Chapter 23: Week commencing Friday 10 June
I’m back to normal again this week, starting the diary on a Friday. Hopefully everything else is back to normal too.
I was very busy all day on Friday. The only thing I did from my own list was daily competitions. The rest of the day was spent editing. It’s a big job and it’s taking a long time. I was heartened to know, however, that the current author has 3 books in production at the moment, with different editors, and we’re all struggling.
On Friday evening, the poet took his new voice on a test-drive. The band had been booked in to do an engagement/birthday party for ages and they didn’t want to let the customer down as she and her brother are friends of several of the band members’ kids. They only did one set, but she was delighted that they made it.
The plan then was to write 2 short stories at the weekend and proofread a 3rd ahead of publication next week. But we got up late on Saturday (the poet did well Friday night, but he was tired afterwards), went to do the shopping, and visited the mother-in-law while we were out. The poet’s uncle, daughter and granddaughter were all there too, so we had a longer visit that originally intended. By the time we got back, I was too tired.
On Sunday, we went to RSPB Fairburn Ings for an hour in the fresh air, and on Sunday evening I dropped the poet off at a reunion drink with 3 mates from his first ever band, and went and picked him up again afterwards. I was still tired. Aside from it being a busy and stressful week, the cat and dog had been waking me up at stupid o’clock for several nights on the trot.
I was in dire need of a full night’s sleep. But I was feeling so overwhelmed with the amount of work I had booked in for the coming week that I sat up for half an hour sorting the project planner out into something workable that won’t kill me.
On Monday, another Wordsworth Short was published.
Burn features Marcie Craig. All of the Marcie Craig full-length novels are named for albums or tracks released by Birmingham rock bands. This is because Marcie is a Brummie rock DJ.
Occasionally, I like the title of a song that is by a rock band from somewhere else, but I didn’t know what to do with those. Then I entered a competition and I decided to give Marcie a short story.
The competition was for a short story based on ‘the dark’, my story won second prize, and I renamed it Burn (Deep Purple). Other than include it in Twee Tales Two, and then by association in Twee Tales More, I didn’t do anything else with it. So here it is as a standalone Wordsworth Short.
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.
I transferred the week’s jobs to the desk diary, caught up on daily competitions, and moved my online workshops to next week. I really enjoyed watching the Dean Wesley Smith online lectures regarding the Lester Dent master plot formula. However, before I watch the next series of videos, I want to apply the formula to a short story, see if it works before applying it to something longer.
There wasn’t a publishing challenge blog post scheduled for Monday. It should have been done on Friday, but I spent all of Friday editing and because I was so busy, I deleted this week’s. Instead, however, I did sneak in a crafty publication day post.
Other jobs deferred from this week to next week are:
- Tuesday book review
- date work
- Wednesday writing prompts
Next up, I did some very quick gig list admin, then I opened up this post so I’m not writing it all from memory. I also caught up on social media. I made myself a cup of tea and proof-read the short story I should have proof-read at the weekend.
This story has been so long in the making it was practically polished by the time I finally got it down. It was so good, in fact, that I considered sending it to one of the paying markets first. But it was the wrong length for one of them and the other one takes too long to respond and, anyway, I needed a story to fill a blank in my own publishing schedule, so that’s where it went.
While I was working on that, I realised I had five stories featuring older characters. As one of my collections series is ‘five ??? stories’, I instantly thought, Hurrah! Another book to fill a gap. Then I realised I had more than five stories featuring older characters.
I’m really not sure about the anthology title at the moment and will have a scout around for suitable images that might help, but at the moment, these two anthologies are called Five Third Age Stories and Five More Third Age Stories.
I’d run out of morning by this time, so three more of my own jobs were postponed. This may seem harsh, but it’s what I need to do. If I faff and fanny around so much that a job isn’t done in it’s allocated time slot, then I shouldn’t move it along into another job’s allocated time slot. I need to manage my time slots better in the first place and if I don’t then it’s tough. That job doesn’t get done. Perhaps that way I will finish more jobs in the long run.
