And so the new year begins… with new NOTEBOOKS!

new notebooks

Christmas and New Year are over but today is still a holiday in the UK. We were going to go out as we should have gone out on Sunday but didn’t because I’m full of cold and with a snot monster in residence. So we said we’d go out today, and then we remembered that I was awaiting a delivery. Two deliveries. And one of them was… new NOTEBOOKS!

The other delivery was toner cartridges for the printer, but I wasn’t as excited about those as I was about the notebooks.

You see, I received two of the notebooks as a Christmas present from one of the kids and his partner. Two lovely hard-backed A4 notebooks. And it set me thinking how to use them to their best advantage, rather than writing a date on the first page and then never using them again because they’re already ‘spoiled’.

I discovered that the A4 notebooks both had matching A5 notebooks, and that set the cogs turning even faster, because over the holiday I read this book by Shéa MacLeod.

In Write Novels Fast: writing faster with art journaling, MacLeod explains how starting each new writing project with an art journal helps her to write much quicker.

MacLeod likes a book with a spine, for reasons that are entirely her own, but I decided to go for the spiral binding so that the books would both lie flat and fold back on themselves. I’m right-handed, so I do find it easier to write on the right-hand page, but folding it back on itself helps to write on the left-hand page too. However, I’m also not averse to writing on one side only then flipping the book over and coming back the other way, upside down.

I also find that I miss writing stories out by hand at first, I miss that hand-brain connection. Yes, it takes longer to have a finished product and, yes I do type faster than I hand-write, much faster. But I feel that what I’m typing isn’t as good as when I hand-write.

Now, not only did I find matching A5 books to go with the A4 books, I also found two more sets as well, so I ordered those with Christmas money I received off one of the other kids and her family. I added a bit to it and voila! Four A5 books and four matching A4 books.

So, after a great deal of thinking and navel-gazing, I think I’ve worked out a process that will hopefully work, along with a plan of work that covers both my own work and client work.

a) I’ve decided that I want no more than two client jobs on the go at the same time. I don’t mind at least one, but I don’t want three or more.

b) I class NetGalley book reviews as client work, but I’ll have at least one book on the go at all times. (I have a HUGE backlog to catch up with.)

c) I’ve decided that of my own work, I’d like to have one fiction project in PLANNING, one fiction project in WRITING and one fiction project in EDITING.

d) I’ll also have one non-fiction project on the go.

e) And I’ll add one short story at a time to the mix.

But how will I use the books?

Well, I’ll use those for my own fiction. I’ll still do the ghostwriting and the non-fiction writing direct on the screen as I find both work just as well by doing that. But for my own fiction, I’ll use the books.

The A5 version will be used for the planning journal (mine won’t be an art journal, but there’s so much other useful stuff I’ll take from MacLeod), and the A4 version will be for my first hand-written draft. I’ve calculated that with each book running to 140 pages (280 sides), then I can probably fit one novel or two novellas or several short stories in one A4 book.

List alert!

Work starts tomorrow for me, and here is what I’ll be working on this week:

  • review 1 book for NetGalley (client work)
  • start reading new book for NetGalley (client work)
  • ghostwrite Book 12 Part 2 (client work)
  • edit Book 1 of the year (client work)
  • plan The Beast Within (PLANNING)
  • finish writing Catch the Rainbow (writing)
  • finish writing Project Management for Writers: Gate 2 (non-fiction book)

I wrote a good chunk of The Beast Within by the seat of my pants for a NaNo, but I still have a way to go and have decided to sit down and think it through a bit more. This will be the first novel that goes into one of the new A5 books and then I’ll write it by hand, from scratch, in the matching A4 book. So The Beast Within will be my PLANNING project.

I’ve also visited Catch the Rainbow several times and I do have a complete draft. I have an extra four or five extra chapters to add in and, of course, the real life case this story is based on changed dramatically right before the pandemic and I have to build that in somehow. So Catch the Rainbow will be my WRITING project until I have a complete draft I’m satisfied with. This is currently being typed, so will then move into EDITING once it’s cooled. (And for editing, also read polishing and proofreading.)

Aside from the book I have to edit for the editing client, I also have the previous two books to proofread as well as consolidate the proofreaders’ amendments and the authors’ amendments with my own. I already have the author amendments in for both, but I’m still awaiting the proofreader amendments. Each of these will be ONE of my designated client jobs.

And finally, once this week is out of the way and I’ve settled back into a routine, I’ll choose a short story to add to the mix.

So, there you have it. This is how I intend to start 2023. Keep everything crossed that it works.

Book review tomorrow, then back as normal on Wednesday.

4 thoughts on “And so the new year begins… with new NOTEBOOKS!

  1. I love notebooks, and the UK has great ones. I love the look of those.

    I just wrote, over on The Process Muse, about getting back to writing in longhand on certain projects! I definitely feel more connected that way.

    1. These notebooks have an app to go with them too! (For the appy clappy…)

      Writing by hand certainly makes it more personal.

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