Diary of a freelance writer: 22 June 2016 (*** list alert ***)

Well, well, well. It’s Wednesday and I’m updating the diary on time. Looks like I’m catching up.

We’ve still been living in 2 houses, sort of, finally moving the big stuff over to the new house on Saturday. We still have odds and sods to pick up, and we’re hiring a van on Friday to do that, then we’re cleaning the old house on Saturday, and filling holes and things like that. The poet has already cut the grass over there. Hopefully it won’t need doing again before Monday, when we hand the keys over.

Wednesday 15 June 2016
Wednesday, then, was a very good day. I managed to do everything at the right time and I wrote 837 words for a blog post and 2,558 words for a short story. That story has now been edited and sent off. (Please keep everything crossed.)

Thursday 16 June 2016
Thursday started well, with all of the admin being done in time again. And I wrote 633 words of a blog post.

In the afternoon, however, when I went to print off the next editing job, the printer wasn’t connected. The computer could see it, but it just wasn’t communicating. That took the entire afternoon before it was fixed again.

The night was spent at the new house as our new dishwasher was due for delivery “between 7am and 6pm” on Friday, so I had to be up early.

Friday 17 June 2016
On Friday I printed off the new editing job, wrote 855 words for a blog post, and did some photo admin. I’ve been using Facebook as a backup for photographs since 2005, and now they’re threatening to remove that facility for some.

I don’t like having so many pictures on Facebook anyway, so it was a good opportunity for me to start tidying things up over there. We have a portable hard drive now, so I started by downloading some of the older albums to that before deleting them from Facebook. Then I started a gradual regime of filing photographs on Facebook in group directories. I’ll do a bit more of this each day, as and when I have a few moments to spare.

The dishwasher arrived late morning, and when the poet came home from work, he fitted it straight away. (He’s very versatile.)

Weekend
On Saturday the van came at 8am (it was booked for 8:30am), and all of the big stuff was moved over in just one journey. By 10am they were gone and we had our “stuff” around us again. And, of course, the cats finally came over too. Much of Saturday was then spent sorting everything out, and going for another couple of car loads as well as a good, weekly shop.

Sunday was Father’s Day, so we went to Doncaster to see the poet’s dad and one of his lads made it to see him too. Then it was off to Birmingham to see my dad. When we got home, we had a lamb dinner, having used the slow cooker for the first time in the new house.

Monday 20 June 2016
On Monday I did more photo admin, I wrote 695 words for a blog post, and I rebooted my fiction writing course, studying the new Module 5. They revised the course after I started, and because I’d raised some issues about the quality and content of the course, they asked if I’d like to resume with the new version instead. So, of course, I said yes.

The new course arrived in October or November of last year, and I’d already acquainted myself with the first 4 modules. But this is the first I’ve managed in a long while.

Tuesday 21 June 2016
Yesterday, I continued with my study, reading up on Module 6. I did a little more photo admin, then I outlined a new short story (inspired by part of the next assignment I have to do for the course), and I did some short story admin.

I updated the worksheet I use to keep on top of drafts, moving material I want to work on first up, and shifting older ideas to a different spot, so I don’t forget about them. Although, if I do forget about them, perhaps they didn’t really want writing in the first place.

Here’s how the spreadsheet currently looks:

worksheet

KEY
O = Outline
#1 = draft 1
#2 = draft 2
#3 = draft 3
E = Edit
SS = Short Story
F = Filler
RTE = Reader’s True Experience

(I can’t even remember what THE FORTUNE TELLER is all about, but it will need editing if it’s to stay up there!)

I also discovered some “story starters” over on the website of a magazine I really want to crack – she currently has one of mine sitting in her drawer that I slightly re-wrote at her request, I’m hoping if I can send her another it will remind her of the one in her drawer! – and I’ll be mulling over some of those and hopefully adding them to the list.

Then I sat down and started a new binder on Scrivener for a new novel … the poet reminded me when he got home that I have yet to complete a version of CATCH THE RAINBOW on Scrivener, but I’m hoping to run the two consecutively. Plus, I need to be practising with Scrivener so I don’t have to keep on Googling how to do things I’ve done several times already. I need to be “doing” so I remember how to do it.

For the new project, I also started to create a family tree, as it’s going to be a family saga. Someone recently told me that family sagas are very popular with publishers, and as I generally strive to “write for the market” … well, I have to give it a go.

Homework w/c 22 June 2016
So, the to-do list is a little shorter than last week’s, but the first 5 are also carried over from last week’s, so not as great as that first seems:

  • 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
  • plumber coming Wednesday to clean out hot water system 
  • Module 7 fiction writing course
  • Module 8 fiction writing course
  • Module 9 fiction writing course
  • continue tidying photographs
  • move last of stuff over from old house, close up and hand keys over
  • Armed Services Day at Alrewas
  • continue playing with new novel idea

What are you up to this week?

