Diary of a freelance writer: 23 November 2016

Oops a daisy, a day late – and it was all going so well … well, of a fashion.

I’ve been mostly doing NaNoWriMo, but also clearing a proofreading job. I hadn’t realised the deadline was this Thursday, I thought it was Friday. So it’s a good job I checked. As it was, I delivered it last night (Wednesday), so it was early/on time-ish. And I was having a bit of a breather, a bit of a potter, a bit of a popping-in-to-see-the-neighbour. But that was this morning, Thursday, and now we have to pretend it’s yesterday – Wednesday.

Wednesday 16 November 2016
Wednesday was day 16 of NaNoWriMo and, until yesterday (this  Wednesday), I was doing quite well. I wrote 1,751 words for NaNo and I wrote 961 words for a blog post.

In the afternoon I edited a long short story, 10,000 words, and got that delivered.

Wednesday evening was band practice, so I did the shopping.

Thursday 17 November 2016
On Thursday, I wrote 1,772 words for NaNoWriMo in the morning, and I started the proofreading job that I delivered yesterday in the afternoon. I also did gig list admin but “diary work” has now moved to Tuesdays.

Friday 18 November 2016
On Friday, I wrote 687 words for a blog post, I wrote 1,715 words for NaNoWriMo, and I raised an invoice (hurrah!). I had an early finish today, though, as we both had hair appointments at 4pm.

Long weekend
On Saturday, I wrote 1,717 words for NaNoWriMo. We decided to stay in for the rest of the day and potter around the house and garden.

On Sunday, I wrote 1,712 words for NaNoWriMo.

Monday 21 November 2016
On Monday morning, I wrote 575 words of a blog post and I wrote 1,714 words for NaNo.

The afternoon was spent “meal planning” as we’ve started a new diet. As I was about to print off some recipes and a meal plan, however, the printer packed up. It was asking for a new imaging unit and refused to budge, but some online research proved that this could cost up to £90 (apx $112).

The printer is just under 2 years old, and some more research told us that this particular printer is designed to switch off at 5,000 copies – no warning, no time to do it, it just went. But some more research told us we could repair and reset it ourselves, so we thought we’d try that first before shelling out for a new printer. They’re so cheap now it wouldn’t have been worth buying a new imaging unit.

Tuesday 22 November 2016
On Tuesday NaNo started to slow down. I was running out of steam and each new word was like pulling teeth. However, I managed 1,650 words before calling it a day.

I was in receipt of a new hen house by 9am. We’re rescuing 6 caged hens at the end of their commercial lives and they’re coming on 3 December.

The afternoon was spent on the proofreading job that I thought didn’t have to be in until this Friday. It was Tuesday that I discovered the deadline was actually Thursday, so I cracked on with that.

The poet nipped out in his lunch break to find the part we needed for the printer. It cost him 9p (apx 11c), so he bought 2 just to be on the safe side … When he got home, he did the business, reset the page counter and removed the grossly expensive part and … voila! The printer worked! And it was better than it was before. So there’s another 5,000 pages I have before it blows again.

Homework w/c 23 November 2016
If I can keep going, I still have NaNoWriMo until 30 November. This afternoon (Thursday) I start a new edit, a book this time. That should be done by early next week. I also have another invoice to raise on Friday (hurrah!). If I can keep this up, I should be able to invoice for something at least once a week. This is very good with Christmas just around the corner.

The hen house will be built tomorrow (Friday), if the poet manages to get a day off. And we’ll be swotting up on keeping chickens before our ladies arrive.

What are you up to this week?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are you up to this week?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are you up to this week?

Diary of a freelance writer: 8 June 2016

Still catching up for the missing weeks of the diary …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diary of a freelance writer: 1 June 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’ll try and do the next one tomorrow.

Diary of a freelance writer: 25 May 2016

I’m not going to say we’ve had a busy week again because I’m starting to feel like a stuck record. But it has been … a bit of a whirlwind, with “housework” creeping back onto the daily list, but only for half an hour at the very top.

