Diary of a freelance writer: 5 October 2016

So this week, there were TWO disturbances. The first one on Thursday, when the internet fell over. The second was on Tuesday, when my new mobile phone arrived and I just *had* to set that up exactly how I like it. It has to be said that “not much work” was done during those 2 periods. However …

Wednesday 28 September 2016
On Wednesday, I wrote 1,012 words for a blog post. I completed the revision of the BCJ course, Tutorials 9 and 10, and I wrote a massive 23 words in that process.

In the afternoon I spent a second writing slot this week gazing at a blank page for a short story. The outline page was done in one notebook, and I’d really broke the back with the writing part in another notebook by writing the date and the title with “#1” at the start meaning “draft 1”. I managed 31 words in all before giving up and moving on to Catch the Rainbow, for which I wrote 444 words … before getting totally distracted.

When I’m writing this book if I hit a brick wall, research-wise, I *do* quickly Google the fact before moving swiftly on … however, on Wednesday I got carried away when I found some old photographs of Birmingham on the internet that I might be on or even some of my friends. I know we were there. I was supposed to be checking what 2 pubs looked like in 1974 and ended up in 1983. I gave myself a good kick up the bum and tore myself away from the internet again …

… only to nip back on to see if Birmingham City FC were playing on a specific day. Not only did they play, but they also won 3 – 1, against Liverpool FC. And they were, at that time, in the top division of English football. (I’m a BCFC fan.) So that added some authenticity before I wrapped up for the day.

Time was also spent looking at my Kelly’s Directory of Birmingham & Suburbs, 1973-4 CD as I had my main character shopping in some specific shops … that turned out not to be where I thought they were in 1974. So I moved the locations and shops in the story to suit the directory. I hope it was up to date, because someone somewhere will know if I’ve made a mistake as it’s still very much within living memory.

Thursday 29 September 2016
Thursday was the first of my “down” periods. I’d noticed the phone landline wasn’t working properly and started off by trying to fix that. I couldn’t get any cables to work, though, and we decided it might be a faulty phone, despite it being brand new.

Then the internet fell over. We noticed that not while I was supposed to be working, but while we were trying to watch television on Sky catch-up the previous evening. We reported a possible fault at around 9:30pm the previous day, and Sky confirmed that yes, there was in fact an external fault.

I don’t know about you, but if I know my internet isn’t working, I’m blummin’ rubbish at work stuff. This is a discipline I need to work on.

Friday 23 September 2016
On Friday the phone and the internet came back on at around 1pm. I knew this because the telephone engineer called the landline to tell me and it worked. Apparently a tree had grown close enough to the overhead cables to damage the line that our number was on. Luckily, there was a spare line, and the engineer moved us to that one. But he needed to report the tree as they’d have to locate the owner before they could arrange to cut it back and replace the line. The line that we’re now on has meant a much more stable internet, but the phone line at our end at least is very crackly. People at the other end, however, have assured met hey can hear me loud and clear!

I was much better today, and I did manage to write 1,511 words for Catch the Rainbow before an early finish and a trip to Doncaster with the poet and his mom. When we got home, we closed the gate and didn’t open it again until Monday morning.

Weekend
On Saturday, we enjoyed a glorious lie-in. When we finally emerged, at gone noon, the poet baked 2 loaves of bread and he made fishcakes for tea.

On Sunday, we were up earlier. We put the garden to bed for the winter, bringing in the cacti and putting the parasol, rotary washing line and portable barbecue in the shed. The poet made a much-needed shoe-rack with offcuts of wood and he cut the grass, hopefully for the last time this year. I baked a cake and we slow-cooked a lamb-shank. Then while I read a book (Robert Goddard, Beyond Recall, I LOVE Robert Goddard and wish I could write like he does), the poet went off to chuck fluff at the river for an hour (aka fly-fishing – he caught one).

This was our last weekend off for 4 weeks, which is why we wanted to make the most of it.

Monday 3 October 2016
On Monday I was able to do some of the things I couldn’t do on Thursday and Friday, such as gig list admin, chase an invoice and raise a new invoice and send it.

I wrote 1,060 words for Catch the Rainbow, I created a new tracking spreadsheet for the new month, I did some tidying up on Trello (online T-cards), and I ordered a new catflap and a new pane of toughened double-glazed glass to put it in. For this I contacted one of my old favourite and very reliable sub-contractors in my building maintenance days at Birmingham City Council, Shard End Glass. (I’m going back 30 years.)

Tuesday 4 October 2016
Yesterday was new phone day. So beyond a bit of admin in the morning before it arrived, much of the rest of the day was spent faffing with said new phone. I also ordered a new case for it.

I was delighted when both invoices chased or raised on Monday were paid today, one of them 6 days early!

Yesterday evening we did our weekly shopping.

Homework w/c 5 October 2016
My homework for the coming week will still be daily writing towards Catch the Rainbow. I also have 2 books I want to crack on with editing for 2 different clients. With the new phone, I can now continue with mapping dog walks (MapMyWalk doesn’t work on the Windows phone I was using until my new phone arrived). That means the fitness regime will start again – today. Next week I also want to get on with the study work again. All of these things have been neglected these past few days.

What are you up to this week?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are you up to this week?

Diary of a freelance writer: 8 June 2016

Still catching up for the missing weeks of the diary …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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