Monday 30 Jan 2023: bar graphs and pie charts

Image by Shafin Al Asad Protic from Pixabay

After I’d finished work on Thursday, I took my pile of short story notebooks into the living room to do some more consolidating, and I think I’m up to date now with all of the ideas, topics, and outlines. Story outlines will be transferred to a new book, I just have to decide if they’re transferred to the notebook I chose to fill up first, or the A5 hardback that goes with the matching A4 hardback.

The OCD keeps giving me a prod, telling me that if I move them to the A5 hardback, then I also have to copy out all of the first drafts I already have into the matching A4 hardback. The OCD also tells me that if I leave all of the current outlines and first drafts where they are, then I should carry on and use an A4 hardback book that doesn’t match any of the A5 books. I did want to use this billy-no-mates A4 book for writing into the dark, i.e. no outlines, no plotting, just letting my imagination run riot and write a first draft cold, by the seat of my pants.

The jury’s still out and, for now, I’m just typing up the first drafts into a second draft and chucking out the notebook where the current first drafts are living.

I made a bit of a momentous decision overnight Thursday/Friday. It was one of those things that occupy your mind enough to stop you going back to sleep until you’ve had the ‘aha!’ moment. I had the ‘aha’ moment, and went straight back to sleep.

My worry was that I’d promised myself another book publication today as it was the last Monday of the month but I was still way off being ready with Diary of a Pussycat. However, Project Management for Writers: Gate 2 was done, and the poet had added his contribution too. All I had to do was go through, add in his comments, and then do a proofread.

That wasn’t going to give me a lot of time to get it ready and in the stores by today, though. It would get into most of them, if I didn’t do any other work on Friday and only worked on that. Unfortunately, I had other work to work on on Friday too, and I couldn’t really justify not working on that just so I met a self-imposed deadline.

Now, self-imposed deadlines are the absolute best, especially in the absence of any other deadline. But it wasn’t life or death and I wouldn’t lose the job if I missed it by a week.

But then I remembered that the last day of January is tomorrow. It might only be one day, but it gave me that bit of extra wiggle room to still get something published by the end of January. Plus, if I published Project Management for Writers: Gate 2 on the last working day of January, then I still had loads and loads of time to finish up Diary of a Pussycat so that it can be published on the last working day of February, and I could take the rest of the year from there.

This means that my projected publishing schedule, if I can get the writing and proofreading and everything else done in between, for the next few months could be as follows:

  • 31 Jan 2023 Project Management for Writers: Gate 2
  • 28 Feb 2023 Diary of a Pussycat
  • 31 Mar 2023 Project Management for Writers: Gate 3
  • 28 Apr 2023 Diary of a Cool Cat
  • 31 May 2023 Project Management for Writers: Gate 4
  • 30 Jun 2023 Diary of a Tiger
  • 31 Jul 2023 Project Management for Writers: Gate 5

Only the project management books need completely writing, although I do take the front and end matters from the previous book and update it for the current book. The Diary of… books are already written and collated. I just have to go through and edit them, format them, and add in the exercises.

Once I know how all of this is going, then I can revisit the schedule. There will be omnibus editions for both series, but I don’t want to release the Diary of… omnibus immediately. I do think, though, that the project management omnibus, with the front and end matters only used once, is more of a priority.

While I was writing Gate 2, I added in a writealong to use as an example: The Beast Within. Hopefully, by the time I get to the end of Gate 5 of the project management books, I’ll also have a complete draft of The Beast Within, and then in the future I can reproduce the omnibus with the writealong included at the end.

Back at my desk and once I’d done all of the social media stuff and the faff work, the next thing I did was go to my diary to add in a deadline for a writing competition… only I’d already beaten myself to it! It was already there, so I couldn’t faff on that. (Booo!) I went through the diary for the week, ticking off everything I’d done and putting a cross next to everything I didn’t do.

I pulled out Project Management for Writers: Gate 2 now that the publication date had been pulled forward again and started to proofread it. After three chapters, I went off in search of the project tracker I had before the current one, because although the older one doesn’t have the fancy bells and whistles that the newer one had, it does allow me to put in a page number goal for edits and revisions as well as a daily word-count target and actual, for up to 10 projects on one page.

The problem I had with the original spreadsheet, apart from it missing those few bells and whistles, was that I had to change the calendar every month. Today I had a go at just replacing the monthly calendar at the top of the page with a table with the days 1 to 31. The calendar days move; the table days don’t. All I had to do was create a sheet for January, and I could copy the blank one eleven times to the end of the year without having to re-input all the dates.

It still took up some time as I tried to remember how to change the colours in the bar charts to match the title colours (colour-coded), and I had to ask the poet to remind me in the end. Then after tea, and when he went off to set up for Friday night’s gig, I had a go at adding pie charts too. I sorted it, in the end, apart from a progress pie chart for goal v actual. I might need help again to create one of those, but otherwise, I was happy with it and was able to add in January’s figures.

By then it was time for me to go and get ready to join the poet at his gig (he was coming back to get me), and I had to really drag myself away from it all.

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