Wednesday 28 June 2023: The machine worked but the tech got me

Image by MiraCosic from Pixabay

I finished playing with Affinity Publisher on Sunday evening just as Elton John was finishing his set at Glastonbury. I will definitely use Publisher and I have used Affinity Photo in the past, when it was still called Serif. I’m not sure I’ll get much use out of Affinity Design, unless… I can use it to create maps of my worlds and, maybe, flyers.

Canva does pretty much everything I need as far as covers are concerned, and on Sunday I created my first blank cover and used it in my Publisher test file.

So I’m not sure I’ll get much use out of Design, but it’s so cheap for all three, I think I’m going to go for it. The main reason I want Affinity it to create pdfs for magazines and books where I want more than one column of text and more than a small picture. My next challenge will be to see if Draft2Digital will work with the pdfs… but that’s a challenge for another day at the moment.

I couldn’t print out Diary of a Pussycat because I didn’t have enough paper. The poet said he would get me some on his way home from work on Monday.


After a bit of a late night on Sunday and a busy-ish sea-air-filled weekend, we struggled to get up on Monday. The poet went off to work and I did my usual social media and email catchup over breakfast. I also read two chapters of the current NetGalley book. I was just about to get ready for work when an email flashed up on my screen.

At the beginning of June I pretty much decided that I wasn’t going to chase any work for a while, and I was just going to concentrate on my own work and any work that landed without me having to chase it. I set up a system of work for my short stories. They might start with a germ on an idea or a prompt for an assignment and I would write the first draft and send it off to wherever the prompt or assignment was for.

If I received any feedback on the story, I’d consider incorporating it during the first revision process, and when I was happy with the story, I’d remove it from whatever online forum it was in and send it off to market. Market could be one of my two weekly short fiction markets, or it could be a call for submissions. But every time it came back from that market, it would go back into the revision process and I’d send it to the next on the list.

I wrote a short story in April called Paper Roses, writing the very first draft on the day of submission, and I submitted it to 12 Stories in 12 Weeks. The prompt was ‘paper’ and the target word-count was 1,500 words, a length that was unsuitable for either of my two weekly markets. After I had received my required four comments, I revisited the story but 1,500 words was the length it wanted to be.

Fortunately, I knew one of the markets would consider it for one of their specials or for one of the annuals. There was no way I could get it up to 1,800, 1,900 or 2,000 words without a load of padding, which are three of the popular lengths. So I targeted it at the one market that might use it and I submitted it on 2 June. As I worked on the various incarnations of the story, it worked its way across my power board.

Three weeks later, on Monday, that email that came in at the end of my breakfast was the acceptance email. Yay!

This is the first short story they’ve accepted from me since my previous dedicated fiction editor retired, which was before lockdown. Way before lockdown. I was assigned to a different editor, but they were all working from home and trying to catch up on a massive backlog, so I didn’t send them anything for a while.

I started following the magazine ages ago, and a couple of months ago I started to join in with their weekly writing hour on a Tuesday. Last week they followed me back, and I did wonder…

Of course I had to go and let the various communities I’m involved with know, and the poet. But what a lovely way to start the week. It would be even lovelier if that was a sign of things to come during the rest of the week, such as our cat coming home, for example…

I listened to episode 9 of the podcast and shared the link. Then I started to play with my spreadsheets.

The printer paper arrived, so I printed off Diary of a Pussycat, the new editing job, and the two proofreading jobs. That took a bit of time. And a bit of ink. One was a MASSIVE proofreading job to print off and that took time too. And a LOT of ink.

I didn’t do any new writing on Monday.

The power board this week
The power board has changed slightly since last time. Diary of a Pussycat moved from ‘revising’ into ‘cooling’. I’ve printed it off and it will move into ‘proofreading’. But at the moment it’s in ‘cooling’. And a new short story that’s currently just a date made it into ‘percolating’. This story is for 12 Stories in 12 Months, so I can’t really reveal the prompt. As soon as I have a title, I’ll share that instead.

Once a piece of work has worked its way across the power board to ‘publishing’, it will jump onto my content calendar spreadsheet, which I’m currently updating so I have a separate page with everything on, where it’s been, and where it’s yet to go. I might have to rename this my power spreadsheet, just to keep in with the theme.


It was yesterday when the tech got me. I’ve been having problems with Buffer ever since I changed my Twitter handle. Not with Buffer per se, but with WordPress auto-posting via Buffer. Or not, as it turned out. The techies at Buffer spent a lot of time looking into it for me and everything was working at their end, which meant the problem was either with WordPress or with the plugin.

I tried lots of things. I removed all of my channels from Buffer and added them again. I deactivated the plugin and reactivated it again. I deleted the plugin and installed it again. And I made sure that everywhere on WordPress the Twitter handle was the correct one. But still it didn’t work. Apologies to subscribers to the blog who received several test emails from me on Tuesday. That was me trying everything out.

The last straw was when WordPress still wouldn’t post a Twitter update to the Buffer calendar but Facebook and LinkedIn also fell over!

And that is when the tech got me.

I submitted a ticket with the plugin folk and resigned myself to just having to share posts manually while it’s sorted out. I really didn’t have the time or the patience to keep looking into this. I have stuff to do, stories to write, and a life to live.

Because I was looking into this tech issue, I missed the PF writing hour, getting there ten minutes too late. I responded to the questions anyway.

Meanwhile, the plugin folk came back to me with a fix that eventually worked, so there’s the second good thing to happen this week. My Buffer is working again…

I’d still like the third good thing this week to be the return of our cat.

Due to something happening on the M1 motorway, the poet had to abort a trip, cancel a meeting, and turn around at the next opportunity. He came in bearing a stick of French bread. I made him a ham sandwich and me a ham salad, and I listened to podcast episode 10 over dinner.

After dinner I wanted to get back on with my 200 words a day before I started the mammoth proofreading job, so out came Catch the Rainbow. I rewrote one scene and added 786 words. Current tally = 18,626 words.

And then I had another play with Affinity Publisher.

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