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: 2 November 2016

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

A much shorter diary this time! 🙂

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are you up to this week?

Diary of a freelance writer: 2 March 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here, then, are my throwaways for July:

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

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

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

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

So, what will you be up to this week?