Chapter 20: Week commencing Friday 20 May
I really didn’t feel like doing any work on Thursday, especially after the writing marathon the previous day/night. But I still had a deadline to meet, and pushed on and met it. I wrote a further 3,257 words, and submitted the final instalment for Book 9.
By Friday morning, the client had already acknowledged it, and he asked when we could proceed with Book 10. I explained how drained I was feeling and how I thought a bit of a break might do me good, and he said we can start the next one on Monday 6 June, running until Tuesday 2 August, but that we’d need to stick to it as those dates would then be tighter than if we started it this Monday just gone. That’s fair enough, so I asked him to let me have the outline ahead of 6 June in order to do the prep work.
I don’t actually have to start writing Book 10 on 6 June. So long as I have Part 1 with him roughly 2 weeks later, he’s fine with whenever I do the work. For my own writing wellbeing, however, I think I’d prefer to go back to writing a chapter a day for him, so I’m neither overwhelmed nor rushing right up to the wire.
We had some disappointing news. The poet’s operation had to be pushed back by 2 weeks due to a priority patient coming in now. He expressed his disappointment, very politely, and they said they’d try and get him in a week later rather than a fortnight later. A few hours later, she called back to say the consultant would fit him in on 6 June. So that’s only a week late, but it is also the same day I start Book 10 for GW1 client.
I had an exchange of emails with the author whose book I’ve been editing. I’d sent him several queries and he was responding to those. Then I sat down and put the GW1 Book 10 contract onto the schedule. By the time I’d done that, payment had been approved for the instalment I submitted on Thursday evening.
When the author had replied to all of my queries, I revised the section I’d sent him earlier in the week. Then I printed off and read through the job I have from GW2 client, doing a light edit on the first read-through.
I started to think of some stories I could send to one of the weekly markets here, and when I flicked through my note book, I found I had complete drafts for 2 stories and several outlines already blitzed and written down. I decided which ones I’d like to complete for the current submission window (3 stories), and added those to the schedule.
Then it was time to do a meal plan for the coming week, write a list, and go and get the shopping. I finished work on Friday at 5:30pm.
Saturday was spent looking through more short stories, old and new. Looking ahead, I’d spotted a large gap in my publishing schedule and I needed to plug it. I’m not going to go into detail here, because this process forms part of my publishing challenge posts. However, I also had the 3 short stories I wanted to write for one of the magazine markets, mentioned above, so those also went into the mix.
I started to rewrite a short story on Saturday, which I finished on Sunday. I also did a lot of work on the project management system to fit everything in, including one book to write (Project Management for Writers: Gate 2), one book to finish editing (Diary of a Pussycat), and a number of short stories to either write from scratch or polish.
On Monday, another Wordsworth Short was published.
The Battle of Killiecrankie is one I wrote for fun, again a long time ago. I think it went to just one magazine and it was rejected. I can’t remember the reason why. However, it’s a fun one and it will probably be the first in a series of stories featuring the same characters as I start to ramp up the short story-writing again.
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First job of the day was to revive the diary and start a new working regime.
I love my project management software, and it’s a great place to plan and move things about and colour-code everything. Apart from all of that, I can also see at a glance what my workload is like for the next few weeks. But I also like the diary as it’s easier to look at when I’m not at my computer (or can’t be bothered to log in on the phone). I can also add other stuff not connected to work, such as a food diary.
Once I’d synchronised the diary with the planner (not long to do, really a few minutes only as all of the grunt work is done on the project planner), I settled in to see if the new timings worked.
Well, before dinner, I’d done all of the following:
- diary work ✔️
- publication day: The Battle of Killiecrankie ✔️
- daily competitions ✔️
- daily online lecture ✔️
- gig list admin ✔️
- blog post: publication day last week and this week ✔️
- blog post: update Diary of a Tiger ✔️
I had my morning tea break while I watched my online lecture. The rest left me free to have a dinner break with a clear conscience.
The afternoon was allocated to just one client, GW2 client. I decided to do that all this week (one client per afternoon, rather than GW2 work all week), and probably next week too, just to see if I get through the work any quicker. I finished and submitted the job, and clocked off at 5:30pm.
I was late to my desk on Tuesday morning because I saw a call for submissions for Christmas stories from one of my regular writing markets. This call actually came out last week, so it’s possible I was mulling over it in any case. Seeing it again, though, spurred me into action.
If I can, I’d like to send them at least one Christmas story. So over breakfast I started to scroll through my dates websites on the mobile phone.
It didn’t take long, but I did find one idea for a Toni & Bart time travel story. The magazine market doesn’t really do time-travel stories, though, so I knew to make that one a standalone Wordsworth Short that will be published on the 150-year anniversary.
There were some other evergreen themes I could use that probably would suit the market, so I noodled with those inside my head and decided I could probably come up with a story to suit one of my existing families. This week, The Battle of Killiecrankie – a Wordsworth Short was published. Most of my stories started life in weekly magazines, so now I’m mulling over a Christmas story for the characters in this one.
Once at my desk, I transferred the 2 ideas to my writing books, and then added the Toni & Bart one to my publishing schedule. All of this may have caused me to be late to my desk, but at least it was worthwhile – wasn’t it?
