Diary of a freelance writer: 26 October 2016

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Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month.

Okay, it’s not been as long as I thought … okay, it’s been three weeks, but at least the last diary was in October and we’re still in October, so that’s not too bad at all. Is it?

Oh, but it’s been very, very busy, and not a lot of writing work to report. It’s mostly been editing work. I had that much work in that I needed to get my head down and blitz a load.

Thankfully, the pressure is off again now. It was too much work for too little pay that they couldn’t really afford anyway, and my own work was suffering. Very badly.

Now, however, I have a little money in the bank, a lot of money owed, and enough work to keep me happy while still doing my own work.

AND … the big news is – I CAN NOW DO NANOWRIMO! (Hurrah!)

So, what have I been doing?

Wednesday 5 October 2016
(See, I told you it was still in October!)

On the first Wednesday, three weeks ago, I apparently wrote quite a large blog – 1,117 words-worth. I also apparently did some writing work for the following new books:

  • Diary of a Freelance Writer
  • Diary of a Freelance Writer book 2
  • Diary of a Scaredy Cat: a year in the life of a frightened writer

Erm, do you see a theme here?

The first one of those likely to be ready is, in fact, the 3rd one. This one follows my first full year, 2014 – 2015, trying to get back into the swing of being a full-time freelance writer again. I was very scared, afraid to lose the safety net of regular editing work, and almost totally lacking in confidence again. But with the full support of the poet I did it, and this book follows those first months.

The next book to be ready will be the first one on the list, and this is where I got a bit more professional. This one is September 2015 – August 2016. The final one (at the moment) follows on from that one.

These three books will form volumes in my new writers’ guides series. I decided to cash in on all those years freelancing and teaching creative writing, from the 1980s to the present day, and put them all in a book. But one book would have been far too fat, so they’re being split down into smaller chunks with, maybe, omnibuses available in the future.

Also on that first Wednesday, it seems I wrote 799 words for Catch the Rainbow. And in the afternoon I have “editing work”, but it doesn’t say who for …

Thursday 6 October 2016
On the Thursday I added 1,082 words to Diary of a Scaredy Cat. The book is collated from the old diary over on Baggins Bottom. But it will be tidied up and it includes exercises that go with whatever I was doing that particular week, so the reader can join in too.

I also hand-wrote 767 words for Catch the Rainbow, and I edited 77 pages of a book for lovely-already-boss. (He’s not going anywhere!)

Friday 7 October 2016
Friday, I think, was the last of normality for a while. I added 971 words to Diary of a Scaredy Cat, I typed 949 words for Catch the Rainbow, and I hand-wrote a further 483 words for Catch the Rainbow too. Incidentally, only the typed words get added to the overall word-count, which you can follow on the word meter in the side bar. You can also follow the progress of my other full-length projects on here too.

What I’ve decided to do with Catch the Rainbow is get everything that’s handwritten onto Scrivener. Then, I want to spend one day writing new material by hand, and the following day typing that up, and follow that (on the same following day) with the next hand-written session. I thought I was at that stage, but when I checked one of my other notebooks, there were loads and loads of new scenes.

Transferring the work to computer on a daily basis reminds me of where I am in the book (and hopefully where I was going), plus it gives me a second immediate edit, although this edit invariably adds words.

On the Friday afternoon, I finished the edit for lovely-already-boss … and so ended life as I knew it for a week or so …

Weekend
All I have in the diary for that weekend is a Monkey Dust gig on the Saturday and a trip to Birmingham, via Doncaster, on the Sunday. I think that was the day we took my mother-in-law to meet my mom for the first time.

Monday 10 – Friday 14 October 2016
I’m not going to bore everyone with a repeat of the same thing every day for this week. Instead I’ll just mention it here.

The mornings were still admin and housework for a couple of hours. Then all of my “writing work” and “study work” sessions have crosses next to them. I started to edit a particularly large job for the retainer client, but as the retainer hadn’t yet been set-up, this would be invoiced as usual – just like all the others to date.

On the Wednesday we had band practice and I did the shopping, and on Thursday morning I added gig list admin to the list of chores.

Weekend
Apart from a gig on Saturday night, we had the weekend off. (Hurrah!) Although we don’t class it as a weekend off as we’re still tied to a gig.