Diary of a freelance writer: 9 March 2016

First things first, altogether now …

Happy Birthday to me
Happy Birthday to me
Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday
Happy Birthday to me!

And apart from that … it’s been another very busy week with other stuff not letting me do as much writing as I’d like.

Wednesday 2 March 2016
Last Wednesday, pretty much, I made the first of 2 momentous decisions – I decided to only do editing work for publishers from now on, rather than trawl for individual clients again. Working for/with individuals is great, and really rewarding. But there isn’t enough continued work to build up and maintain a nice working relationship. And sometimes they need, want and expect a lot more time than I’m able to give or they’re able to pay for.

I’m happy with the decision. I shall probably panic every time I go from feast to famine, but it did feel like a huge weight off.

I’d like to spend the extra time working on my own writing and I’m hoping that the extra investment will pay off.

Aside from that, Wednesday was quite a good day …

I wrote 910 words for this blog, I wrote a further 235 words of notes and ideas for short stories, and I helped to crash the ALCS site – our statements were ready so there was a mad rush to the website that resulted in the statements area being taken down. But I did sneak in before they went and was able to see how much I can expect from them on 18 March, and that helped with the budgeting.

In the afternoon, I continued with a hard-copy client edit (a publisher).

Thursday 3 March 2016
On Thursday morning I made the second of last week’s momentous decisions. It was World Book Day and I decided to make more time for my own reading. This means less time on playing games, and any otherwise quiet periods spent reading. It also means I’ve been reading more writing books and I’ve been doing the exercises – the only kind of writing exercises I do are the kind that lead to a finished, marketable product. I don’t do writing exercises for exercise-sake.

That reading time included market study, aka reading a magazine. And that magazine reading time resulted in a story of mine being slightly tweaked and then sent on its merry way.

I also had a successful 25-minute Pomodoro Tomato filing sprint, and I sat down and worked out a writing schedule. This is where I alternate different drafts of different pieces of short work, fiction and non-fiction, to (a) keep me interested, and (b) always have something on the go. And it currently looks like this:

Untitled

Key
O = outline
#1 = draft 1
#2 = draft 2
#3 = draft 3
E = edit
SS = short story
F = filler

I wrote that 1,416 words of the brand new story you can see right at the top, and I started the electronic edit for the client book.

Friday 4 March 2016
The good work continued on into Friday. I did another 25-minute Pomodoro Tomato sprint on the filing and I wrote a 506-word walking blog post for Baggins Bottom. I started to edit Baggins Bottom Best Bits Book 3 (I’m going to do just a month at a time), I submitted another short story, I updated my short story market guidelines, and I almost finished the electronic edit on the client book.

We had a Monkey Dust gig Friday night. But then things went a bit pear-shaped and we got a bit busy again.

Weekend
On Saturday we went out to get my birthday present off the poet – he bought me a fantastic pair of new walking boots, only the ones I’ve always wanted. But then the rest of the weekend was once again spent visiting various members of the family.

Monday 7 March 2016
Most of Monday was also lost to visiting and hanging around, although I did manage some admin in the morning, and I was also able to finish and submit the book I’d been editing. We also received some major news, which I’ll go into more detail about once it’s all resolved.

Tuesday 8 March 2016
I seem to have lost much of yesterday. The morning was spent doing admin, and I think I used the afternoon to read and recharge.

Homework w/c 9 March 2016
Despite stuff getting the better of us again, I do intend to get back into the saddle from today and try to work around everything. I currently have no books to edit for anyone and only my own writing work to do, plus a load of admin and support for the poet.

You can see my writing schedule, so you can see that I have various drafts of various projects to be getting along with, as well as the various books and novels that are already on the go and in various stages of completion.

Here, then, as promised, are my throwaways for August:

  • 1 August is Lammas Day
  • 20 – 21 August is the Saddleworth Rushcart
  • 25 – 26 August is the Notting Hill Carnival
  • 28 August is Plague Sunday in Eyam, in Derbyshire
  • 30 August 1976 (40 years ago) the Notting HIll Carnival ended in a riot – do you see a tie-in?

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

  • What on Earth is Lammas Day? Where does it originate? Are there any local/national customs?
  • What on Earth is the Saddleworth Rushcart? Could this be a travel article? There’s not a lot to see on Saddleworth Moor, but there is some dark and sinister history up there.
  • Could you write a story around the Notting Hill Carnival? After all, they made a whole film about Notting Hill … Or could it be a travel feature – 5/10/20 things to do in Notting Hill?
  • The Eyam plague is well-documented. Can you come up with an original slant? Or a short story set against it?
  • We’re back in Notting Hill again. Has security changed much in the past 40 years? What happened to the people involved/affected by the 1976 riots? Could this make a good human interest piece?

Apart from the anniversary piece, these are all evergreens. So if you do pick up the gauntlet, do try to come up with a topical peg on which to hang your idea. And don’t forget to let me know if you used any of them. I’ll have a few more for you next week.

So – again – what will you be up to this week?