Tuesday 24 Jan 2023: I had a weekend off!

I might have had a raving busy week last week, but one thing is for sure: Being busy in the week and completing all of your jobs mean you get to take the weekend off. And that’s absolutely what I did. There was a bit of an intention to do a some noodling on one of the novel ideas or a short story, but I ran out of time and didn’t beat myself up. After all, I’d worked hard all week and it was the weekend. I didn’t give up the rat race to work at the weekend, but I’m working more weekends now than I ever did, and something needs to change there.

On Saturday, it was nice to get up and not worry about catching up with something or meeting a deadline. We had a lazy start – the poet’s throat infection had come back in the week anyway and he was both taking it easy and recovering. The only thing we did on Saturday was the weekly shopping. When we got home I read a few chapters of the current Travis McGee book I’m on.

I’ve been reading some of the reviews on the likes of Goodreads about the Travis McGee books and I think some of them are way out of order, calling McGee a serial rapist and a misogynist, and saying that his female characters are simply sex objects, etc. Some reviews are even suggesting that the period in which they were written is not an excuse for such writing.

*** personal opinion alert ***
Well, I actually think that John D MacDonald was way ahead of his time in identifying and highlighting misogyny and male chauvinism. I think that while some of his characters *are* weak (willed, not in the actual characterisation), many of his female characters very much have minds of their own. He also has some thoughtful moments about how the world in general could and should be improved, some of which have actually happened since he wrote them.

These books were written in the swinging 60s and, really, if you’re going to read a book that was written in the past, you have to accept that they are a product of their time and cannot be erased from history.

Oh, and I wish people would stop trawling these books looking for something to complain about. There are millions of other books out there, some of which must surely appeal more. Do everyone a favour and read one of those instead.
*** end of personal opinion ***

We were up a bit earlier on Sunday but, again, it was a doss day. The poet baked an Eve’s pudding and he had a potter in the garden rearranging the bird table and some of the other things out there. But Leeds FC were on the telly and he wanted to watch that. I think he also watched the Sunderland v Middlesbrough derby and the Arsenal v Manchester United game, although I have the impression that he turned the Arsenal game off.

While he was doing that, I was reorganising my cross-stitch and knitting bags. I sorted out the next two cross-stitch projects (one to finish and one that’s brand-new), and I knitted a few rows of my self-patterning cushion cover and a few rows of my bright red Aran jumper, just to get me back into it and before the decent light went. I can knit the cushion cover in front of the telly but the Aran jumper needs a bit more concentration. Then I read some more of my book and the poet sat and listened to one of his audio books. It was a peaceful Sunday.

Back to work on Monday and we were late up again. The poet has an excuse, he’s not been very well. But me? I think I’m just being lazy, although I have been very tired as well. We’ve worked out a way to stop the dog from interrupting my sleep several times a night – at the moment he’s only waking me up once, if that – and on Sunday night I did have a good eight hours’ sleep. I didn’t have a good night Saturday night, though, with a hundred things clamouring in my brain for attention. After two or three hours, I had to have a stern word with myself before just concentrating on my breathing, and I did go back to sleep. But perhaps I’m still catching up from that and the late shift last week.

The first thing I did was go through a tray of paperwork and throw most of it away, keeping the reminders I need to keep to remind me to do things. I started this blog post. I went off and created the graphic too (for here and for Instagram). And I started the daily competitions. I alternated between those for the first pomodoro. I stopped myself from going down someone else’s rabbit hole on Post.News, but not until after I’d already started to descend…

Since I started working in pomodoros rather than time slots (I write them in the diary in time slots, but that doesn’t mean I stick to those times), I’ve been getting more done. I’ve been working for 50 minutes (I get more done in a straight 50 minutes than I do in 2 x 25 minutes) then having a 10-minute break. I can get a lot more other stuff done in a 10-minute break than I can in 2 x 5-minute breaks.

And since I stopped being specific about what precisely I’m working on within one job, I’m also getting more done. For example, instead of writing ‘GW1 Book 12 Part 2 Chapter 11’ in the diary, I’m writing ‘GW1 Book 12 Part 2’, and that’s it. Instead of writing ‘Catch the Rainbow: Scene 15′ I’m writing ‘Catch the Rainbow’. And instead of writing ‘Project Management for Writers: Gate 2 proofreading’ I’m writing ‘Project Management for Writers: Gate 2‘.

This is because I might want to do a read-through to remind myself what I wrote before or I need to plant a plant for something to work later in the story, or I might have had an idea for a new character or a different scene in the novel, or I might create a cover for a writers’ guide, which is just as important as proofreading a chapter. It’s working, though.

Over the weekend I received a request to reboot my Wednesday Writing Prompts, something I should have done twice last year but didn’t get around to. So I started to collect together my dates and calendars and I thought about where I could fit ‘date work’ in my schedule again. I’m currently updating the date work folder in any case, so I can do both of those things at the same time. As a lot of work goes into the writing prompts, I’m going to to also drop these posts onto the actual and potential revenue-earning platforms, such as Medium, Ko-Fi and Post as well as on here.

I skipped ahead and put my Monkey Dust admin hat on and created posters and graphics for their next gig. I created the event on Facebook too, invited a load of people, and shared their most popular video on there. I also updated the gigs-available post for 2023 (at the time of writing, they’re down to 4 left, and there were already 2 enquiries). I shared Monday’s Diane’s Gig List post too, for Julie, who’s taken over running it.

Last week I put my WIP pile away in the WIP drawer because I was running out of desk space. Because it’s not there looking at me, I keep forgetting about it. Fortunately, it’s now an entry in the diary as well as on ClickUp, so I was reminded to get Diary of a Pussycat out next and carry on with the editing. This book was supposed to be coming out at the end of March but because the January book was running late I brought it forward. I have between now and the 31st to get it finished and uploaded.

I ended up doing publicity and marketing work for Diary of a Scaredy Cat first, and by the time I’d done the graphics for all four books and shared Book 1 all over again, and gone down *another* rabbit hole, it was the end of the day and too dark to do anything else. We had an early tea, because I had a Zoom workshop with Scrivener.

Today needs to be better.


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4 comments

  1. Busy, busy! The older I get, the less slotted schedule details I like. It’s working better for me to have blocks of time where I do X task, but don’t limit what to do in the task. I”m more productive, because I can find the flow of the project easier.

    Too often people criticize a book without context, and acting as though their opinion is more than an opinion. If they don’t like a book, or an author, then drop it and move on. There’s plenty to read out there. And even if we disagree, from our perspective, on something that’s considered classic in a genre, we can learn from it.

    How was the Scrivener webinar? Helpful? I need to book some time this spring to really take time with Scrivener. I started using Drama Queen for scripts, though, and absolutely love it. So much more responsive than Trelby.

    1. I thought the webiner would be about using Save the Cat in Scrivener, but it was all about Save the Cat and the various beats. it was interesting, and it was free, but it wasn’t what I was expecting. Scrivener run webinars throughout the year so you might drop lucky and spot one that fits in with your schedule.

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