Wednesday 18 May 2016
After all the usual daily stuff I wrote 970 words for a blog and 1,248 words for CATCH THE RAINBOW. I’m moving the novel onto Scrivener and revising it a little as I go along. In the afternoon I did some editing for a client. Then on the evening, we went to see the new house, to make sure they’d done all the things we’d asked them to. They had.

Thursday 19 May 2016
On Thursday, I had to revive my gig list admin as the poet isn’t around to do it at the moment. I’ve been doing little bits here and there, but I’ve not done any trawling for gigs, and I’ve not posted any received. So it was a shock to the system on Thursday when I suddenly had to find time for that again.

I wrote 458 words of CATCH THE RAINBOW, and I did more editing for the client.

Friday 20 May 2016
On Friday I did a little job-trawling, and I pitched for 10 new editing or proofreading jobs altogether. I’m not spending loads of time on this at the moment as I want to stick to existing clients and publishing companies, rather than get the odd private client here and there for just one job at a time.

I did a little editing work, but the poet was home early again (it being Friday) and we had to go and sign the paperwork for the new house.

Weekend
On Saturday morning we had a furniture delivery to the new house, so half the day was spent over there. On the way home we did some shopping for bits and pieces for the new house. Monkey Dust had a gig Saturday night in Doncaster, though, so we didn’t have much time to do anything else.

On Sunday morning we did our shopping on the way to Birmingham to visit my parents. Then on the way back we dropped in at Doncaster to visit the poet’s parents.

Monday 23 May 2016
The Monday admin jobs took a long time – they always do after the weekend. But I also managed to write a 639-word blog post as well as 636 words for CATCH THE RAINBOW. I’m also in the process of setting up my binder in Scrivener for this, and I was able to add a load of colour-coded index cards for scenes and characters.

On Monday afternoon, I did more editing for the client. Then Monday evening was spent at the new house. The poet jet-washed the garden – there was peacock poo all over it – while I sorted out some of the furniture and the bits and pieces we bought on Saturday. We measured all the windows for curtains and blinds. Provisions are also making their way over there in dribs and drabs.

Tuesday 24 May 2016
Tuesday was another very productive day – I’m wondering if Tuesday is my new Monday, as historically I’ve always managed more work on a Monday.

Aside from all of the daily work, I also researched things like curtains (which ones would fit in which rooms), cat-flaps in glass doors, dishwashers and rotary washing lines. And internal, retractable washing lines … And I had to check the MOT on my car to make sure I can use it legally for the move. (I can, the MOT runs out in July.)

Work-wise , I did more binder work for CATCH THE RAINBOW, wrote 1,048 words for that, and finished the editing job.

Last night we did more house shopping, dropped the editing job off, and installed a few more things over at the other house. I personally removed 2 shelves, so we could put the tumble-drier in place, and put them back up again (yes, with a screwdriver and everything) while the poet secured the stable and dug out some earth ahead of a shed delivery on Thursday morning.

Homework w/c 25 May 2016
Today I have writing work (study and for CATCH THE RAINBOW) and editing (client work) scheduled in. We just had a meeting this evening cancelled, which is great as we still have lots to do as well as this week’s gig list.

Tomorrow morning I have to go up to the other house so the shed can be delivered. I’ll be taking the editing job with me. And I’ll be doing more on CATCH THE RAINBOW.

We have another camping holiday this coming weekend. So we break up tomorrow and are back at work next Wednesday. A brand new editing job just arrived in my inbox, so I’ll be starting that then.

And, of course, we’re still moving over what we can to the other house, and doing whatever jobs we can.

We also have shopping – camping shopping, new house shopping, and weekly shopping … perhaps we’ll fit that in tomorrow evening … when we’re also  apparently building a new shed …

What are you up to this week?

Diary of a freelance writer: 18 May 2016

Looking back at the diary, it seems to have been a fairly good, productive week.

Wednesday 11 May 2016
The poet started his new job on Wednesday, so I had to start getting used to being up at 7am again. He was out of the house by 7:15am, though, and yes, I went back to bed. But I was up at 8am and at my desk by 9am.

After all the usual daily stuff (competitions, surveys, admin, etc), first job of the day was a chase. I’ve never, ever chased a short story submission in all of my writing career – that’s since 1985 for those who don’t know. But this was a story I initially submitted back in March as a continued break-in attempt to crack a very old market.

