Thursday 4 January 2024: A new regime

Image by Wild Pixar from Pixabay

While the new regime wasn’t supposed to start until Tuesday, I did actually do some work on Monday too. We’d already spent some time rearranging the office, and on Monday the poet needed to sort out his side, which he did. He was very brave and lost a whole cabinet, but at least his guitars now have a more suitable position.

As he worked on that, I worked on the diary for January. I printed off my blank calendars for the year, blocked out the bank holiday and all of the weekends for January, put all of the fixed appointments on in black, and started to write my deadlines on in red. Then an email came through to my phone.

It was from the SF Mystery Writing Workshop that starts on Monday 15 January with our first assignment. I think I can do something, so both that and the workshop went onto the calendar for January too, the course in black ink and the deadline for the first assignment in red ink. We have two whole weeks to write Assignment 1, but it does have to be at least 3,000 words. I think there will be two further assignments, but with much shorter lead times…

The poet fixed my notice board to the wall, but we’ve decided I need a new one as the cork is full of holes from previous pins. I have my special character keystrokes up there, three lots of tickets (a concert, a musical and a play), and a clear punched wallet with the year’s calendars inside it, with January on top. I also have my regular monthly calendar hanging next to the notice board. Both calendars do different things.

And then I wrote up my diary for the first week of January. I made a few mistakes and wished I’d done it in pencil first before doing it in ink, but I decided last year to start using ink as pencil can be erased far too easily. Pen has to be crossed out and makes the diary look messy. I was hoping that alone might help encourage me to stick to my plans.

The last thing I did, which actually took longer than I thought it would, was choose a set of trays for my desk. After reading THE ORGANISED WRITER again, I wanted to keep my current work on my desk. So I ordered a set of 5 trays that also have a shelf on top. These trays will be for (currently):

* WORDS WORTH READING/short stories (short stories)
* client work (editing/proofreading)

Once I get into the swing of things, two more will be added:

* DIARY OF A COOL CAT (writer’s guide)
* a novel, yet to be selected (novel)

Yes, I’m cutting it a bit fine with both the novella and the magazine. However, I have everything else for the magazine already written and by the time I release the novella as a standalone, I’ll have had time to revise and polish it.

I also ordered a pack of 20 assorted plastic wallets (jellies) and a pack of 5 assorted large capacity wallets with poppers. Most things will fit in the plain wallets most of the time. But the editing jobs, the magazine and the novels/novellas will at some point need fatter wallets. When I don’t have any client work, WORDS WORTH READING will move onto the client work tray.

My order should be arriving on Friday. (How exciting!)

The poet was up bright and early, despite having a nasty cold. We were hoping it wasn’t Covid, and he said he’d have a test as soon as he got there. (They’d probably turn him around and send him home if he did have it.) And I, ladies and gentleman, got up when my alarm went off only half an hour after he left. That alone made me very proud.

I started a Pomodoro on my watch and I made the dog’s breakfast, made my breakfast, got the dog up (it was far too early for him to get up), gave him his medication, had my breakfast, and caught up on one of my SF Mystery set readings for the workshop. During my first Pomodoro break, I got washed and dressed and was at my desk with minutes to spare.

For the next Pomodoro of the day, which was actually my first work Pomodoro, I sat down and carried on handwriting the first draft of THE SECRET OF WHITEHORSE FARM. The poet called to let me know he was almost at site safely and was still going to have a Covid test when he got there. During the next break, I fed the birds, folded some washing and put it away, and put another washload through.

Again with minutes to spare, I was back at my desk and finishing the day’s 4-page or 1,000(ish)-word quota. I finished early, counted the words, added them to my spreadsheet, and started today’s blog post. Then I checked my diary and made some further corrections, meaning the jobs for this week are as follows:

* brainstorm SF Mystery Assignment 1
* start to learn shorthand
* start to brush up on copy typing
* weekly tech scan
* Diane’s gig list admin
* outline SF Mystery Assignment 1
* weekly backup
* author amendments to the history book I returned before Christmas
* send history book to client for setting
* invoice client for history book edit (yay!)

My break alarm went off, I made a cup of tea, and continued with today’s blog post until it was time for my next Pomodoro. This time it was brainstorming the SF Mystery assignment. So I took out the yellow jelly already containing the brief and started work. I did a lot of staring out of the window, but I made some notes in one of my touchy-feely notebooks too – the notebook that’s been assigned to brainstorming.

I hung up the washing I’d put through – inside not outside, as it was peeing down by now (excellent mood for the SF Mystery brainstorming) – then I had a banana and the dog had a chew.

I started a new project on TickTick for WORDS WORTH READING, trying to remember all of the different jobs I do. I can add to them as I go along, which means they’ll all be there ready when I copy the project over to Issue 2. Tuesday’s jobs were creating the file for Issue 1, writing the welcome page, adding the first and second short stories, and adding the covers for the first two stories and the novella. I already had the cover, but I counted that on TickTick too, as I’ve only just started to use it.

I broke for dinner, and spent it in the living room, away from the desk, and I played a game while I ate. Before going back to work I let the dog out, but he didn’t want to go out in the back garden, he wanted to go out in the front garden. Why didn’t he want to go out in the back garden? Because it was raining… 😏 While we were outside, I brought the wheelie bin in.

The poet called to say he’d tested negative for Covid (yay!) and that he wouldn’t be coming home early (boo!). He was still full of cold, though, and I can hardly wait until he passes it along to me…

First session back in the afternoon was shorthand. (Yay!) I’m using TEELINE FOR JOURNALISTS by Dawn Johnston. I set up my shorthand notebook and a drill sheet, but I only got as far as the end of Unit 1 Task 1 before it was time to take a break. Then it was typing practice. I’m using my old typing book TYPING: FIRST COURSE (third edition) from Drummond and Scattergood, and I completed three units.

During the next break I went around drawing the curtains and turning lights on so the whole house looks lived in and not just the office at the back of the house, and I fetched a drink of water. Once I’d finished the two blog posts, I quickly caught up on other blogs.

On Tuesday I wrote 1,164 words for THE SECRET OF WHITEHORSE FARM and 1,703 words for the blog. That’s a total of 2,867 consumable words for the day. I also brainstormed a short story and started the outline, I started work on WORDS WORTH READING Issue 1, I took my first shorthand lesson, practised my typing, and wrote today’s and yesterday’s blog posts. I’ll start Friday’s blog post today and finish it tomorrow.

I may have only worked for 50 minutes maximum at a time, but those 50 minutes were focused and I got a lot done. I also did some household chores. I’d say that was quite a good day.