Diary of a non-fiction book: week 1 – day 1

The day didn’t get off to a great start. I’ve been fighting a cold and a “bit of a throat” for a couple of weeks and at the end of the week before last, I thought it had gone.

However, come Wednesday evening, I started to get another “bit of a throat”, and this time it came back far worse than before, and this time it’s spread into my jaw, so I have a massive toothache too (the tooth feels massive, that is, so I think there’s a swelling there).

We had a very busy weekend at the Tramlines festival in Sheffield, despite me being all doped up and a bit grumpy. We couldn’t see a band we wanted to see Saturday night because the poet didn’t want me out in the cold, damp evening. So we came home early. And we nearly didn’t make the third day either.

Before we went over there on Sunday, we nipped out to Paperchase to buy my notebooks for this project. I’ve bought two the same because if I fill one and go into two, the OCD needs them to be the same. But if it doesn’t spill over into two, then I have a nice new book to start for short projects again.

Monday morning, then, I had a lie-in to recover and recuperate. And that meant I lost quite a few hours, almost half the day.

I did my usual chores around the house and “farm” (we use the term “farm” very loosely on our little smallholding), and I wrote up the review for the festival. You can see it here on Baggins Bottom and here on the gig list. They both say exactly the same thing and they both have exactly the same photographs, so you really only need to look at one of them if you’re interested.

Writing up the review also meant having to play with the pictures. The poet didn’t take his “good” camera with him, but used his mobile phone instead. So they’re not to his usual standard. But they give the gist.

After that, and after lunch, I started to build my Scrivener binder for the new book. But because I’m not doing this every day, or even every week or month, I needed to refresh my memory:

  • how did I change the colour of the index cards?
  • how do I choose my own chapter headings?
  • how do I select my own font and formatting?

I got there in the end, though, and compiled what I have (about 200 words so far) into a Word document several times to make sure I have the formatting right. I think I’ve got it now.

By the time I sussed it, the poet was home and making tea (chicken, homemade oven chips and home-grown peas), so I had to wrap up for the day too.

This means that most of yesterday’s jobs were carried over to today:

  • arrange those dates when I can visit the archives
  • write draft 3 of a short story
  • write and schedule Tuesday’s diary post √
  • start a new client edit

Hopefully I’ll catch up today and get back on track, and if I do, the extra jobs include:

  • start research for chapter 1
  • edit a short story
  • write and schedule Wednesday’s diary post

Fingers crossed.

February round-up


Cribs Exhibition, Wakefield (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

January wasn’t a great start, and that continued into February. This is mostly because much of the time was spent editing other people’s work while the rest of the time was spent eating birthday cake.

The month began with a contribution to a friend’s article on writing plus the return of a lovely job to a lovely new client.

I did a quick catch-up with some book reviews and a couple of short stories. And then I sat down to rework my schedule around work in and time available to do it.

A new feature started on the lifestyle blog, life on the farm. And then I started a new editing job, which pretty much took out the rest of the month.

Preparation work became well underway for the new project, The Fool, which was mainly – and still is – character work and world-building.

Early on in the month I sold a second short story to a magazine I’d been targeting for more than 30 years – they’d already bought a first short story towards the end of last year.

On Valentine’s Day we were invited to a new exhibition in Wakefield via the gig list, and while there we had our Valentine’s meal.

On 18 February we’d also been invited to a concert in Bromsgrove and were assured there would be two tickets on the door for us. When we got there, there was only one ticket on the door and all other seats had sold out. So we came home again.

On 25 February, we were due to go to the Moonraking festival in Slaithwaite, but the weather forecast was really bad and we were both still recovering from lingering colds. So, as it was the poet’s birthday the next day, we went to see Gaslight instead at the Lyceum in Sheffield.

In between work on the editing job, I was able to keep on top of gig list admin and I did manage a few more short blog posts.