The first scheduled job on Tuesday was to write up a book review for NetGalley. But first I had to create the graphic I wanted to use. There are 2 versions of this graphic: one for Twitter and one for Instagram. I went in to Canva, overwrote the older designs with the new ones, and saved them to my memory stick.
I keep all of my critical data on a memory stick and back it up to a portable hard drive. I gave up relying on my computer when my old one kept on crashing and losing everything. I’m not comfortable saving or backing up to the cloud, wherever that cloud may be.
I made new graphics for two books, this week’s and the next one. While I was in Canva I realised that my ‘currently reading’ graphics needed updating. I start some of these in Photopea and I use a mockup template, so they take a bit longer than the Canva designs.
Off I went to find suitable backdrop images, and then I created a mockup for the book I’m reading right now, and went back to Canva to make it into a flyer, complete with ‘currently reading’, matching the colours as best as I could with the book cover colours.
Then I came back into WordPress to write up the book review for Tuesday’s post. That went well, and I copied it to Medium, to NetGalley, and to Amazon. NetGalley auto-posts to Twitter and Goodreads, but the blog auto-posts to Facebook and LinkedIn.
When I went to check the auto-posts, the flyer I’d just spent valuable time creating wasn’t working. I looked into it, did a few searches, but gave up in the end and went to the forum, where a helpful soul gave me a ‘scrape’ thing for Facebook. I managed to get it working on there, but the Twitter image is still missing and I can’t get it to work.
In the end, I had to give up. The morning was romping on and I’d not done any other work. The next job was to go and make sure that the Introduction was already duplicated in Book 2 in my Scrivener file for the project management series. When I found the file, I almost died, as it had managed to lose something like 8,000 words already.
There followed some very quick research, and I found my file. (Phew!) I also checked that the Scrivener file was complete. I’m putting all of the books into one Scrivener file for this one as at the end of the series, they’ll be bundled together as a 5-book omnibus, or a complete project management for writers resource. At some point in the future, I’ll include a write-along and produce another version.
Over dinner, I did my daily competitions and my daily online workshop. I also caught up on a friend’s latest blog post.
I still had one job left of my own work to do before starting client work, and it was a fairly big one. I had to collate, format, proofread and publish Ten Short Stories: Wordsworth Shorts 11 – 20. Now, if my time management system was working properly, I would have just stopped my own work and started client work. However, this book was scheduled for publication this coming Monday. So I had to bite the bullet and just do it.
This last job of my own took the entire rest of the day. By the time it was done, and I’d also changed the territorial prices on the first volume, I didn’t have anything else left in me. I finished work at 5:15pm.
The day started with a review for NetGalley, so taking one book off my running total. However, by midday, another one had been approved, taking it back up again. I spent some time deciding which books to read next, as I’m on my last book for the month of May. And I’ve gone for 4 NetGalley books in a bid to start hacking back at that 225 total outstanding.
While I was in Canva doing the graphics for ‘June Reading’, I also did the graphics for ‘June Publication’. I have 4 books coming out in June, one of which needs editing and final exercises adding, the other still in the writing process. At least 2 of them are ready to go, however.
And again, as I was in Canva, I made the cover for the story I’m currently in the midst of writing. I ran through the first draft of this short story. I’ll be typing up the next draft on Thursday. And I ran through the introduction for Project Management for Writers: Gate 2.
I quickly whizzed through today’s competitions, wrote up Thursday’s portable garden post, and over dinner, again, I watched my online lecture. Then the afternoon was spent blitzing the editing job. I’m currently doing the electronic edit and jotting queries down for the author to respond to.
My wages landed for the GW1 instalment I sent over last week, and the fee was approved for the GW2 project I submitted on Monday. That one should land on Monday.
I didn’t do any household chores for much of the week as I had a severe case of the CBAs. First thing this morning, I *made* myself do something, just so I’m doing *some* moving around at least. I even installed a pedometer on my phone. Now I just need to make sure I pick up my phone every time I go to the kitchen.
Daily competitions next, then daily online workshop. I made more notes than usual in today’s lecture. I’m studying the Lester Dent Master Plot Formula with Dean Wesley Smith, and today, for the first time, I opened up the text version I have so I could read-along.
I worked on another chapter for Project Management for Writers: Gate 2, and I typed up the short story That’s What Friends Are For. I put the story away then for at least a week to cool. I did some more work on the graphics for my June reading. Then I shared the next lot of monthly graphics on social media (books I’m publishing in June and books I’m reading in June).
It occurred to me that I was actually enjoying having time to spend on my own work. I came to the conclusion that I was desperate for this fortnight off between ghostwriting gigs. Hopefully, when the next contract is about to start I’ll be feeling refreshed and refuelled.
The next job was to prepare the next Wordsworth Short for publication. Then the rest of the day was spent on the editing job. I did, however, quickly nip on to remove the contact form from here. I was getting spammered to bits, so I’ve replaced the form with a graphic, in the hope that the bots are fooled. (Go on, give it a whirl, see if it works.)
The only client work I have to do is the electronic edits to do today. I’m still working on the project management book too, as well as the other usual daily tasks.
Have a fantastic 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.