However, while I worked OVERTIME on the big edit, the poet made a new step for the deck outside the conservatory. The new unit in the conservatory door with a cat-flap in was due on Tuesday, but we needed the step so the cats can reach it from the outside.

He also made bread that day, and on the Sunday he made pasta for the first time with the new toy I’d treated him to (a pasta machine!). And it was very nice, just like proper pasta and everything!

Monday 17 October 2016
On the Monday we had a day off from work and went to Birmingham to collect the new unit with the cat-flap in. We had to go down a day early but it was already ready so that was fine.

We also popped in to see my parents as my dad wasn’t very well (the doctor gave him a flu jab the previous week and now he had … flu!) and it was his birthday the following day. It was great to see me ol’ muckas at Shard End Glass and as if no time had passed at all.

Tuesday 18 October 2016
Tuesday  was also a day off from work. We’d originally planned to be in Birmingham, but now the poet was able to concentrate on fitting the new unit … only it didn’t fit. My measurements were questioned at the time of ordering and changed by … him. But, actually, my measurements were correct … so I made him ring them up and place the new order. We’re picking that one up this Friday …

On Monday night I broke a tooth and a filling came out. At 3pm on Tuesday we went to the dentist to get it fixed.

Wednesday 19 October 2016
On Wednesday I intended to get back into the swing of things, I really did … but then the internet fell over on my computer. I spent the day trying to find out what was wrong, and it turned out to be an automatic update from Windows 10 that didn’t recognise my WiFi. To say I was furious is an understatement.

The day was therefore spent backing up all of my critical data and making notes of all the software I’ve downloaded. Then I had to reinstall my computer with factory settings, which took me back to Windows 8 (which I’m keeping, by the way). And then I had to load all of my new drivers and new software again, requesting or finding serial numbers where I could.

The bonus of this is my Office updated to Office 2016, and it’s a lot cleaner and less cluttered than the shower I had before. Again, apparently, Windows 10 doesn’t agree with much of the old Office 365 and I was having all sorts of problems with that, especially with tracked changes on Word.

Also on Wednesday, my new filling fell out again.

Thursday 20 October 2016
On Thursday I really was back in the saddle. I did the usual chores, fitted in another trip to the dentist, managed the gig list admin, and I started a new edit for the no-show-retainer client.

Friday 21 October 2016
By Friday I was writing again and I wrote 1,046 words for Catch the Rainbow. I raised 2 invoices (hurrah!), and I continued with the new edit.

Weekend
On Saturday, the only thing in the diary is a Monkey Dust gig, a private party this time that the mother-in-law came to and where I met quite a few of his old school and village friends.

On Sunday I did some writing! I started a short story and wrote 590 words. I don’t usually work at the weekends, but I may do for NaNo this year, so maybe it was good practice.

Monday 24 October 2016
Okay, Monday was the day I found out the retainer-client couldn’t actually afford me, despite not starting the retainer yet anyway. So I downed tools. I really, really do not work for nothing.

Instead, I got back onto the job boards but only pitched for 5 proofreading or editing jobs, I pitched for a private proofreading job, and I contacted 10 publishers to see if they’re looking for copy-editors. I won the private job and, so far, have had 2 hits from the publishers.

I suppose the moral of this particular story is to stick to the hours you agree to give to someone else and keep the hours for your own work to yourself. I’ve hardly done any of my own work over the past two weeks, and that means my writing to-do list is stacking up again.

I did finish the first draft of the new short story, though, writing an additional 271 words.

Tuesday 25 October 2016
Yesterday I pitched for one new job and I completed the one I won the day before.

Homework w/c 26 October 2016
Today, then, I’ll be setting up my new binder on Scrivener for NaNoWriMo. I also have my tax return to complete for 2015 – 2016. Tut-tut, I’m usually so much more organised on that by now, but when the year ended, we were in the midst of another house-move.

For the rest of the week I’ll be typing up the rest of those handwritten words into Scrivener for Catch the Rainbow, I’ll get on top of the short material schedule again, and I’m planning my NaNo project – although at the time of writing, I haven’t decided whether to be a NaNo rebel and work on something existing, or whether to start another brand new project.

What would you do?

Diary of a freelance writer: 6 January 2016

Welcome to the new home for Diary of a Freelance Writer. Here is where you’ll find my weekly exploits in the world of writing, editing and proofreading. For diaries up to this date, see Tales From Baggins Bottom and do a search for “diary of a freelance writer”.