Towards the end of the month, I finally pulled my finger out and cracked on with some writing work. I completed draft 2 of one short story and draft 1 of another.  Plus I got some questions off to the author of the editing job I was in the middle of in between finishing the hard-copy edit and starting the electronic-copy edit.

March has started much better, and my work schedule is much clearer and much more achievable.

How was your February?

Diary of a Freelance Writer: 14 December 2016

The writing week has not been very productive. This is because it was mostly interrupted, either by chickens or by having a poorly poet at home. Thankfully, the chickens have settled in and the poet has gone back to work – I mean because he’s better, and not because he’s not under my feet! 🙂 I do actually enjoy having him home, even if he is poorly.

Today, however, the interruption is mostly the internet not working properly. Yesterday I had 2 powercuts and today the internet isn’t working. It does annoy me when things you pay for don’t work.

Wednesday 7 December 2016
On Wednesday I managed to write 1,223 words for a blog post and I finally settled down to some study work. For this I managed to write 180 words of notes. (They all count!) The rest of the day was taken up with chickens and the husband.

Thursday 8 December 2016
On Thursday, the only ticks in my diary are against gig list admin x 2 and chickens … I’m sure I did a lot of reading work, though. Perhaps I should start to log my reading work too.

Friday 9 December 2016
On Friday I wrote a blog post about the chickens and I backed up all of my critical data on the desktop computer. I managed some more study work, this time I read an entire module for the article writing course.

At the weekend we had a visit to Doncaster on Saturday, a Monkey Dust gig on Saturday night and a visit to Birmingham on Sunday. We got back just after dark on Sunday, the first time we weren’t there to put the chickens to bed while it was still light, and we thought we’d have a song and dance trying to find them all … but when we got home they’d all already put themselves to bed and were clucking quite contentedly. All we had to do was put their water in and lock the door.

Monday 12 December 2016
By Monday we were in more of a routine with the chickens, and they seem to need less attention the longer they are with us. The poet went back to work as well, so I was able to settle down to some work.

I wrote 620 words for a blog post, 500 words of the second draft of a short story, and 136 words for my article writing assignment. This was more like it. However …

Tuesday 13 December 2016
… on Tuesday I felt like Widow Twanky with all the household chores I had to do – including chickens! They took the entire morning – empty the dishwasher, fill the dishwasher, empty the tumble dryer, fold the washing, empty the washing machine, fill the tumble dryer, sort the dirty washing, fill the washing machine, empty all the bins in the house, take the recyclables out, feed the garden birds, feed the pets …

By the time I sat down at the computer to do some work, the power went off! I did some reading instead, and when the power came back on again I tried again … and it went off again! So the next time it came on I saved some work to memory stick and booted up the notepad. Then, at least, I was able to tweak a rejected short story and get it ready for going out again. When I got back onto the desktop computer, I printed off the story and a cover letter.

When the power went off for the second time, I re-jigged the diary for this week and completed it for next week. I’ve turned away a lot of editing work this month so I can concentrate on my own writing work, and I wanted to schedule in the various drafts of the short material.

I wrote the Canadian Christmas cards and decided to go for a run out to post them as the last guaranteed posting date was the following day. I also posted the tweaked short story, so that should arrive on Wednesday too. While I was out I went up to the farm to collect our milk and a bag of potatoes. Then I nipped to the new Fox Valley shopping centre in Stocksbridge to get the poet his Christmas card.

By the time I got back, I only had time to do more reading, and then put the chickens to bed.

This week’s homework is to continue to write up some of the drafts for my short material. This consists of short stories, fillers, reader’s true experiences (RTEs) and the odd article query. I also want to finish going through Diary of a Scaredy Cat so that can be up and for sale in the new year.

What are you up to this week?

Diary of a freelance writer: 2 November 2016

It’s been a MUCH better week for me work-wise. Perhaps finally I can get back into things and be more productive and more successful.

