Monday 10 July 2023: Down came the rain

Image by Benfe from Pixabay

We were both really tired on Thursday night. Probably the previous few weeks catching up on us. I struggled to get up on Friday and was Very Late to my desk. I did catch up on social media and emails over breakfast, as well as read another chapter of one of my set books for the fantasy thriller writing workshop. So that was something at least.

Friday

Once I hit my desk the first job I did was write the latest NetGalley review. I’ll be taking a couple of weeks off, or three, from NetGalley while I read all of the set books for the workshop. We already watched the set film (Diehard), but I still have five books to read. Before I finished for the day on Thursday I went to check the website for the workshop and saw that our first assignment is there too. I have to write a short story of 3,000 – 7,000 words on a set topic by 16 July.

Fortunately, I already knew there would be a pre-course assignment and I factored it in on the short story writing schedule. I also suspected it would be at least 3,000 words. But I have it down as 14 July as I’m trying to have things done by the Friday before deadline at the latest.

This gives me just over a week to come up with an idea, brainstorm it, outline it and write the first draft. The tutor only wants to see first drafts. If my first draft is hand-written, though, she’ll be getting my first typed draft as they obviously want it in regular manuscript format and not handwritten. Because of the time constraints, I might skip the handwritten draft and go straight to typed, but it depends on if I’m at my desk or not.

Six working days to reach first draft of a story is actually luxury, because I believe there are two more assignments for this workshop and the lead times get shorter and shorter until for the third one we have only a 24-hour window in which to write our story. Again, the tutor strongly believes in starting a story on Monday and sending it out on Friday, so it will be good practice.

I set that to percolate at the back of my mind, added the deadline date to my story writing calendar. (I knew it would be before the course started, but now it was confirmed.) And I stuck stars on both my wall calendar and my story writing calendar to indicate I’d written words on the previous days. Green stars on the wall calendar (= Catch the Rainbow); red stars on the story writing calendar (= I wrote words that day).

For the wall calendar I have different coloured stars for different projects. Blue stars are for The Fool, yellow stars are for a short story – any short story – and red stars here will be for Project Management for Writers: Gate 3 when I start it. On the paper calendar in my short story folder, though, they’re all red stars, mostly because there are more red stars in the packs than any other colour.

Three of my own paperback books finally arrived in the post: Project Management for Writers: Gate 2Ten Short Stories: Wordsworth Shorts 11 to 20; and Ten Short Stories: Wordsworth Shorts 21 to 30.

I originally ordered these from the Book Depository because Amazon had already started putting Prime in my basket. The Book Depository claimed they’d delivered them, but when I told them they hadn’t they refunded me my money. When I tried to order them again, Amazon had already closed them down. If I’d known the Book Depository were a subsidiary of Amazon, I wouldn’t have even gone there.

In the end, I ordered them from Waterstones, and they took about a week to get here.

The books look really nice, especially when put with the others in the same series. And of course they’re tangible. If ever there was motivation for writing the next book, it’s holding the last book in your hands.

For dinner, the poet whisked me out for lunch. His band were playing at a wedding the next day and I needed things to go with my dress, like a full underskirt and a new handbag. I’m not normally so girly and I usually dress like the band when they do weddings. But we know the couple getting married, so I had to make an effort.

When we got back, it was back to work. For both of us. In between his work, he hung some washing out. The book review I submitted to Medium was accepted. So I moved that up to the top of the pinned posts.

I settled in to write my 200 words a day, and I added 1,642 words to Catch the Rainbow, bringing the running tally to 24,095 words. I expanded on a couple of scenes that were a bit thin and I split one scene into two sections as it was quite long. I can squeeze another pov in between to spread them out and I try to leave each one on a bit of a cliffhanger so that the reader wants to come back.

Saturday

Monkey Dust had a wedding to play at on Saturday, and we had to be there fairly earlyish. Their bass player was the father of the bride and he didn’t want to be ‘working’ all night. He wanted to enjoy the rest of the day as much as anyone. We were up fairly early, for a Saturday. I wrote the meal plan and the shopping list and then we went to do the shopping.

When we got back we had a continental lunch and while the poet got everything ready and loaded in the car for the gig, I sat down to write 200 words. I wrote 433 words for The Fool, by hand, bringing the running tally to 8,054 words.

We arrived at the venue in time to start setting up at 6:30pm. They played from 8pm until 9pm with the bass player’s son, the bride’s big brother who’s also played in bands, getting up to play bass for two songs while his dad sang backing vocals and played tambourine. We had something to eat – we were, after all, invited guests – and we came away with lots of goodies: love heart sweeties; rose tequila (from the dog); chocolate squares.

After the band packed down, they started to load the van and the heavens opened. Rain came down in sheets for the next half an hour or more and lightning almost constantly lit up the whole sky. It was a terrific storm. The lads did get a bit wet loading the van but the hotel provided them with towels. Then the poet went to get the car so that we could load it relatively quickly. And we drove home through torrential rain with limited visibility in the dark.

Sunday

We were tired on Sunday and we slept in a bit. When we did get up, though, the poet went out to lop a buddleia plant that was overhanging the public footpath by far too much. It was alive with butterflies and bees, but it was blocking the pavement. So he lopped it where he could before we received a letter from the council.

We popped out to try and find a one-person teapot for me. I like a cup of tea in the morning but the poet likes coffee and we already have a coffee machine and a cafetiere, but we don’t have an individual tea pot. We did have one, but I think it broke, and we do have a family-sized pot, but that’s too big for one and we didn’t know where it was.

The shopping expedition was a complete failure, other than we were able to replace a glass jar with spoon attached for overnight oats or salads. I managed to break one of our others, which we do use when we get up early to go somewhere, and we’d struggled to find a replacement. Now, at last, we had one. We didn’t see a teapot, though, and we couldn’t find a stainless steel one-person teapot either.

When we got back, the poet cut all of the lawns and got his strimmer out. He also rescued a toad. We were in a hurry because there was more rain forecast. While the shed was open I went to look for the big teapot. I found it, but when I washed it I could see it was cracked on the inside and probably won’t hold up to boiling water too many times.

So the hunt is still on.

When we got in, I made a rhubarb crumble before sitting down and adding another 392 words to The Fool, by hand again, bringing the running tally to 8,446 words.

Because the poet had a very early start this morning and a long drive, we called it a day and sat in front of the telly.


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2 Responses

  1. One person tea pots were a huge thing over here a few years ago, but are now found mostly in thrift shops. Busy weekend. We’re dealing with rains and floods here this week.