rush-job. I managed a full hard-copy edit before we went off on holiday for a week, and also 265 pages of the electronic edit, of 336 pages. Aside from spending half a day arguing with Barnsley Council, who had failed to come for a single recycled bin of ours since 20 May, all of my time was spent trying to get this job done. And because of that, and because I had warned him that we were going away, I didn’t feel guilty about only sending him what I’d done so far. But I did feel guilty about leaving most of the holiday packing and shopping to the poor poet – although I did break off to help a couple of times.

And then we went on holiday.

Saturday 30 July 2016 – Saturday 6 August 2016
The dog came with us but the cats stayed behind with my sister and my dad, who had come up to see the house and to look after the animals while we were away. We went camping in Dorset and came home on the following Saturday morning, arriving back by teatime.

Sunday 7 August 2016 – Tuesday 9 August 2016
We had intended on having 2 weeks holiday but instead, for reasons that may become clear when you read this week’s “homework”, we just had until yesterday, and the poet went back to work today.

Homework w/c 10 August 2016
Today, then, I start as I mean to go on, doing my work in the mornings and lovely-retainer-boss’s work in the afternoons. If I don’t have any work outstanding from him, I’ll carry on with my own work. Other editing jobs will come under my own work from now on.

I have to create my tracker spreadsheet for August and I have to write the diary for the next 7 days. Once this is done, I’ll have more of an idea of my own workload.

My brother and his family are coming over for a 3-week visit from Canada, though, and the diary may be subject to change – as were our holidays. He’s spending some time with our parents in Birmingham, some time in Ireland with family, and some time in Wales. If they get chance, they’ll be coming to see us in the new house, which is why we decided to save a few of our holiday days until then.

From this afternoon, however, I carry on with work on the retainer, finishing the book I started before we went away. I’ll also let him have a schedule of work, as I already have 4 more books from him waiting for my attention.

What are you up to this week?