A much shorter diary this time! 🙂

Wednesday 26 October 2016
Wednesday was a good day. I wrote a whopping 1,811 words just for one blog (this one), and this will be going towards another collection in the future, which is why I count them.

I also pitched for 2 proofreading or editing jobs. And I started my tax return.

On the evening while Monkey Dust had band practice, I did our weekly shopping. This saves us so much time, freeing up days at the weekend to do more, erm, “research” trips.

Thursday 27 October 2016
Thursday is gig list admin day and this time I not only remembered to schedule a post, but I scheduled it a day early!

I did some Scrivener admin. I think I have the hang of this now and am setting up templates the way I like them so that they export to Word without too much work at the other end.

I finished the tax return, and I had an email from lovely-already-boss asking if I wanted any more work and to chase him if he forgets to send any. (Note to self: Chase lovely-already-boss! 😉 )

Friday 28 October 2016
Friday was a short day. I always finish earlier on a Friday now. But not before I’d raised an invoice (hurrah!) and done some more Scrivener admin. I pretty much decided what I was doing for NaNoWriMo this year (I’m being a rebel), so I wanted to get Scrivener *and* Catch the Rainbow ready for that.

We finished slightly earlier today than usual on a Friday as we were off to Birmingham again to collect the replacement glass unit for the cat-flap. Everyone will be pleased to know that it fit this time!

On the way to Birmingham we posted my tax return by special delivery, and on the way home we also dropped in to see both lots of parents.

On Saturday the poet transferred the actual cat-flap from the one double-glazed unit into the other one and then fitted it in the door. It was our friend’s birthday and Monkey Dust had a gig on the evening.

On Sunday we managed our first walk in a looooooonnnnnnggggg time. It was supposed to be only a mile or so, but was actually just over 3 miles. And, actually, we were quite pleased with ourselves.

Monday 31 October 2016
Monday morning was busy with various visitors coming to see me, so that disrupted work time a little. However, I still managed to write 416 words for a blog post.

During the afternoon the poet had a hospital check-up following his scare over the summer. And we’re delighted to know that there was nothing serious or sinister going on. It seems he had a chronic attack of sinusitis and the infection spread from his sinuses to his ear to his eye and to his brain. No lasting damage and all cleared up now, apart from the usual flare-up he tends to get. But we’re to keep an eye on it if he gets particularly blocked again.

It was Halloween, but living at the end of a track on an isolated farm meant we had NO trick-or-treaters. This is good because we both agree that it’s an overseas tradition that seems to have crept in over here, and as we’re both quite traditionally English, that was fine by us. Not that I’ve ever minded having a house full of sweets, but we would have ended up with ALL of them this time.

Tuesday 1 November 2016
Tuesday was the first day of NaNoWriMo 2016, and a very productive and surprising day for me.

The day started with new month admin, which I really need to start scheduling into the diary. I usually start two new threads each month for the Seriously Serious Scribes, but with NaNoWriMo this month, I had an extra thread to start and an extra announcement to pin to the top.

I also created the new month page on my tracker spreadsheet, and had to come up with two word-count targets, one for NaNo and one for other writing stuff. I’m being cautious on the “other” as NaNo might drain the creative well a little. So my daily target (every day) for NaNo is 1,667 words and my daily target (every working day) for “other” is 500. That’s a total target of 60,500 words for November …

… I’ll pause a moment while we all take that in …

Anyway, the eagle-eyed amongst us will have seen that I managed 1,689 words for NaNo (hurrah!), and I also managed 586 words for “other” (hurrah!).

My Outlook fell over on Tuesday too and wouldn’t load. So I spent some time investigating what had gone on there, and tried 3 recommended fixes … the third one worked. I needed to reset my navigation pane, apparently. But that was another unscheduled chore I finished.

I use Outlook for my to-do list and for reminders at the end of each hourly segment. It also reminds me to go and make a cup of tea every so often and also take a dinner break.

