Tuesday 27 June 2023: A shiny new toy

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Friday was a bit of a lazy day in which I didn’t get through a lot of work, but I did do some things. Like hanging washing on the line, putting crocks in the dishwasher, that kind of thing.


I started to read the next book for NetGalley, alongside the Fiction River Pulse Pounders anthology I started for the writing workshop I’m joining in July. It was weekly scan time for the computer, and I listened to not one but two podcasts. One was shorter than usual, the other one was for subscribers only.

Then it was the weekly virus scan and backup. I copied and pasted Going, Going, Gone into Medium, reformatted it, proof-read it, and submitted it to a publication. And I updated my record of submissions spreadsheet.

But then I fell down a rabbit hole. I was surfing through all of the writing workshops I currently have with Dean Wesley Smith looking for one in particular. This one was on a Kickstarter I plugged to death on Twitter, Facebook and here. Not because I’m an affiliate or anything, but because I wanted the Pop-Up workshop on publishing your own magazine.

When I found it, I thought I’d just have a quick look at the first sessions, and I ended up watching all of it. Ten episodes. More than an hour of content. And it was so good it reminded me that I’d started my own magazine back in 2021 right before I went on my mad book publishing schedule.

I was so stoked about this that I had a good, long, hard think about things and I ended up waffling on about it in yesterday’s blog post. The post was supposed to be a normal catchup of what I did on Friday. But it went on so long that I decided to make it a dedicated blog post.

When I finished the blog post I had a look at InDesign from Adobe. I knew the poet had one of the packages from Adobe, but I didn’t remember him ever mentioning InDesign. If he didn’t have it, then I wasn’t prepared to pay the price tag for something that I’ll have to pay for again year after year. So I looked instead for some alternatives and two sprung up.

First of all QuarkXpress, which is what I did my journalism training on back in the day. For years it was the market leader, but it was always price-prohibitive. And while it’s a one-off fee now, rather than an annual subscription, it’s still a bit price-prohibitive.

The other one was Affinity Publisher. This is also a one-off payment and you can choose to buy one or more of the three products (Publisher, Designer and Photo) for about £68 each ($87), or you can buy all three of them for £160 (apx $203). One-off payment. Pay once.

I’ve used Affinity before but if we had InDesign, then there was no need for me to buy Publisher.

The poet’s package doesn’t include InDesign. So the next rabbit hole I fell down was a video tutorial on how to use Affinity Publisher… Well, this video was nearly three hours long and I still had my 200 words to do. And by now it was teatime. (Yes, it really did take me ALL day to do just those few things.)

We had a takeaway for tea, I went to do my 200 words (Diary of a Pussycat), I revised three chapters and wrote the exercises, adding 531 words to the mix (current tally = 44,597 words), and I blew my 200-words trumpet on Twitter.

And that was it. That’s all I did on Friday.


I’d asked the poet on Friday night if we could go to the seaside on Saturday and he was a bit non-committal. But when we woke up and he checked the weather, he suddenly said: “If we’re going to Filey we need to get up now.” Of course, I got up and we drove to the seaside, where we had a chip dinner (I had scampi, the poet had haddock, the dog had a sausage) and an ice cream for pudding (doggy ice cream for the dog).

It was a bit warm for Rufus, but he managed to pull himself along on his bike anyway, although once we’d eaten and the poet had taken some pictures, the poet did go and get the car and come and pick us up. I couldn’t have walked back up the hill we’d come down, let alone the dog. And as it happened, it almost killed the poet when he went to get the car.

When we got back I settled down at the computer to write my 200 words, but I ended up carrying on with today’s blog post first. Then, because I was so close to the end, I chose to add my words to Diary of a Pussycat again. I revised three more chapters, wrote three more lots of exercises, and added 413 words. Current tally = 45,010 words, and there were only two chapters left plus the end matter.


Saturday night through to Sunday morning was very humid and not very comfortable. We were glad the new bed had a latex topper and not a memory foam topper. We would have been way to warm with memory foam.

We were up fairly early on Sunday, probably due to the weather. I put some washing through, made us all breakfast, did a meal plan for this week, wrote a shopping list for this week, and I hung two washloads out. While I hung the washing out, the poet harvested the strawberries, which meant I could cross strawberries off the list.

Then we went shopping. First to Iceland to get some frozen food. (Fail.) Then to the bargain shop to get some mealworms and some spray paint for a project the poet’s working on. And then to the supermarket to get the weekly shopping. As we pulled back onto the drive, it started to rain. So I dashed out to bring the washing in (it was dry) while the poet emptied the shopping out of the car.

We had something to eat (another continental lunch) and then we put the shopping away. And we had biblical rain for about ten minutes before a strong breeze blew it away.

I sat down at my desk to work on Diary of a Pussycat, but I remembered I wanted to order some paperback books and some new Post-it! notes.

The books I ordered from Waterstones; the sticky notes I ordered from Amazon, but only because I was testing to make sure they’d removed Prime from my basket, which they always auto-add. It took me a couple of takes, but yup, they’d removed it. So now I have three packs of ten pads of sticky notes in lots of different colours.

I downloaded a 30-day trial for the Affinity suite and we both wanted to play with it – shiny new toy! But it had to wait until after I’d worked on Diary of a Pussycat, which was up next. However, despite working on three chapters and writing new exercises, this time I LOST 31 words due to cutting out end matter that won’t exist in this book.

BUT it’s now FINISHED! And it’s gone into cooling ahead of proofreading. I would have printed it off, but I didn’t seem to have any paper, so that will be another trip to the shop some time this week.

Final tally = just under 45,000 words.

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