Diary of a freelance writer: 16 November 2016

I seem to be getting the hang of this working and ticking things off lark. I can only put this current surge down to NaNoWriMo and the discipline it’s giving me. I’m writing on usual days off, and I’m forcing myself to write my day’s quota at the end of the day if I haven’t already done it. This is all good, and long may it continue.

This morning I spent a few minutes updating my diary for the next few weeks, as I have plenty of work in to fill the “client” slots. I’ve filled in the “NaNoWriMo” slots to the end of the month, and replaced them with “writing work” from 1 December. I also have a slot in on 1 December for “new month admin”. Three times a week from 1 December I have “study work”, and twice a week I have “job-search work” – I do like to keep on top of this because you never know when a client might suddenly pull the rug out from beneath your feet.

The biggest thing I changed, for me, is “daily competitions” to “housework” and “weekly clicks-to-win” have simply been removed, with the usual week’s admin chores re-jigged slightly. Yes, yes, yes, I know I removed the “housework” sections before. But it still has to be done and if I don’t allocate time to it, it creeps into my work time. So, as I’ve not won anything for a while, and as I’ve never won a thing on the clicks-to-win, housework has been moved back to those daily slots, and the admin has been spread out a little more evenly.

Wednesday 9 November 2016
Wednesday was day 9 of NaNoWriMo. Have you been watching my little Writertopia man? Did you keep an eye on the word-count meters at all? I wrote 1,737 words for NaNo, I wrote 493 words for a blog post, and I added 818 words to Diary of a Scaredy Cat. I didn’t do any editing because the book I was waiting for hadn’t arrived yet. This is why I was able to spend extra time on Scaredy Cat.

Thursday 10 November 2016
On Thursday, I wrote 1,061 words for NaNoWriMo before the second power-cut of the week. We’d already had a massive power-cut on Tuesday evening, so this second one wasn’t such a surprise. When the lights started to flicker, however, I finished what I was doing, backed everything up and switched off.

I did a short proofreading job, and at teatime, after a quick omelette for an early tea, we went and did the weekly shopping. When we got back, we discovered that the third power-cut of the week had indeed occurred. We’d timed it perfectly.

Friday 11 November 2016
On Friday, I wrote 746 words for a blog post, and I wrote 1,686 words for NaNoWriMo. The job I was expecting to start on Wednesday still hadn’t arrived. So I read for a few hours today. I think I deserved that with all of the NaNoWriMo work I’ve been doing.

Long weekend
On Saturday, before anything else, I wrote 1,671 words for NaNoWriMo. In the afternoon we went to Leeds for the Christmas market and got there just in time for the lights to look nice in the darkness. We had about an hour-and-a-half there.

On Sunday, we drove down to Birmingham to accompany my dad for a minor medical procedure, as he needed someone to be on hand for the next 24 hours. We had a busy day, but when he went to bed early, I hauled out my notebook computer and I wrote 1,700 words for NaNoWriMo.

On Monday, we came home. We did some shopping for Dad and went to visit Mom as he didn’t feel able and, anyway, we were there and we wanted to see her. Then we came home via Doncaster and a quick visit to the mother-in-law. When we got back I got my notebook computer out again but the battery was almost flat. So I had to put it on charge. My work was on a memory stick, but if I’m working on days off or during the evening, I like to work on the notebook on my lap in the lounge. So once there was enough charge, I wrote 1,703 words for NaNoWriMo and felt very pleased with myself. *smug grin*

The work I expected last week finally arrived, but it was too late for me to do anything with by the time we got home.

Tuesday 15 November 2016
Yesterday was pretty much when I decided not to do the daily competitions anymore, or the weekly clicks-to-win. I was partway through them when I just thought, sod it!, and stopped. I then went on to write 1,737 words for NaNoWriMo, and I started a small editing job that came in ahead of the one that was expected last week – they don’t want it back for a fortnight, so as they were late coming in, I’m sneaking in a shorty in between.

Homework w/c 16 November 2016
It’s still NaNoWriMo until 30 November, so that’s pretty much what I’ll be doing every day. We may go to the York Christmas market on Saturday, and we may fit in either a gig or the pictures. But apart from that, the weekend is clear. (Hurrah!)

  • Client-wise, I have this shorty job to complete today, the late one to do as soon as I get around to it, and then another book to start after that one.
  • Writing-wise, I have the 2nd draft of a short story I’d like to complete, but it’s a long one.
  • Book-wise, I’d like to add a few more words to Diary of a Scaredy Cat.

What are you up to this week? How does your diary look? Could yours benefit from any slight re-jigging too? With a new year looming, it might be worth thinking about this now.

Diary of a freelance writer: 20 July 2016

cover green pub

Coming soon!

The news that came in last Wednesday morning has been expanded upon and added to, but as I’m still awaiting confirmation, I won’t go into detail on here yet. However, as it’s pretty likely that it will be happening, it seems, the structure of my day will probably change as of tomorrow’s diary work for next week … keep everything crossed.

Wednesday 13 July 2016
After spending almost the entire morning in complete shock, I finally had a word with myself and eventually cracked on with some work. I updated the books page on this blog and removed 2 older ones.

I wrote 628 words for a blog post, I republished 2 books on Kindle, and I worked on the covers for TALES FROM BAGGINS BOTTOM BEST BITS BOOKS THREE and FOUR.

I’d unpublished the Kindle books originally because the hard copy versions have been republished. However, as I’ve not yet republished the new Kindle books, I thought it best to put the original ones back, for now.

I currently have a complete draft of BAGGINS BOTTOM BEST BITS BOOK THREE to edit, and will be collating content for BOOK FOUR very shortly.

My first story appeared in the queue to be critiqued on Critique Circle.