Homework w/c 2 November 2016
This week’s homework, then, is mostly NaNoWriMo and whatever other writing I have to do in between. I have one book to edit already in and another one due early next week. And, of course, I have to chase lovely-already-boss.

I don’t think there are any scheduled interruptions for the following week, but I never rule them out.

What are you up to this week?

Diary of a freelance writer: 28 September 2016

Okay, I seem to finally be back into a rhythm. Long may it last this time … It’s been a fair week with, erm, no unaccounted for faffing and most time-slots filled.

Wednesday 21 September 2016
On Wednesday, after, erm, faffing for much of the day swapping mobile phones, I did eventually write 539 words for a blog post and I cracked on with some editing for lovely-retainer-client.

At almost 2 years old, my phone had finally died and I had to dig out an old phone that still worked. I’ve gone from an android phone, which I love, to a windows phone, which I hate. Roll on 16 October when I can get a new android.

I’ve been with the same provider for many, many years (Three), but having looked at the phones they currently offer, I *am* considering changing. My android phone (the one that died but which I love) is a Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, and the closest Samsung seem to do to that now is the A3, which I’ve seen in Curry’s, complete with full accessory set, but at £2 more than my current contract and with EE.  So I have some thinking to do between now and 16 October.

Thursday 22 September 2016
On Thursday I was expecting both a boiler man and a Sky man. The boiler man arrived at 11:40am and left at 12:20pm; the Sky man was 2 men who came at 2:00pm and stayed until 4:00pm. Normally, this would completely cock-up my day, but on Thursday, for a change, I didn’t let it.

For my daily admin period (1 hour today), I did the diary for next week, re-did the diary for this week, and did 2 lots of gig list admin.

For my daily study period (2 hours), I revised Tutorial 6 of the BCJ course and wrote 251 words and I printed off Tutorial 7. I also picked up a book I’ve been reading on how to write short stories. I’m on Number 3, but only got as far as the writing exercise, which I’m still percolating at the back of my mind.

For my daily writing period (2 hours), I went through my “keepers and chuckers” for Jan 2017 – Apri 2017, for the freelance writing side of my work. I know I’m a bit late for Jan – Mar, but I wanted to see if there was something I could come up with quite quickly. I kept 4 for myself, but here are my “throwaways” (“chuckers”):

  • 6 Jan: Epiphany (evergreen)
  • 1 Feb: partridge shooting begins (evergreen)
  • 15 Mar: the ides of March (evergreen)
  • 28 Mar 1977: breakfast telly started (40 years ago)
  • 8 Apr 2017: Grand National (changeable date-specific evergreen)
  • 14 Apr: first cuckoo day (evergreen)
  • 24 Apr 2017: Hocktide (changeable date-specific evergreen)

Let me know if you use any of them and what happened to them. 🙂

My daily editing period (2 hours) was a continuation of yesterday’s edit.

Friday 23 September 2016
On Friday I wrote 409 words for a blog post, I revised BCJ Tutorial 7 and wrote a whopping 9 words (they all count!), and I printed off Tutorials 8 and 9. Fridays are short days for me now, but I did finish the hard-copy edit for lovely-retainer-client.

Our weekend was quite exciting.

On Saturday we drove down to Birmingham, dropped the dog off, continued on to Birmingham International Railway Station, and made it to London in time to see a matinee production of Wicked.

On the evening we went to a “meet the authors” event so I could finally meet my lovely-retainer-client who is usually based in Spain. I also met quite a few of the authors I’ve edited for them over the past few years. AND I had a chat with lovely-retainer-client who is interested to consider publishing any (ANY) of my books, and especially (ESPECIALLY!) *my* books. We had a chat about Catch the Rainbow and, well, I need to get it finished as he’s really very interested.

Sunday was the journey home, again via Birmingham to collect the dog and visit my parents.

