Thursday 1 June 2023: The month ahead

Image created in CanvaPro by Diane Wordsworth

I love daisies. They’re my favourite flower. At the weekend, the lawn was covered with patches of the pretty little things. Then the lawn mower came out… Still, they always come back.

This time last year, Thursday’s post would have been about the portable garden this week. In case you missed it, those posts are now our garden this week and they can be found here in their new home… So far, there’s just the one but I’m not going to write another one this week. The next update will be next Thursday and I’ll link to it from here too.

Yesterday started with me uploading a few book reviews to the secret sugarholic blog and scheduling them to publish over the next few days. I had to do new graphics for two of them as well as I didn’t have any (you can probably tell which ones when they’re all up). But two of the graphics were already done. In future, new secret sugarholic blog posts will probably be on Tuesdays, or that’s when they’re scheduled at least. But I wanted to populate it with something for now at least.

In the near future, one of my menu items needs to drop off the main menu, because we’re hoping to start a new project. I’m still toying with the design and the name of that blog, but it will follow our trials and tribulations for a new adventure. I’m keeping the alphabet adventurers because we will be reviving that in the coming months, but this will be a new adventure that we might be able to enjoy alongside the alphabet ones. I expect it will be ‘social links’ that goes, as we still use all of the others and I can easily move that into a sidebar widget.

Oh yes, it’s all go here in Wordsworth Heights… I’m being facetious there, of course. It’s a bungalow. But the village is on top of a big hill.

I settled down to work through some writing, but I was at a loss what to start first. In fact, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed. It’s all very well coming up with a writing schedule and deciding what to do when during the day (writing, brainstorming, proofreading, etc), but I wanted a good mix of a bit of everything rather than lumping all of the writing, say, in one day as that would wear me out.

So I pulled out a blank calendar for June and started to write things in. I halved the days into AM and PM, and I put client work in the PM (in blue) as well as things like ‘errands’ and ‘shopping’ on a Friday afternoon and ‘yoga’ on a Monday morning (in black). I was able to fill in things like ‘blog post; the garden this week’ on Wednesdays to publish on Thursdays (in green). But when it came to deciding what projects to actually work on, when I have so many, I just stared and stared at the calendar.

Over dinner I had a break and caught up with a few more online workshop revisions when the course leader suddenly said something along the lines of “don’t forget to schedule publishing in”. And that made me think I should also be scheduling in things like covers and marketing, which crowded my brain even more.

I tried to work it out but as soon as the poet came home from his work trip (half a day early), I pounced on him, explained my dilemma, and being the project management expert in our house, he was on it straight away and on my whiteboard which, so far, didn’t have anything on it. (It all came down when we moved.)

After an hour we had all of my immediate projects laid out in a workable schedule and we could see at a glance things like where the bottleneck was (the writing part…) and where there were lots of things bunching up (in the brainstorming and planning parts).

When we had sorted out some semblance of organisation and continuity he went off to cook tea while I made a neater version of the board.

One day I’ll write up the process in more detail. I might even write a book about it, but this will be just one book and not a series of five. For now, though, it’s helped me sort out my head a little and I can see how to move forward.

I still need to transfer it to my diary, and I still need to include things like diary work, date work, admin, finance, etc, in the schedule. But already I’ve replicated the system on ClickUp and I’m looking at using a gantt chart for when I’m at my desk, but still keep the at-a-glance board running in the office. That way my ‘project manager’ will also be able to see how I’m getting along.

For the month ahead, then, I’d like to crack on with the following (not necessarily in order):

  • finish editing the Taliban book and send it back to the author for comment/responses
  • write the next short story for 12 Stories in 12 Months
  • proofread the Vietnam book and consolidate proofreader and author amendments with mine
  • polish Paper Roses and send it out
  • finish revising Killer Queen and get it sent off as a workshop assignment
  • Monkey Dust admin every Monday
  • finish typing Catch the Rainbow
  • write Fireworks at Killiecrankie
  • write A Death in the Night (it didn’t get done in time to go off to the call for submissions, so I’ll work on the twee version)
  • finish revising Diary of a Pussycat
  • start writing Project Management for Writers: Gate 3 – How?
  • revise all of the online workshops I’ve already watched and made notes on thus far
  • write a sugarholic blog every Monday (for Tuesday publication)
  • write an our garden this week blog every Wednesday (for Thursday publication)
  • finish planning The (new) Fool
  • attend a yoga class every Monday morning in June
  • continue planning The Beast Within (it’s a writealong for the project management books now)
  • serialise Project Management for Writers: Gate 1 on Substack every Monday behind a paywall
  • post a short story a week on Medium
  • post the same short story a week on Vocal
  • finish the NetGalley books I had as holiday reading and write the reviews
  • draft the June newsletter as I go, and as the pictures come in for the holiday off the poet

As well as all the usual admin stuff. I’m holding off on the cosy mystery brainstorming until I have a more manageable WiP, but if I get the urge to noodle, I will.

I’ll leave the list there for now, before it scares me off again. And I’ll have an update at the end of June with any extras as well.

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