Thursday 14 July 2016
By Thursday morning I’d received 8 critiques for my story. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but once 5 have been received, the stories move to a different queue to give everyone a fair chance at getting critiqued. On the whole they were all very good, very constructive and with some good suggestions and ideas. No one slated it, so either that’s a bonus or they were all being very kind.

I acknowledged and thanked and commented on all of the crits received so far and did the usual Thursday morning admin work.

In the afternoon I wrote 1,483 words for CATCH THE RAINBOW and I completed the first “Act” or “Part”, distributing 26 scenes between 12 chapters.

Friday 15 July 2016
Friday was not a productive day. I didn’t write any words, and I had an early finish for a hair appointment. We bought a birthday gift for my father-in-law and took that over to him, then did the shopping on the way home.

On Saturday Monkey Dust had a gig in Doncaster, for a wedding. The rest of the weekend was spent pottering around the house, emptying more boxes, baking, and showing some friends around the new place.

Monday 18 July 2016
On Monday I acknowledged and replied to critiques received over the weekend. They slowed down, but as the story was still on a queue, tenacious critters were still able to read it.

I slept in late, so didn’t get as much done during the morning as I like to, but in the afternoon I created Act 2 on Scrivener for CATCH THE RAINBOW and all of the chapter and scene cards. I only wrote 714 words, but that’s my daily target to achieve 15,000 for the month, and I suspected I was already over that anyway, so didn’t beat myself up.

Tuesday 19 July 2016
Yesterday started with a bit of a mystery, the bird table had disappeared only moments after I saw one of the peacocks on top of it. The peacock was at the front of the house by the time I got downstairs, and the bird table was gone. The bird had knocked it over the edge, and it was nearly broken into 2 pieces. So I put it aside for the poet to repair when he got home from work.

I did most of my morning chores, apart from the weekly job search. Once the news takes effect, I won’t have time to do other work, so I’m weaning myself off it early – I don’t need encouragement to do that!

I didn’t write any words. It was far too hot to sit at the computer, or to do anything much. So I read and faffed for most of the day. And when I did check my monthly word-count, I was delighted to see that it was 16,937 words, already 1,937 over my target. I shan’t sit back on my laurels, though. It just means any further words from today onwards (and it’s cooler today so there will be more words) will be a bonus for the month – or I can bank them for when I take 2 weeks off in August.

Homework w/c 20 July 2016
The plan this week, then, is to start practising for the new regime. I’m hoping that very soon I’ll be writing in the mornings and editing in the afternoons, so that means no more daily surveys or weekly job searches, and not as many competition entries. When I do the diary tomorrow, I’ll be basing it on this.

This means that when I’m not working on novels, I’ll be working on short stories. When I don’t have any stories to work on, I’ll look at the article writing process. And if that’s all up to date, it’ll be non-fiction books. At some point I hope to be able to fit in some study work too, as that’s fiction writing as well.

In the afternoons I’ll be editing, and if I don’t have any client books in to edit, I’ll edit my own.

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?

Back into the groove

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Diary of a freelance writer: 10 February 2016

And despite my best efforts, I still failed to come in and post the diary yesterday … Saying that, though, I didn’t even switch the computer on I was that busy. So here we are again, a day late again – but at least it’s not as late as the last one.

Wednesday 3 February 2016
On Wednesday I worked on 2 more republications – the paperback version of the new Night Crawler: a Marcie Craig mystery, and the re-issue of Twee Tales with the new byline. This means that the original Twee Tales paperback will also be retired, just as soon as I’m happy with the cover. The 2 old versions of Night Crawler (paperback and hardback) have already been retired.

The rest of the day was spent on the big client edit I have in and an email off to the client warning them that it’s a bigger job than I thought and that it will take a little longer than originally promised.

I had to knock off work early and take the dog to the vet to be chipped and to have his ears looked at. He has an infection in one of them and I wanted some antibiotic ointment for him.

Thursday 4 February 2016
Thursday morning was mostly admin – gig list admin, daily competitions, daily surveys.

The afternoon was a continuation of the hard-copy client edit.

The poet had band practice Thursday evening, so I dropped him off, went to do the shopping, then collected him again.

Friday 5 February 2016
Again, Friday morning was daily competitions and daily surveys (the surveys I get paid for and am quite enjoying them). And the rest of the day was more of that big edit.

Saturday was a do-diddle-day, and Sunday was a walk/research day to Tetney Lock near Cleethorpes for a 4-mile walk.

Monday 8 February 2016
On Monday morning I did some more admin work, gig list admin, daily competitions, daily surveys and I updated the diary.

Then I wrote 793 words – not a lot but with a week almost of admin, publishing and editing, it was nice to get some words written.

The afternoon was spent doing more hard-copy client editing – I did warn them it was a bigger job than I originally thought.

Tuesday 9 February 2016
I have some pro-bono work I need to catch up but just haven’t had chance to fit any in. It was booked in for Tuesday, but I just did more editing as I want to get that job shifted and invoiced.

Aside from admin stuff, I did also manage another 685 words on a blog post.

Homework w/c 10 February 2016
I suppose my main objective this week is to catch up on work and get back into my schedule. I need to finish that client edit then I have another client edit to start.

I have that pro-bono work to catch up with and I think we have a meeting next Wednesday evening.

And I’m currently percolating 2 short stories – 1 is planned out, the other has the main character, who just happens to be one of Marcie Craig’s neighbours, but that’s all so far.

I have the diary to do for the coming week. That should give me more idea of if I’ll catch up with the schedule or not.

Also, I’m not happy with the cover for the new Twee Tales, so I have to choose another picture for that. The paperback of the new Night Crawler is ready to go, though, and I also have copies of books to send off for legal deposit.

Finally, my dad’s coming for a few days, so I don’t want to be solidly busy while he’s here.

What are you up to this week?