Monday 26 September 2016
On Monday it was back to the real world and back to work. I wrote a 1,155-word review of Wicked  for the blog and then copied it over to the gig list reviews page … where I got stuck reformatting all sorts of vagaries that had crept in to the html coding. I did what I could for the latest reviews to tidy them up, but resorted to a quick fix for the rest of the page when I realised that time was, once again, running away with me.

I didn’t manage any study work today, as I ended up doing quite a lot of washing and other housework, as we’d been away for the weekend. I did, however, finish the electronic edit for lovely-retainer-client.

Tuesday 27 September 2016
Yesterday I revised Tutorial 8 of the BCJ course and wrote (another whopping) 13 words. Then I printed off the remaining 3 Tutorials, 10, 11 and 12 (I’d already printed T9).

In the afternoon I wrote 1,236 words for Catch the Rainbow, I started a new edit – this one for lovely-already-boss – and I chased an outstanding invoice (boo!).

Yesterday evening we did our weekly shopping.

Homework w/c 28 September 2016
My homework for the coming week will mostly be daily writing towards Catch the Rainbow. I intend to finish my revision work for the BCJ course and crack on with the next assignment that’s due. Any down or breather time from Catch the Rainbow will be short material, either work already started or the date-related ideas I came up with on Thursday. I have this edit to finish for lovely-already-boss and the next one to start for lovely-retainer-client.

What are you up to this week?

Note: This “diary” is now a year old. The intention was to complete it for 12 months and then decide whether or not to publish it as a memoir. I’ve actually found it very useful to keep track of what I’m doing, what I’ve been up to, what I should be doing, and where I’ve been faffing or time-wasting. If you are enjoying the diary, then do let me know. I think I’m going to continue with it as it’s so useful. But if there’s anything else you’d like to see then, again, do let me know. Ta. 🙂

Diary of a freelance writer: 14 September 2016

Wahey! I made it in on time again! 😀

I’ve not done much actual writing this past week, but I have done a lot of organising and arranging and getting back into the swing of things. And I’ve been busy the whole time, no malingering or skiving.

Wednesday 7 September 2016
On Wednesday I thought about rebooting my study work. I have so many courses I’ve not finished, and so many jobs – if I want them – seem to want a degree now, which I don’t have. I’ve paid out money for these courses, or had money spent on them for me, and I think I’d like to complete at least one of them, if not all of them.

So, on Wednesday I contacted the Open University to see what I need to do to complete my degree with them. I started a BA (Honours) in Art and Humanities, but that was back in 2000. I financed the first 70 points myself, and the company I worked for also financed a further 60 points. But as the degree I initially signed up for comes to an end next year. I needed to see if those existing 130 credits counted towards what it’s been replaced with. I set the ball in motion and awaited their replies.

I also continued with an edit for lovely-retainer-boss.

Thursday 8 September 2016
On Thursday I wrote last Wednesday’s blog post and pretended it was the day before. That netted me 603 words towards the monthly word-count target. I also did gig list admin and remembered to schedule the Monday morning post this time.

Friday 9 September 2016
On Friday I finished the current edit for lovely-retainer-boss and invoiced for that one and one I finished earlier in the week too. (Hurrah!)

At the weekend we did some running around with/for parents, and Saturday evening Monkey Dust had a particularly bostin gig in Doncaster. The poet also spent time emptying a couple of boxes and organising my office supplies in a cupboard.

Monday 12 September 2016
On Monday morning, I received the first confirmation from the OU that they were going to look at transferring my existing qualifications to the new version degree. I wrote a quick 278 words for the lifestyle blog and I rebooted 3 of my writing courses:

  • The British College of Journalism, Professional Freelance Journalism Course (BCJ)
  • Writers Bureau, Fiction Writing Course (WB)
  • 5 in 10: Create Five Short Stories in Ten Weeks by Devon Ellington (5 in 10)

I went to find an empty ring binder to keep the BCJ and 5 in 10 courses together, but although I found a nice shocking pink one, it soon became clear that this wouldn’t be big enough. I printed off the first BCJ tutorial for revision, wrote 430 words, revised “week 1” of 5 in 10, and I studied module 8 of the WB course. I printed off Tutorial 2 of the BCJ course for study tomorrow.

