Diary of a Tiger: w/c Fri 18 Feb

Image by Jan Barkmann from Pixabay
Chapter 8: Week commencing Friday 18 February

I struggled to do my ghostwriting for GW2 on Thursday evening. The poet had gone to band practice and that gave me an extra couple of hours. I spent most of them doing my regular competitions though, playing with Plottr, and an online jigsaw (well, it was after 5pm), but I still had at least one chapter to ghostwrite.

I kept telling myself, “There are only six more chapters to go, and after this one there will be five,” and “Just write 500 words, then write the next 500 words…” Five hundred words is quite an easy ask for me. I can usually rattle them off.

So I’d just sat down and finally wrote about 120 words when the phone rang. The poet was on his way back and what did I want for tea. I dashed around, getting the plates and glasses and cutlery ready. Then I went back to my work and snatched what remaining time there was. By the time tea arrived, I’d written 284 words.

Thinking that would start me off nicely Friday morning, I was up early with all good intentions, and then a letter arrived and I had to start ringing a bank up over some family business my sister and I thought had been resolved. This was something we’d set up three or four years ago and were now being forced to take the product elsewhere.

I’m not going into greater detail, because it’s private family banking business. But it took some time to resolve – again. In the meantime, the email from my sister said, “Keep breathing…”

It was Very Windy for much of the day with the internet blowing out several times. In between watching the weather through my office window, trying to get the internet to come back on again, and moving projects on Asana to this week, I did manage to finish Chapter 22 for GW2, even if it was midnight by the time I was able to send it.

By the end of the day I was quite tired and looking forward to a weekend off.

The Weekend
Yes, I did have the weekend off. The only thing we had to do was go and get shopping. We only had to go to one shop. We didn’t even need to fill up with petrol, nor did we have to get something to eat. I just did the meal plan and wrote the shopping list, and we went and got it.

The rest of the weekend was spent watching the storms or reading or playing games, and on Sunday I made a rhubarb crumble. Bliss.

On Monday, a new Wordsworth Collection was published.

Twee Tales More is all three of the original Twee Tales short story collections in one omnibus edition, plus an extra four stories bringing it to 40 short stories altogether. At the moment, this is the last of my Twee Tales collections as I’m taking the short stories in another direction.

You can find all of my books on the BUY MY BOOKS tab on the blog, or you can go to www.books2read.com/DianeWordsworth.

Monday morning was spent working on the publishing challenge. You can read more about that in the Monday post just gone. I also did a lot of juggling around with projects on Asana. With my jury service looming, and with changes to the publishing schedule, I can see a little better each week how I’m likely to do and what might need moving forward.

Once I’d sorted out the diary, I bobbed on here to write and add the publishing challenge post, and I carried on with this one. Then I was on with the revisions for the final part of GW1 Book 8.

I went off to Scrivener to make sure I had the right plot information for the new story I’m going to write, which is a Toni & Bart time-travel short story, and I collected pictures from the Mardi Gras file of Toni, Bart and their time-machine, as well as the picture I’m using on the cover of the story and another one of the location that I grabbed offline.

The poet was in Manchester overnight on business, so I finished work because I had to make my own tea – again!

Tuesday morning started with me creating a gallery for all of the books I’ve published so far in my publishing challenge. Then, to keep the OCD happy, I added the next five because I’d created the gallery in rows of six. Doing this showed me two book covers that weren’t consistent with the others in the series, so I fixed those and created the gallery again.

Because there were replacement covers as well as new covers, I then went into the sidebar widget on the blog and changed the images for all of the Wordsworth Shorts.

We still couldn’t drag and drop images around a gallery, despite the techies assuring us that it will be fixed ‘tomorrow’, so every time I changed an earlier picture, or missed one, I had to delete all the ones that came after and add them all again.

Because I’ve changed one of the publications for February, I then changed the ‘February Publication’ graphic in the sidebar. And then I updated the out now or coming soon images, complete with expected dates.

Desktop users, and sometimes on mobile devices viewed in landscape orientation, can see the new pictures in the sidebar down the right-hand side of the screen. Mobile users viewing in portrait orientation can see them at the bottom of the screen.

