Diary of a freelance writer: 30 November 2016 (*** rant alert ***)

nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_winnerWell, today is the last day of NaNoWriMo 2016 and, for reasons that should become clear, I have mixed emotions.

The bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and also anyone on Facebook and Twitter, will have already spotted that I WON this year’s NaNo. It’s the fourth time I’ve officially entered, and it’s the second time I’ve won.

Last year I threw caution (and the rock-solid outline) to the wind and wrote Mardi Gras by the seat of my pants. Mardi Gras is still awaiting completion, because it’s nothing like anything I’ve ever written before. But it will be finished.

This year I decided to have a crack at finishing Catch the Rainbow. It’s now, thanks to NaNo, at more than 78,000 words and the first draft is practically finished. Practically. I still have a few tweaks and a couple of extra scenes to do, possibly around 5,000 words-worth (ha! do you see what I did there?) of extra work. But the main thing is, it’s the closest to finished that it’s ever been, and with that I’m delighted.

*** rant alert ***
However … while I absolutely fell in love with Scrivener while I was writing these extra 50,000 words, I am also furious. Not once, but TWICE Scrivener lost my latest work. I’m not really sure how this is happening at the moment, but it seems to be because I’ve been saving it to both destktop and memory stick. Sometimes, if it opens a version by mistake, and it’s not necessarily the most recent version, it’s OVER-RIDING the most recent version because this one is the last to be opened. This is SO WRONG. It should at least ask.

When it did it the first time, I was still quite early on in the project, but it lost around 2,000 words and two whole scenes. From that moment on, at the end of each session, I made sure to compile to Word every time, email that Word file to myself, and then I saved the latest of the Scrivener files on both the desktop and the memory stick.

BUT … yesterday it did it again, and I don’t know why.

Unfortunately, I’m unable to email the latest Scrivener files to myself. Fortunately, I still had my latest compile in Word. Unfortunately, it didn’t include things that aren’t included in the compile.

I’ve got around it for now and, for now, I was able to complete this year’s NaNoWriMo, but either I’m doing something very wrong, or it’s a bug and Scrivener needs to sort it out.

Anyway, *** end of rant *** … here’s how the rest of the week went …

Wednesday 23 November 2016
Wednesday was day 23 of NaNoWriMo but it was a wrench and I gave up after only 680 words. In the afternoon, I started a new edit for a book, and we did the shopping that evening.

Thursday 24 November 2016
On Thursday, I caught up a little and wrote 1,996 words for NaNo and 684 for a blog post.  I continued with the new edit, and I popped in to see the neighbours as I’ve not seen them for ages and had a few minutes to spare … I think I was down there for around an hour in the end …

Friday 25 November 2016
On Friday, I caught up some more and wrote 2,019 words for NaNo. I did some more editing (it’s not an easy edit), and I raised an invoice (hurrah!).

Weekend
On Saturday, I wrote 1,726 words for NaNo. But we had a very long day on Sunday visiting and ferrying parents, and by the time we got home, I was very tired. Before we knew it, it was bedtime and – for the first time this year – I forgot to do my NaNo.

Monday 27 November 2016
First job on Monday was Sunday’s NaNo, and I wrote 1,710 words. Then I wrote 506 words for a blog post, added 277 words to Diary of a Scaredy Cat, and then wrote 1,810 words for Monday’s NaNo. I felt very smug by the end of Monday, especially as I also managed more editing.

Tuesday 29 November 2016
On Tuesday I wrote 1,514 words for NaNo, but I was definitely running out of steam. I think the only thing keeping me going was sight of the finish line. I also did some admin. With NaNo soon to be over, I’ll be starting work on short material again and the record files were all over the place, and markets information needed updating. I also continued with the sticky edit.

Homework w/c 30 November 2016
We already know that I finished NaNoWriMo and the thing I’m looking forward to the most is writing something different. I will finish the loose ends of Catch the Rainbow, but as there are “modern day” scenes in this otherwise historical story that feature Marcie Craig and that were very, very easy to write, I’m itching to get back to her next story, The Beast Within, which is the immediate sequel to Night Crawler.

(Although the scenes in Catch the Rainbow happen in between the two stories … and also, a character that features quite heavily in The Beast Within made his first appearance in Catch the Rainbow too, but in the historical part.)