For the first time ever, the magazine asked me to do a re-write rather than rejected it outright. So I was very delighted with that for a start. And the very next day, naturally, the re-write was back in the post. As the story is June-themed, I thought I might need to chase it just to make sure it arrived, as the magazine is usually very quick to react to a submission with an email if it’s no good. I was a bit scared, but did in all the same, and the fiction editor responded almost immediately to say: yes, she’d received it; yes we’d missed June but not to worry about that; and yes, it’s still in her drawer.

I wrote a 456-word blog post, had a dental appointment, wrote 779 words-worth of press releases for the pro-bono project, and did some gig list admin.

We were supposed to be going to a gig in Wakefield, on comp tickets for the gig list, but as it was the poet’s first day at a new job, he didn’t feel able to finish early enough to go. So we had to send our apologies.

Thursday 12 May 2016
On Thursday, once the admin and daily stuff was done, I did some more work on the pro-bono project, did some more gig list admin – which included scheduling a post for Monday, and I did some writing

Aside from a 433-work extra blog post, I also wrote 1,820 words of a short story, draft 2.

The poet had band practice Thursday evening, so I did the shopping.

Friday 13 May 2016
Friday included a lot of admin work too. Then I wrote a 489-word blog post, and I wrote 2,491 words of a different short story, draft 3.

The poet finished work early, so that – naturally – cut my day short too.

Weekend
The weekend was the climax to our pro-bono project. There was a sponsored cycle ride last Sunday, from Doncaster to York and back. On Saturday afternoon there was a charity football match (over 30s v under 30s). And Saturday evening was the actual “bash” itself. Three bands, the Outcharms, the Kavaliers and Monkey Dust, played to a packed house. And we think we raised over £14,000 for charity, which is an excellent sum – £10,900 of which was raised by the cyclists!

On Sunday we popped up to the new house to measure for a shed and a greenhouse, and we met our lovely new neighbours, who just happen to be related to the potato farmers where we live now!

Monday 16 May 2016
I didn’t get so much done on Monday. I didn’t feel very well and went back to bed for a good hour after the poet left for work. The daily stuff always takes a bit longer after a weekend off, which is why I schedule the Monday morning gig list post now rather than make sure I get up early enough to do it.

I did manage a 324-word blog post, and I wrote 86 words of a short story outline, so not a total loss, and I still managed to write something. But I knocked off at 3pm and went downstairs to read.

When we move, I’ll no longer be working “upstairs”. The “office” will be just inside the dining room, which is just next to the kitchen, which is just next to the front door. The ideal “office” is too far away from the door, although it does overlook the front of the house. But the poet is having that for his “studio”, and we’ll no longer be sharing.

Tuesday 17 May 2016
Tuesday was another very good day.

I quickly ran off another pro-bono job of just 80 words, then I set up my binder on Scrivener for CATCH THE RAINBOW. I typed 1,174 words for that, and I wrote 1,350 words of another short story, draft 2.

After doing all of the regular daily and admin stuff, I had a spare hour. So I spent that editing BAGGINS BOTTOM BEST BITS BOOK 3. The first edit pass of that is now complete. Overall, I got it down from around 98,000 words to around 75,000 words, and I tidied it up a bit and made it consistent. The next stage will be a hard-copy edit.

Homework w/c 18 May 2016
I’m going to be good to myself this coming week and not set myself too many objectives. We get the keys to the new place on Friday and we’ll be doing work up there when we can. The garden needs a fence before the dog can come with us for a start. On Saturday we’re having a furniture delivery. We have a whole new room – the dining room/office – and have had to buy furniture for that.

On Saturday evening, Monkey Dust have a gig in Doncaster. And on Sunday we’ll be in Birmingham and Doncaster, visiting.

CATCH THE RAINBOW is now a (week) daily task, added to the others. I have 2 books of my own to continue editing (MARDI GRAS and BAGGINS BOTTOM BEST BITS BOOK 3). And I have 2 books to carry on with for lovely-already-boss.

What are you up to this week?