Chapter 2: Week commencing Friday 7 January
Yes, we start this week’s diary on Friday. This is because I post it on a Friday and in a lot of cases, schedule it the day before.
After a busy week, and one lazy day, Friday was back to normal pretty much.
The first job I did was a full readthrough of The Fool so far. I removed all of the extra bits that are part of backstory short stories (three of them), and I kept everything I wanted to keep. This left me with around 27,000 words, which means I have another 13,000 words or so in order to hit my 40,000-word novella target. I did think this was closer to 35,000 and 5,000 words, but it’s still doable.
I watched the second of the videos for one of the online lectures I’ve enrolled on, which took all of 10 minutes. This is part of my new personal development program.
Then I prepared and published the next Wordsworth Short, The Mystery of Woolley Dam, to be published on 17 January. That was quite straightforward this time, as the cover was already ready and I just had to drop the story into the template and do a quick proofread.
I did some gig list admin, which is a lot easier these days now that it’s automated. All I had to do was share the coming week’s gigs on the Facebook page.
Then I was on to putting the GW2 contract and tasks into order and updating my Asana project management.
Work finished early so we could go and get the shopping.
Monday was publication day for the first of my Wordsworth Collections, Flash Fiction: five very short stories. You can buy this by going to the BUY MY BOOKS PAGE in the menu.
I was up at 8am and did my social hour over breakfast, hitting my desk at just after 9am (target was 9:30am!).
The day was supposed to start with my typing practice, but first I had to find the book and scan the cover in. And before I could do that, I had to reinstall the printer. Who else learnt how to copy/touch type using this book?
I also wanted to sort out the Teeline shorthand book and do the same. Does anyone else still use Teeline? Indeed, does anyone else still do shorthand?
There’s a CD in the Teeline book and because there aren’t any disk drivers in the new laptop, I asked the poet to save it to both my MP3 player and a memory stick.
When I was at school doing my options ahead of my career choices, I was advised not to do shorthand as ‘nobody will be using it soon’. This was in 1977.
Possibly the single biggest regret of my life is not learning shorthand at school. Today, in 2022, 45 years later (!) as far as I know, people are still using shorthand. Journalists use it, the police use it. I even know some secretaries who still use it.
Eventually, I had my first typing practice session by opening up a blank Word file and taking it from there. I completed Units 1 and 2. I didn’t do any shorthand work. Instead, I simply setup my shorthand notebook as per the instructions in the book.
The poet was working from home today, so I made us both a cuppa, took the Teeline CD and MP3 player to him, and then I started work proper.
Next job was some gig list admin. Today it was sharing the automated page on the gig list so that bands and venues could add their own gigs.
I should have started to finish the next draft of The Fool, but I came a bit unstuck with the storyline when I realised I didn’t know what to write next. I created a new Scrivener binder instead, for only The Fool instead of for the full collection, as it was taking a long time to open, save, backup and close. And then I parked it into my subconscious to have a think about.
Last week I brainstormed two new short stories. Both of these stories are for Words Worth Reading: Issue 2 as well as for standalone publication as Wordsworth Shorts. I transferred the basic ideas into two new binders in Scrivener and I worked on fleshing out the story outlines.
I transferred the extra chapters GW2 client had a go at into Scrivener and formatted everything, and I had a quick read through of the project to date, to refresh my memory, doing additional revisions as I went along.
We had a bit of a late night dash on Monday to get some antibiotics from out of hours but, surprisingly, I still made it to my desk by 9:30am Tuesday morning. I was tired, though, and getting through my work was a bit like wading through treacle.
First job was personal development, and typing practice. I’d already done two units on Monday. I did another two on Tuesday. Other personal development work on Tuesday was another of my online classes. I’m learning about plotting using the Lester Dent master plot formula.
I also tried out Plottr, which can apparently be used with Scrivener. I struggled for a bit to see how I’d benefit from another piece of software, but every time I tried to plot a short story using one of the templates, I had brain fog. I’m still on the trial for Plottr, so I’ll have more time with it when I have more time.
Last job of the morning was to go through The Fool and try and plug some gaps with either loose-end storyline or missing story.
In the afternoon I turned to the GW2 work and started to work through the chapters that the client had written over the Christmas holiday. I also received revisions for GW1 Book 8 Part 1. I had a quick look at those and told them I’d do them next (i.e. on Wednesday).
The brain fog got thicker and thicker, so I called time early and closed the office. I think I had a bit of a head cold and perhaps the cold remedy was a bit… strong. Or it could simply have been because I was tired.
I didn’t have a great night’s sleep. I think I probably had a bit of a temperature. The poet got up early Wednesday morning to go away for a couple of days and I went back to bed. When I woke up, it was gone 9am and I didn’t make it to my desk until gone 10am.
The day started with planning work. Because I’ve changed computers, I have to go in and find all of my online dates sites again – these are dates in history rather than any of the other kinds of dates. I added a couple of new ones to my arsenal and then hunted around for some printable planning sheets.
I’ve used planning sheets before, but I’ve printed them off directly from the website where I found them. So today, I grabbed images of the files and I created a Publisher file that I can print off every year. The planners are undated so they can be used in any year.
The regular email came in from one of the short story markets I’ve worked for and I started to wonder if perhaps I should write stories for the two magazines first and then publish them myself afterwards, regardless of whether or not they’re accepted. This will give me both a deadline to work to and perhaps some feedback. It will also mean a bit of extra dosh and kudos if they’re accepted.
Did some work on GW2 contract, only to find out I have to do it again. (Nothing to do with me or my work.) I can’t go into detail, obviously. But as soon as I can I will.
It was mid-afternoon by the time I realised I hadn’t done my typing practice. So I put aside 30 minutes and did the next two units. Once I’d done those, I watched the next instalment in my Master Plot Formula online lecture.
I read through the short story The Ace of Cups and made some changes. Then I rummaged through my drawers to find two old shorthand notebooks. One was for ‘outlines’, the other was for ‘first drafts’.
Then I sat down and wrote out two outlines by hand for the two new short stories. I’m struggling to get going on both of these and I thought connecting my brain with a pen again might give them both a bit of a boot up the bum. I think it’s the critical editor poking her nose in, so I need to push her to one side and just get the first drafts done.
Finally, at the end of the day, I backed a new Dean Wesley Smith Kickstarter, Crimes Collide. If this campaign meets all of its milestones, for a minimum pledge of $30 (apx £22) I, and others, will get 16 ebooks and 10 online classes on mystery writing. At the time of writing, we’re on the 3rd stretch reward which is 8 books so far and 2 online classes.
Thursday was a complete washout when I had a major technological breakdown. My website wasn’t working and it literally took me the entire day to sort out. I wasn’t happy by the end of it, but at least it was resolved eventually.
When I finally got around to some work, I made the revisions to The Ace of Cups and prepared that one for publication as well as fielded some more daft and annoying emails from Amazon via the aggregators. And I did some revisions to GW1 Book 8 Part 1 and sent those back to the client.
Then I caught up on both my typing practice and my online lectures.
Jobs today include more work on The Fool, transfer the outlines for those two stories to Plottr, which I’m currently trialling, to see if I can plug the plot holes, and then it’s back to GW2.
Have a great weekend.
Note: I’m not including links because they take forever to edit out when I’m preparing the final version of the book for publication.