The afternoon was first spent with the next GW1 ghostwriting project, Book 10. I started off by re-reading the outline. Then I split it into parts. Then I broke it down further into chapters. Once I was happy with the storyline, the structure and the balance, I transferred it to Scrivener.
I should have started to write, really, but I also wanted to have more time on the editing job. So I rejigged the week (again!) so that I could write 3 chapters + 3 chapters + 2 chapters + 2 chapters. By Friday. Or 20,000 words (10 x 2,000 words each chapter). Then I set the outline to the back of my mind to percolate overnight.
The last 2 hours of the day (including 1 hour overtime) were editing.
Tuesday morning disappeared down a dark hole of newsletters.
I’ve been toying with having a newsletter for many, many months, mainly because the likes of Facebook, Twitter, even this blog can all pull the plug on a whim and there’s all of my contacts on those platforms gone, poof!
Without any idea of where to start, I initially started a newsletter on Substack, but soon realised that unless my subscribers paid for the privilege of original material, anything I put on Substack would be public.
I looked at Mailchimp and Mailerlite but they looked so complicated. In the end, I moved to Sendinblue, which also looked very complicated. But when I went to check in on my Sendinblue account, I noticed that I had some new subscribers.
Well, what’s the point in having a newsletter that folk can subscribe to if there’s no newsletter? So I ummed and ahhed and cogitated and basically tried to forget about it.
For a start, I didn’t know what to include that can’t already be read for free on my blog. I wanted to offer everyone a free something for signing up, but I couldn’t work out how to do that without opening myself up to emails being forwarded on to friends and family and loads of people I don’t even know getting a free book.
And then I had my a-ha! moment. I would include a short story in with the newsletter. I’d offer a free short story to new subscribers, then send it to the existing subscribers so they didn’t feel left out. Then every month, with every regular issue of the newsletter (not any ad-hoc newsletters in between), subscribers would get another free story, or a serial episode.
As I started to think of what else I could include, the list gradually grew longer and longer. And so Tuesday morning was spent learning how to replace the original welcome email with a new one that includes the short story, and then creating a new post for existing subscribers that would also include the same short story.
So… if you’re a subscriber and you didn’t get your Newsletter News email (which is a different version of the blog post I also wrote on Tuesday morning), let me know in the comments below. Likewise, if you subscribe and don’t get the new welcome message that now includes the first free short story, again, let me know in the comments below.
If you still haven’t signed up and would like to, please follow this link or use the form below to sign up to the mailing list and receive your first free short story.
And don’t forget, you can unsubscribe at any time.
I’ve decided to go down the newsletter route rather than charge people to use Substack or on Patreon as there are other ways people can support me if they want to:
- Read my stories on Medium – if you’re a paid-up member, I’ll get a small fee for every story or article you read.
- Read my stories on Vocal – you don’t have to be a member and I’ll still get a small fee for every story or article you read.
- You can buy me a coffee on Ko-fi.
- You can buy me a coffee on Buy Me A Coffee.
- And you can, of course, buy any of my books.
So there’s where my morning went. I was determined to tick off some of my own work, though, so I turned my attention to a couple of quick jobs to take me up to dinner time. These consisted of the daily competitions, and then I outlined the new short story I woke up with a week ago last Sunday.
This short story needs to be on its way on Friday, or I’ll miss the Christmas time slot for this particular market. If it is too late, or if it’s rejected, then I’ll rework it to go to the other weekly market, which is currently considering material suitable for September and October. By the time they get to Christmas, it should be ready.
And if they say no, then I’ll add it to my own publishing schedule. I already have the book cover for when I’m ready.
I spent the bulk of the afternoon doing the editing job – did I mention that this one’s a biggie? Then, because the poet was ducking backwards and forwards for an international corporate event his firm’s hosting in Doncaster, I started to proofread Diary of a Pussycat over my tea. I only managed the first 3 months (August to October 2015) but already I’m asking myself, ‘Why aren’t you still doing that now?’
