Monday 24 April 2023: Beautiful flowers

Once again the animals allowed us to sleep through and on Friday we didn’t wake up until 8am! The poet had to get up and dash around because he had a morning filled with meetings. Because Friday was a bit of a faff day for me, I had a far more leisurely start.

When I did finally make it to my desk I started by scanning in some photographs of our parents’ garden. Due to various reasons, the garden in Solihull hadn’t been touched since late summer/early autumn last year and it was looking a bit overgrown. So my sister arranged for a couple of lads to come and clear it to get it looking a bit more up to scratch. She sent me the pictures and I promised to send her some from Mom’s box of papers, so that she had electronic images at least of how it used to look.

Mom loved her garden and it was she who did much of the work while Dad worked his day job during the day and ‘foreigners’ of an evening. Even when she had two jobs of her own to juggle, she still loved the garden. And when she became too ill to keep on top of it, Dad made an effort on the patio so that she could still see beautiful flowers from the living room.

I don’t know if these pictures are of Dad’s pots or ones that Mom did, but either way, they’re still beautfiul and give you some idea of how the patio looked in the summer.

In between his meetings, the poet worked on his old computer, removing and saving everything he wanted to keep and deleting everything he didn’t want. Son #1 has just gone freelance and he needs a desktop computer, so as we’d just upgraded the poet’s, he said he could have his old one. The poet had his new laptop set up on his desk saving files on there and his old desktop was perched on top of the tumble dryer in the kitchen and he was saving files there too. In between all of that, he tried to keep half an eye on the snooker, but he was working as well.

I did my usual weekly scan and backup while the poet made us our dinner. It was raining and we were able to look out onto the garden watching the birds in a frantic feeding frenzy. We’ve so far seen 17 different species of bird in our garden including a fleeting visit from a jackdaw on Friday. I entered a handful of competitions (five), surfed the jobs board (none), completed surveys (two – I usually go until my first accepted survey and then stop when I’ve completed it, because if I keep getting rejected, I stop getting compensation points, but the first one is a daily poll, so I did well to hit lucky first shot), and I worked out this week’s schedule and diary.

I had a tidy up of my Twitter account, removing any followers I’d normally block. I was going through blocking them when I saw I could just remove them as followers, but as I’d already blocked and unblocked them, they’d already been removed as followers too. If I don’t want strange people following me in the future, I’ll lock my account. But for now I’ll just remove anyone I don’t want following me and block any who are persistent.

I had notifications for three comments on the 12 Stories in 12 Months, but only one was on this month’s submission. The other two were in reply to comments I’d made on their work. I thanked the person who said nice things about my 500 words and then went to have a look at his submission and returned the compliment. The next prompt is already up, and this one is for 1,500 words, so I’ll need to build in a little more time for that one.

Before updating the diary, I first had to set up MS Teams for this morning’s meeting with the probate people. I had to register on there and download it and then the poet gave me a test run to make sure it was all working. I scanned my driving licence and proof of address and fired off an email to my sister asking if I need an invitation.

I also did some thinking ahead as May is only around the corner. I think I’m going to concentrate on my own writing only for the next six months. During that time I want to work on non-fiction, fiction and particularly short stories, both for the 12 Stories in 12 Months and for varous other calls for submissions. I’ll still look out for work, just in case, but I won’t spend a lot of time on that, and I’ll still do anything anyone sends me, such as the editing. But I think I’d like to be a proper freelance writer for a few months and this will take me to the end of October. It will be a bit of a challenge, I suppose, to see how it goes.

I’ll start with Duotrope. I’ve been paying a monthly subscription to Duotrope for several years and I never get around to actually sending anything off. So I’ll see which ones take my fancy and work backwards from the deadline dates. I’ll see about sending something to the two fiction markets in the UK that publish my stories, perhaps one a month each. I really must start work on the short story assignments in the pop-up writing workshops I’ve ‘won’ by supporting various kickstarters.

Then there’s the non-fiction, such as the project management books and the cat diaries, and there are the novels. I need to work on a proper schedule to make sure I fit in a bit of everything but, more importantly, I want to start finishing things again.

Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch both advocate at least writing a short story a week. Start it on Monday and send it out on or before Friday. Smith will write a short story in a day and move on to the next one the next day. I do like to let my work cool for a short while, but I’m happy to give it a go… Saying that, I had a really good idea for a short story in the early hours of Friday morning. I could see the whole story played out in my imagination. Usually, ideas like that get written very quickly and sent out straight away. I could do with more of those, perhaps.

I had some good comments on my last month’s submission to 12 Stories in 12 Months and one of them was ‘This should be a book!’ It was a Marcie Craig story and the idea of turning it into a book is percolating at the back of my head. Dean Wesley Smith will often write a short story, package and sell it as a short story, and then later he’ll incorporate it into a novella at least. And sometimes as he’s writing it he already knows it should be a longer piece and he adjusts it to suit.

So, Friday was pretty much a faff day all around. Perhaps I should schedule one in every week.

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2 thoughts on “Monday 24 April 2023: Beautiful flowers

  1. Absolutely schedule one faff day per week. It makes a big difference! I’m glad you’re going to concentrate on your own work for a bit.

    I find that if I do my own work in the morning and client work/coverage in the afternoon, I can hit a decent balance on both (at least most of the time).

    1. I usually do the same, do my own work in the mornings and then client work in the afternoons. But then the client work started to take longer and longer and I had less and less time for my own work. I’m going back to the my work in the mornings and any client work in the afternoons, and if I don’t have any client work, then it’s more of my own work.

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