Monday was very much a “me” day with me not doing any editing work for anyone else.

Tuesday 13 September 2016
By yesterday I was “back in the saddle” for the freelance writing, catching up with date work and writing a massive 132 words of notes! I picked up Tales From Baggins Bottom Best Bits Book Two and started to edit it in preparation for its republication on CreateSpace. I’ve decided to use Lulu for hard-backed books, CreateSpace for paperbacks, and Kindle and Smashwords for ebooks. Hard-backed large-print will be with Lulu, paperback large-print will be with CreateSpace.

In the afternoon, I completed module 9 of the WB course and Tutorial 2 of the BCJ course, writing 75 words for the latter. I printed off Tutorial 3 of the BCJ course for study tomorrow.

I started a new edit for lovely-retainer-boss.

Yesterday evening, we went shopping, and I bought a shiny new lever-arch folder for the BCJ course, shocking pink again. I was going to buy some subject dividers too, but during his clear-out at the weekend, the poet had found some unused subject dividers. So I utilised those instead.

Homework w/c 14 September 2016
It’s a busy week ahead for me, then, with 3 writing courses to continue with and a book to finish preparing for republication.

What are you up to this week?

Diary of a freelance writer: 7 September 2016

I’m a day late again, but I’m going to pretend I’m writing this yesterday.

We’ve had another traumatic week, but hopefully we’ve turned the corner now.

Wednesday 31 August 2016
It was all going so well … I’d managed to write another 1,309-word blog post, which is quite good on recent standards, and I’d settled in to do some editing work for lovely-retainer-client when … BAM … the poet was admitted to hospital. He’d taken ill at work and come home early, then on the way home from work he took ill again … and again when he got home. So he was taken to Casualty and admitted to hospital for observation.

Thursday 1 September 2016
In between taking stuff to the hospital and visiting, the only work I managed on Thursday was essential gig list admin. I forgot to schedule the Monday morning post asking for gigs, but the gig list was posted and the poet was allowed home overnight, for one night only, so he could attend his dad’s funeral Friday morning.

Friday 2 September 2016
On Friday it was the funeral, so I didn’t do much work. And at teatime I had to get the poet back to hospital …

… where he remained for the entire weekend. On Sunday afternoon, his mom, daughter and granddaughter were able to visit him with me.

Monday 5 September 2016
I managed some work Monday morning. I did the Monday morning post I’d forgotten to schedule for the gig list and I completed a hard copy edit for lovely-retainer-boss at the hospital while we waited for the poet to be discharged. His tests had all come back negative, with just one or two little things they wanted to look at in more depth in the future, but nothing they were worried about. It took them FOUR hours to discharge him, and he didn’t even need to wait for any medication from the pharmacy.

Tuesday 6 September 2016
Almost back to normal, but with the poet at home until next Monday, I was able to get some more work done. Because I’d fallen quite far behind on the retainer editing, due to the massive, horrendous edit I delivered the previous week, I wanted to concentrate on catching up there. So I did the electronic edit of the one book I’d finished the night before, and I printed off the next one for a hard copy edit to start tomorrow.

In the afternoon we were able to go and buy some much-needed shopping.

Homework w/c 7 September 2016
So … I want to carry on this week catching up on any editing work for lovely-retainer-client, and I have another to start for lovely-already-boss. Then, next week, I want to allocate time to my writing again. And to my study.

I’m toying with continuing with my Open University studies at some point, but I can’t enrol before February. I’d like to apply for a grant/loan and it can take several weeks to be accepted, but also, I’m waiting for the OU to let me know if my existing credits with them can still go towards one of their new BAs, as the two I started both finish at the end of next year.