Thursday 1 December will be new month admin day, and then I want to shift some short stories, get those out earning their keep. I had one rejection during NaNo, and I’d like to apply the suggestions before sending that one on its way again.

Our hens arrive at the weekend, on Saturday, so we’ll be busy with those. And the poet has his first gig in over a month that night.

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

shield-nano-blue-brown-rgb-hires

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: 17 August 2016

Well! There’s nothing like a holiday to make you come back to work refreshed and raring to go. It’s been a very busy week since my last diary post, and there have even been extra blog posts. I also crashed through the 20,000-word mark for CATCH THE RAINBOW (did you see the word meter in the side bar?)

Wednesday 10 August 2016
My day is now very clearly split between “my time” and “retainer time”, and during my time I created my new monthly tracker spreadsheet (it was a week late) and I wrote 1,166 words for a blog post.

In the afternoon I finished the editing work I’d started before we went on holiday.

Thursday 11 August 2016
On Thursday, in the morning I downloaded and applied a Scrivener update, I did some gig list admin, and I wrote 642 words for CATCH THE RAINBOW.

In the afternoon, I created a book schedule for lovely-retainer-boss, so we both know we both know what books I have, and I started to play with a sort-of online T-card system the poet had found for me, Trello.

Friday 12 August 2016
On Friday I wrote 2 blog posts, one of 594 words and the other of 296 words. I raised some invoices. (Hurrah!) And then I wrote 673 words for CATCH THE RAINBOW.

Weekend
Apart from a quick visit to see one lot of parents on Saturday, the weekend was spent chilling, dossing, gardening, baking, and basically doing diddley squat. We don’t often get a weekend off, and when we do, we’re still mega-busy.

Monday 15 August 2016
The new week dawned with another 2 blog posts, one of 433 words and the other of 368 words. I raised another invoice. (Hurrah!) And I wrote a massive 1,369 words for CATCH THE RAINBOW cold, i.e. without even an outline.

In the afternoon I tried to edit a book, but it had somehow become corrupted. We’re trying to sort this out as best as we can between us.

Tuesday 16 August 2016
On Tuesday, yesterday, I wrote 453 words for the blog and 323 words for CATCH THE RAINBOW – these words, despite having notes and an outline, didn’t come as easily as the 1,369 of the previous day … food for thought.

In the afternoon I started a work-around on the corrupted edit.

Homework w/c 17 August 2016
This coming week I want to crack on a lot more with CATCH THE RAINBOW. I also want to carry on with the corrupted edit as there are 4 more books to do after that one.

Beyond that, it’s more of the same really.

What are you up to this week?

Writer at Work- writing CATCH THE RAINBOW: characters

I’m currently typing CATCH THE RAINBOW onto Scrivener, the writing software I wish I’d discovered 30 years ago. I’m loving all of the gimmicks and gadgets that help to make the writing fun, interesting and motivating.

Yesterday I moved a few scenes around using index cards … and there they were already moved in the text part of the story too. All I had to do was change the scene numbers. I can move different scenes into different chapters at the sweep of a mouse. It’s blummin bostin!

Today, I’ve added a new character picture, using a photograph of Duane “Dog” Chapman (aka the bounty hunter). I can attach this picture to both the character index card and any chapters I’m writing where I need his image in front of me. And the index card has been duplicated, because the same character appears in a Marcie Craig story, THE BEAST WITHIN, more than 20 years later.

This character’s real name is Frankie, and the Duane Chapman image is attached to the 1974 story, CATCH THE RAINBOW. But in THE BEAST WITHIN, he looks more like Cat Weasel, and he’s now known as “Popeye”.

Here, then, for my indulgence, are some of the characters who appear in CATCH THE RAINBOW. Lenny is the main character, Jack is her best friend, Nicky and Shaun are twins, and Frankie you’ve already “met”. For fun, I’ve also included “Popeye”:

Lenny

Elaine “Lenny” Moxon (surname may change)

Shaun 1

Shaun O’Flaherty

Nicky

Nicky O’Flaherty

jack2

Jacqueline “Jack” Hardy

Popeye

Frankie

Popeye

“Popeye” (imagine him with an eye missing …)

Thank you for reading. 🙂

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: 6 July 2016

I’ve had a very writerly week, which is always a good sign. I’m building the blocks for a 6-part “family saga” in Scrivener. And I started to get the itch again to find a decent criticism group for constructive feedback.