Wednesday 16 December 2015
I had an editing job I wanted to finish before Christmas for lovely-already-boss, so much of my pre-Christmas work-time was spent clearing that. I also wrote 592 words that day – not great but 592 words are better than 0 words.

Thursday 17 December 2015
An email came in from lovely-already-boss warning me of some extra work on a particularly hateful job I’d completed several weeks previously. This was a thorn in the publisher’s side right from the off and it took me a very long time to complete. I expected there to be issues, but not the day before I broke up for Christmas.

I advised lovely-already-boss that I was breaking up until 4 January, but if that was fine for him to still send it to me. It arrived on the Saturday …

I did more of the job I wanted to finish for him and I did some admin work on both the gig list and the pro-bono project.

I had an early finish as we were off to see Roy Wood’s Christmas show at Holmfirth.

Friday 18 December 2015
Friday consisted mostly of tying up loose ends, finishing the editing job I wanted to finish by Christmas (hurrah!), invoicing for said job (hurrah!), and other odds and ends. I set my out-of-office auto-reply, and a couple of automatic posts for the gig list, and enjoyed another early finish. After all, it was mad Friday and I was off out on a date with my husband. 🙂

Christmas break 2015
We didn’t do very much over Christmas at all regarding work. We did our last minute Christmas shopping (for each other) and the food shopping. We visited family, delivered gifts, welcomed family, went out, enjoyed 2 walks … although, actually, the walks will probably count as “research trips” as I did a lot of thinking about the writing business and where I wanted it to be by the end of 2016.

Many of my intentions can be found in the first post of the year, here.

We were off from 18 December to 4 January.

Monday 4 January 2016
Back to work after a lovely break, and I started with the new blog and the new ideas for the old blog. I did some gig list admin, and some band admin for Monkey Dust, I updated the tracker spreadsheet and added in the bits for January (the tracker will follow my financial year to 5 April), I completed the diary for the week, and I wrote 601 words on one of the new projects.

The blog I wrote today was the first of my “walk” posts, only an introduction, but a little taster. These come into the wordcount because, ultimately, they’ll – hopefully – be turned into books. When this one is complete it will include proper OS maps and routes not necessarily shared on the blog, and photographs.

With this new blog being dedicated to work, I offered to do my first author interview for a friend’s ex-student who publishes her first book next week.

Just as I was signing off for the day, new-repeat-client dropped me an email asking if I could edit a book that will take the best part of the next 2 weeks. Very handy.

Later that evening I heard from the new author and I offered her a slot on Monday 18 January. Please note it in your diaries and try to visit that day to give her some support. Thank you. 🙂

Tuesday 5 January 2016
Yesterday, I spent some time on one of the job boards in case the new job didn’t materialise, but it did and we agreed terms. So I was able to navigate away from the job board this week as I’m now “busy” (hurrah!).

I wrote the first of my “kitchen garden from scratch” blogs over on Baggins Bottom and managed 743 words. When this book is complete it will include various practical projects and additional lessons learned that won’t necessarily always make it onto the blog, and – of course – more photographs.

I wanted to catch up with my fiction writing course and was determined to do something on that today, but I booted up my Scrivener to have a go at a short story on there, expecting to just open some index cards and write some notes …

I rattled out the whole of the 750-word assignment for part 1 and exported it to .rtf, where I tweaked the layout a little to my own preferences. It was so easy! Why have I not used Scrivener before?!

In all I managed 1,497 words over 2 projects (the assignment came to 754 words).

I started the horrid revisions and made it to the end of the proofreader’s feedback. And I started the new edit as a little light relief.

Homework w/c 6 January 2016
I have author feedback to look at on the horrid edit today and the new edit to continue with.

All being well, there may be 2 more blog posts over on Baggins Bottom this week, one on “my fat year” and the other another “walk”. Then there may be 2 more at the start of next week. Today’s post over there will, however, link back to this one.

I have work to do on the pro-bono project this week as we have a meeting next Wednesday, and I want to carry on with my fiction writing assignment. I have 450 words to write for part 2 and up to 2,000 words to write for part 3. I’d like to get all of that off by the end of this diary week.

Monkey Dust have 2 gigs this weekend, but we hope to manage another walk either Saturday or Sunday.

How did your last few weeks go? And what are you up to this coming week?