In the meantime, I’m going to finish my fiction writing course. I also got in touch with the British College of Journalism to see if I can complete my article-writing course with them too. The last time I contacted them was in 2011, but they have very gracefully agreed to let me do my last two assignments with them, but they would like me to complete the course, if I can, within six months.

What are you up to this week?

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.

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: 13 July 2016

This week’s post is a little late today, due to a bit of a shock email I received this morning. It took me most of the day to recover! But at least it’s still Wednesday, and it’s still been a very good week.

Wednesday 6 July 2016
Wednesday morning was spent, as usual, on the usual daily chores. I also wrote 824 words for a blog post.

In the afternoon I joined a writers’ critique forum. I’m missing impartial, constructive feedback on my work and have just about given up all hope of finding a real-time face-to-face writers’ group. So I asked around for an online forum, and this one was recommended to another friend of mine who was whingeing about how most writers’ forums are a bit cliquey and back-slappy. This one doesn’t look at all like that … yet.

I wrote 1,062 words for CATCH THE RAINBOW, and I did some basic joining admin for the critique forum as well as my first critique. I wrote 588 words for that. Each critique of around that length earns me one “credit”. I need three “credits” to upload one of my own stories for criticism, but they give you 2 to say welcome as well. So I’d already “earned” my first crit back, but I didn’t use it yet.

Thursday 7 July 2016
On Thursday morning, gig list admin and diary work were added to the morning chores, then the afternoon writing session started with 321 words for CATCH THE RAINBOW.

I tried to format MARDI GRAS on Scrivener, but it didn’t want to play today and I gave up in the end. Then I backed up both the latest Scrivener and Word files of CATCH THE RAINBOW to memory stick. I need to try and do this at the end of each session in future. That way I’ll always have it to work on if anything happens to the desktop or I lose the files on the desktop.

Friday 8 July 2016
On Friday morning I wrote 346 words for a blog post after all of the morning chores. In the afternoon I wrote 725 words for CATCH THE RAINBOW and I joined a history forum. Every time I Google something for CATCH THE RAINBOW, there’s a link to this forum. So I joined it and hope to use it more often.

A new word-counter made it onto the sidebar, so everyone can see how CATCH THE RAINBOW is doing this time.

At the weekend, we had a slightly more local gig for Monkey Dust, and we went out on Sunday (after a very late start due to quite a late night).

Monday 11 July 2016
The first thing I did Monday morning was a 30-minute yoga session. I’d like to build this in at least 3 times a week, but I need to build up slowly. I may fit in another tomorrow morning (Thursday), but so long as it’s there once a week for now, that will be fine.

The morning’s chores included a quick visit to the new critique forum, and I wrote 730 words for a blog post. The rest of the day consisted of housework – lots and lots and LOTS of washing.

Tuesday 12 July 2016
After the previous day’s mammoth laundry session, I didn’t do a speck of housework today. Instead I pitched for 4 editing jobs and wrote a 533-word crit for the forum in the morning.

In the afternoon, I formatted my first story to go up on the forum and I wrote 607 words for CATCH THE RAINBOW.

Homework w/c 13 July 2016
Once I get confirmation of this morning’s shocking, but very pleasant, news, I’ll know how my week will pan out. If nothing is confirmed just yet, then it will be more of the same.

I have a book I need to edit and format and get into production, and I have other books that need to be converted to ebook format. So aside from any writing, I’ll be very busy doing that.

I’m also in the middle of an editing job for a client and, of course, I’ll be interacting with the forum and seeing how many replies I get.

What are you up to this week?

Diary of a freelance writer: 2 March 2016

I can’t believe we’re in March already. What happened to the year so far?

It’s been an okay week, mostly catching up on stuff and making plans for the future. This week’s post brings back the original “throwaway” ideas for you to try if you’re interested.