The full gallery has gone into a draft post for the publishing challenge and I’ll update it as I go along.

I went down the publication schedule on Excel and added a few more books against dates, and then I realised I was procrastinating again. So I closed it all down and consulted my diary. What I should have been doing was writing a new short story.

The short story has been roughly planned for several weeks, and it’s been percolating too. There was one detail I couldn’t quite get my head around, but as I woke up on Tuesday morning, I had an a-ha! moment. I collected all of the inspiration images together for this particular story, added the extra detail, and came up with a name for a secondary character and the surname for my time-travel duo.

Then I started to watch videos about prairie dogs, and the time ran away from me again! I had to force myself to just open the Scrivener file, complete with plot notes and images, and just write. The target was 2,000 words. I stopped writing at about 1,800 words because I already knew I wasn’t going to wrap it up in time.

I had a lot to do on Wednesday, but at the front of my mind was my short story. I’d dug out a Teach Yourself book on my Kindle on writing science fiction and fantasy to try and give myself inspiration. The story must have been percolating in the back of my mind, though, because I woke up with the solution already formed.

Saying that, it did take most of the day to write. Sci-fi isn’t a natural genre for me, so it didn’t come as easily as, say, a murder mystery. And because there wasn’t really a huge mystery, the story didn’t feel very substantial to me either. I had to convince myself that not all genres require a mystery, and remind myself of all the sci-fi I’ve watched and read where each story or episode is really just an interesting or exciting adventure.

I struggled on, carried on writing, checking facts as I went along. The story is loosely based on a recorded situation from 1997, but I wanted to learn enough about the environment to at least make an attempt at authenticity.

For example, I had one of my characters standing at a window in a tower-block apartment in Phoenix, Arizona, staring across the desert. But when I ‘went for a walk’ on Google Maps, I could see that this was impossible. And when I checked how far Phoenix is from the desert (almost 130 miles), I realised I had to think again.

So I invented a gas station situated in the middle of nowhere, halfway along a deserted road between Phoenix and the desert, with shop, motel and private apartment attached. And I crossed my fingers. His picture window still gave him a ringside seat looking out across the desert. I hope it works.

By the end of the day, I did finish the story (first draft), with almost 2,200 words too many. At least that gave me confidence to cut without inhibition and risk making the story too short.

The news came in that the gallery bug had finally been fixed in WordPress so, of course, I had to go and check that it worked. (It did.)

I moved all of my other tasks along a day, and closed down at just before 6pm, feeling satisfied that even if I was going to be busy with client work over the next few days, at least I’d finished another story of my own. 😇

I was really pleased (a) that I’d actually finished a draft of a story I was writing for myself, and (b) that the story was in a genre I’m not familiar with. However, the story would usually have taken me a couple of hours to write instead of a couple of days. So that took a massive chunk out of my working week and I was starting to feel overwhelmed again with everything I have yet to do before I start my jury service.

Instead of knuckling down and just getting on with it, I started to do a load of admin work for the gig list. I think we’re in the process of stepping right back from this now, so it will mean more time to devote to other – paid – work in the long run. But it still took half a day as I also had to feed back my results from beta testing the new automation to the tech guy.

Once I’d done all of that, I did settle down to do some work. I went through the revisions for GW2 client and uploaded the amended chapters to the Scrivener file.

Then I realised that Thursday was almost over and there was still a load of stuff I haven’t done. So I decided to move a new writing job on by three weeks, which means starting it on the Monday after my jury service ends (unless I’m on a big case). This meant a minor reshuffle with the publication schedule, but it also meant I have more time next week to clear the deck.

Finally, I did some editing work.

Today’s work will start with more editing work, but the rest of the day will be dedicated to finishing the GW2 book. I want to get that back to the client by the end of the day so that I can apply any of her revisions and send her the entire first draft, all stitched together, before I break up for jury service.

I don’t plan on doing any work at all over the weekend, as it’s the poet’s birthday.

Have a great weekend.

Diary of a Tiger: Out in 2023

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.