National lockdown, again

Image by J Garget from Pixabay

I didn’t have a great start to the new year. I was busy all day, yet I don’t appear to have got anything done. And then, of course, came the news.

National lockdown

Not that a national lockdown changes anything much for me. But if the poet gets furloughed again, we may need my wages to fall back on, again.

But … enough about that. I’m sure the news is full of it wherever you are. Here’s how my day went yesterday.

Walking the dog

I really struggled to get up at 8am when the alarm went off. The poet was already about ready for work, and the dog wasn’t happy at getting up at such an early hour either. But we did it.

Saying that, by the time I’d had breakfast, got washed and dressed, and put the dog’s harness on, we didn’t set off for our dog walk until about 9:20am, so that put us 20 minutes behind time already. And because of all the wintry layers, by the time we got back, it was well past 10am by the time I got to my desk.

Social media grump

The first thing I did was yesterday’s blog post, which was 420 words. I quickly surfed social media, which didn’t take as long as it used to because I’ve turned into a right social media grump.

Twitter has never really suited me, for being so random. But now Facebook seems to have gone the same way and I can’t get it to do anything I want it to anymore.

I’m tired of logging faults every single day, and now they’ve even taken the menu off my mobile Facebook, so I can’t select any of my pages or groups,

I can’t report any more issues (perhaps that’s why they did it!), and – more importantly – I can’t log out. so there, straight away, is an additional security problem.

Join me on MeWe

For these and many, many other reasons, I’m gradually moving everything over to MeWe. If you would like to join me, you can find me here. The gig list is starting again over there, and I have a writing group too.

MeWe is just like Facebook used to be, only without the ads. The only ad that might be a bit intrusive for some is the one asking if you’d like to upgrade to premium. Groups are free, but you have to pay for pages. But I think the premium membership might include those.

You can choose which posts you see and in what order. You can decide who can see your posts. And you can still send messages without having to load a whole new application.

Anyway, I digress …


My first job of the day was the ghostwriting gig. And the first thing I did for that was open up the last binder on Scrivener, save it as a blank, and start to remove all of the content, leaving just the structure and the beats.

And then I thought that if I made it a template, it would be much quicker for future ghostwriting gigs to just open and start adding in the information.

So I went in and cleared everything that related to the last project, added in anything else I thought I might need, and then saved it as a template.

If I do get another ghostwriting gig, it’s ready to go. If I don’t, I can still use it for any of my own projects and just plug in the information.

I opened a new project, using the new template, and then imported the synopsis I’ve been sent. From there, I can copy and paste all of the character information as well as what happens in each of the beats.

Book covers

But Scrivener also lets me add a cover, and we’ve pretty much decided that once the ghostwriting gigs are completed, I can produce my own POD (print on demand) paperback and ebook, for posterity and portfolio reasons only.

I’m not allowed to claim any of the stories as my own and I’m not to make any money from them – and quite rightly too. But it will be nice to have something tangible to remind myself that I did this, and that I can do it again.

And so I started to faff with book covers on Canva … but they’re very limited to the number of suitable images for historical stories.

Picture libraries

I did have a sift through Pixabay too, which is an excellent resource that allows you to use thousands of free images so long as you credit the creator. (See blog image above.) I’ve used Pixabay quite a few times to create my covers in Canva.

However, they didn’t have enough historical images either. And so I went back to Shutterstock, which is where the images for Night Crawler and Catch the Rainbow were from. And there were loads.

Previously, we had a small subscription with Shutterstock, which gave us 5 images. At the moment, there’s a one-month trial, during which you can download 10 images. Then it’s £19 a month (apx $26) if you pay annually, or £29 a month ($40) if you pay monthly.

Or you can cancel the subscription and keep any images you’ve already downloaded for free or paid for.

So I enrolled for the monthly subscription and downloaded a few images that would make nice Regency covers for my own use. At the same time, I downloaded the images I used for The Beast Within, as the ones I already had were still the watermarked versions.

I had every intention of paying at least one month’s subscription, but now it depends on the furlough situation and if my wages drop off again before the end of the month.

Image sourcing

One I’d done all of that, I started hunting for images to illustrate the book I’m ghostwriting. I now have pictures of actors or other famous people the characters might look like, I have pictures of the locations and settings, and I have pictures of things like fashion and transport.

These aren’t from a picture library, but just gathered from a regular internet search. The ones I use can be stored within the Scrivener binder, meaning everything is in one place.

The new Scrivener (if it ever arrives …) will allow me to save entire web pages within the binder too. But for now, I have to make do with a list of links.

I forgot to add the cover element to the template, and I think the only way I can remove the template is by uninstalling and reinstalling Scrivener. So I’ll save another blank version, including the cover element, and if I have to reinstall Scrivener, at least I can then save that blank as a template again.

Today’s plan

The last thing I did yesterday was let the client know that work had started on the ghostwriting gig, and then that was it. Home time.

So today’s plan is, therefore, to do better than I did yesterday. The schedule is still the same, apart from the dog walk moving to dinner time. This is because the poet should be back from work by then and able to join us for a lunchtime stroll.

He’s gone in to collect as much work as he can that he can do from home and, hopefully, avoid being furloughed this time.

I’m not going to beat myself up and give myself impossible or difficult targets. I’ll just aim at having 10,000 words written for the ghostwriting project by the end of the week, 2,500 words written for The Beast Within by the end of the week, and 127 pages proof-read of the client project by the end of the week.

I can do this.

Stay safe!