Wednesday 29 June 2016
It started last Wednesday . I wrote 674 words for the blog and did 2 extra chores – publicity and job surfing.

Then I settled down for a couple of hours and managed to write 1,347 words for CATCH THE RAINBOW. (Hurrah!)

The day finished with a couple more hours on a client editing job.

Thursday 30 June 2016
On Thursday morning the first job was, as usual, after the daily and household chores, gig list admin. I also managed an “extra”, studying Module 7 for my fiction writing course.

I wrote another 1,144 words for CATCH THE RAINBOW, then uploaded a load of information for the project to the project folder on Scrivener. This increased the running word-count considerably (almost 4-fold).

As I was tidying all of my old notes on the computer, I stumbled across another novel that was finished a long time ago for the Lichfield Prize, but it never went anywhere. So I copied and pasted that into a new file in Scrivener too.

I finished the editing job and got it sent back to the client.

Friday 1 July 2016
Friday was new diary day! I use an academic year diary and it always starts on 1 July. As it was the first day of the month, my Excel tracker for July was also set-up. This shows what I’m working on for this month, target word-count, actual word-count and which draft I should be working on for which story/article/filler/RTE/etc.

I wrote 286 words for a blog post and wrote a further 1,307 words for CATCH THE RAINBOW.

I feel as though I really need to use Scrivener at every opportunity, so that I get used to the masses of things that it apparently does for you. I’m starting with the basic template and doing everything I need to do myself – splitting it into acts, parts, chapters, whatever; get it to print the headings I want it to print and not the ones that Scrivener wants it to print; changing fonts, page layouts, etc.

Once I feel as though I’ve mastered all of that, then I’ll use the templates that come with the software. I’ve always been one for learning things the long way before learning the short cuts. At least then I know what the short cuts are actually doing for me, and if ever the short cuts don’t work, I also know how to fix things the long way.

With this in mind, I went through all of my novels – in progress and in complete draft form – and transferred them all to Scrivener. I now have the following “complete” novels awaiting revision:

  • CHINA
  • MARDI GRAS (last year’s NaNoWriMo project)

And the following awaiting completion:

  • WHITEHORSE FARM
  • HATTIE’S HOTSHOTS (book 4 of the 6-part “family saga”)
  • plus the makings of 4 other books in the “family saga” collection, of which CATCH THE RAINBOW forms book 6
  • THE BEAST WITHIN: A MARCIE CRAIG MYSTERY (book 2)
  • THE FOOL (Stevie Tarot book 1)

At some point, when I have less work to do (ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha), I may also transfer over NIGHT CRAWLER: A MARCIE CRAIG MYSTERY (book 1) to Scrivener.

As it was Friday, I raised an invoice (hurrah!), did the first (ahem!)  “weekly” critical data backup in a LONG while, and I finished transferring photographs on Facebook to the “Days Out 2015” folder.

And I had an early finish!

Weekend
We had the weekend off. So we closed the gate on Friday evening and didn’t open it again until Monday morning. Then we spent the “free” time doing loads of things around the new house – gardening, DIY projects, baking, cooking and unpacking boxes.

Monday 4 July 2016
Monday was another good and busy day. I wrote 509 words for a blog post, and I wrote another 2,350 words for CATCH THE RAINBOW. Then I spent a couple of hours on Scrivener trying to “fix” the formatting so it looks how I want it to look when it exports to Word.

Tuesday 5 July 2016
After the usual daily chores, yesterday’s first job was the new weekly job surf. There weren’t any that I fancied, though, so I didn’t pitch at all.

I wrote 3,497 words for CATCH THE RAINBOW, and then I started a new editing job for a client.

Homework w/c 6 July 2016
This week’s objective will be to keep up the momentum, continue to write CATCH THE RAINBOW, continue to build the world and characters for the 6-book saga, continue to familiarise myself with Scrivener, and finish the current editing job.

I’m also looking at an online writing forum and may upload the next few new stories there to get some feedback. These stories need to be out earning their keep, but it’s always good to get impartial, constructive feedback if possible.

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?