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.

Weekend
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.

Homework
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.

Weekend
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: 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: 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!)

Weekend
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: 31 August 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the afternoon I continued with the gruelling edit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are you up to this week?

Diary of a freelance writer: 10 August 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m delighted, and hope that it works.

The holiday will be detailed over on the lifestyle blog.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And then we went on holiday.

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are you up to this week?

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.

Weekend
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.

Weekend
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: 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: 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?