The next job I opened was an old Scrivener file to see if I can find a good screenshot to use as an illustration in Diary of a Pussycat, as I refer to one in the text. While I was there I discovered I could open up one of the sidebars and have the index card with the outline for that chapter at the top, and add pictures of either people or locations in the bottom. For years I’ve wondered what I could use all of that ‘notes’ space for. Now I know.
I did then open up the ghostwriting job and was mithering a bit over the names of the characters and the location, just as the poet called to let me know he was on his way home. It was already 9pm and I was still at my desk. So I made an executive decision and closed everything down.
The weather was glorious on Wednesday morning, so before I did any work, I had half an hour in the garden, pottering, weeding and hanging out washing. When I came in, I wrote up Thursday’s portable garden post and had a quick whizz through the daily competitions.
Then I had an hour with Diary of a Pussycat, using the same technique as before – just checking through the next three months (November 2015 – January 2016). And then, instead of writing the first draft of the story I was planning to write, I started to write the second draft of another story. I only got halfway through it in the time allocated, but if I can make a couple of things work, it may go off to one of the magazines over here.
I had a nice salad for dinner, over which I pondered whether to start the ghostwriting next or do another hour on the editing. The editing won, but it meant completely disconnected from the internet to speed Word up a bit. I worked for a solid 50-minute pomodoro, then brought the washing in during my 10-minute break.
When I went and switched the internet on again for a quick surf, there was an email waiting for me from Red Magazine telling me I’d won a £100 voucher to spend on the Feel Amazing app, which would buy me 2 years’ membership. (Yay!) It was about time I won another competition. There was also an email off a diet app I’d trialled for £1 and cancelled, giving me a code for 6 months’ free membership.
I disconnected from the internet again, and started another pomodoro.
After staring at the blank file for a while, I reconnected to the internet and started to search for the location in the story and the surrounding area. Once I’d got a feel for that, I logged into the British Newspaper Archive and selected a random date, looking for both Bath and London newspapers. I settled on one day and downloaded both papers.
I disconnected from the internet again and spent some time scouring the stories in the papers, just to get a feel for the period. Then I returned to Scrivener.
I’m so busy at the moment that I’ve reverted to my pomodoro technique again. Mine is set for 50-minute sprints, plus 10-minute break, with a long 60-minute break every 4 pomodoros. The one I like best is an app, Brain Focus.
Saying that, I was late arriving at my desk on Thursday due to a plumber arriving before 8:30am and hanging around until around 10:30pm. In that time I got up, dressed, fed us both, made a cuppa for the plumber, hung out some washing, and did another bucket of weeding in the garden. The poet was working at home too and when I told him I’d done some weeding, he promptly went out and did a bit as well. He filled about 6 buckets, but he was pulling bigger weeds.
When I finally landed at my desk, the first thing I did was start a pomodoro and clear the daily competitions (didn’t enter any). Then I used the rest of the pomodoro to publish the next book on the list.
After a pomodoro 10-minute break, I decided to change the book cover. The poet didn’t like the one I’d already made much, and by the time I went back to Canva, the picture I’d chosen had gone, which makes me wonder if the photographer perhaps didn’t get hold of a model release agreement.
I used the rest of that pomodoro faffing with the publishing schedule spreadsheet, adding extra columns and ticks for all of the various collections I’m adding the shorter stories to.
It was dinner time then, and I took the best part of my 60 minutes for that. Then I started another pomodoro and carried on proofreading Diary of a Pussycat. When the pomodoro ended, I was so close to finishing the job that I cheated and skipped the next 10-minute break, using less than 20 minutes of the next pomodoro to finish the book.
This meant I could tick today’s ‘proofreading’ task as ‘complete’ and delete Friday’s task. Next week I start the electronic revisions and adding in the new exercises.
Then I updated this blog post and skipped ahead to the next 10-minute break. Honestly, I really do ❤️ the pomodoro technique. For the rest of the day I was editing.
I’m only doing client work today – editing and ghostwriting. I’ll be spending at least one day at the weekend ghostwriting too. My deadline is Sunday.
Have a fantastic weekend!