Wednesday 24 February 2016
Last Wednesday was a bit of a washout, but I also did something quite important. Much of the day was spent sorting out the huge and numerous piles of paperwork dotted around the house. Now I just have 2 massive piles of filing, while the rest went in the bin.

I also carried out a bit of advance house hunting that also included some of the retirement plan.

Thursday 25 February 2016
On Thursday I cranked up the Pomodoro tomato and had a 25-minute filing burst. I also did gig list admin, for today and in advance for Monday, and I caught up on some study work. I also did the daily competitions and the daily surveys, as well as diary work, and I wrote 476 words for one project at least.

On the evening I dropped the poet off for band practice – but we had to use his car as the battery was flat on mine – and then I went off to do the weekly shopping.

Friday 26 February 2016
Friday was the poet’s birthday. I only managed the daily stuff, and on the evening I treated him to a meal and a gig in Holmfirth.

He had a great weekend as one of his sons and his girlfriend came to visit. We went to see Dad’s Army in Penistone on Saturday night and we went walking in Langsett on Sunday morning.

Monday 29 February 2016
Half of Monday was tied up with hospital visiting but, again, I managed all of the daily stuff before we went.

Tuesday 1 March 2016
On Tuesday I was very, very busy. I usually am on the first working day of the month. But this week I was catching up on freelance diary work I should have been doing for the past 4 months but haven’t. The day started with all the usual daily stuff as well as new month admin, and some credit control, which always annoys me.

Then I sat down and did the freelance diary. As it’s March, I should be thinking October, querying September, writing August and submitting July. But as I’m a bit behind, I was also thinking September, August and July and weeding out what doesn’t interest me or what I don’t have time to do or what is too far away for me to do. I’ll include the throwaways for July only (might do August next week, September the week after, and October the week after that …) in the homework section below.

I also synchronised my current Kindle reading on 3 Kindles – desktop, Fire and Paperwhite – so that I can work from exercises at my desk (on the desktop), read books comfortably in bed (on the Paperwhite), and use the Fire the rest of the time.

My target word-count for March is 23,000, and I have a few ideas for short stories and articles to sift through too.

Homework w/c 2 March 2016
I still have a book that needs editing, so that I can get it back to the client. And I still have 2 books from the same client that need proofreading. This is my priority after my own work.

I still have short stories to write and now I have articles to think about too. I also still have my own books to get on with, including 2 fiction and 1 non-fiction.

I have study work to catch up on some more, and I have pro-bono work to do this week ahead of next week’s meeting.

The blogs are falling a little behind amid all of this, but hopefully, when things settle again and I get back into the swing, these will be back up to par.

Here, then, are my throwaways for July:

  • 9 July is the annual Durham Miners’ Gala
  • 15 July is St Swithun’s Day
  • 28 July 1866 (150 years ago) Beatrix Potter was born
  • 31 July oyster season begins
  • TBA there’s a 12-hour lawn-mowing race somewhere in Sussex

What do these 5 things inspire you to write or find out? Do you want to write a short story or an article?

  • What happens at the Durham Miners Gala? How long has it been running? Do they pronounce it gar-la or gay-la? Because it’s an annual event, the gala could be an evergreen, so try to hang it onto this year’s date, or visit this year with a view to using pictures next year.
  • What would 40 days of rain mean? Who was St Swithun? St Swithun is an evergreen.
  • Beatrix Potter could be a look at the woman, her life, her books, her art, where she lived, a comparison with a living children’s author today. Ten top children’s authors?
  • Where do they celebrate the oyster season? Are there any feasts or events anywhere? Ten top tips for using oysters? Oyster season is an evergreen.
  • A 12-hour lawn-mowing race? Really? Could this be targeted towards a machinery magazine? This annual event could also be classed as an evergreen.

Evergreens are articles that can be filed and used any time whenever there’s a gap in editorial at that time of year. I prefer to hang articles on a specific date so that it becomes out of date if they don’t use it. But I don’t mind writing short stories up as evergreens.

So, what will you be up to this week?