Tuesday 19 March 2024: Busy weekend

image courtesy of CanvaPro

Because I didn’t finish all of my work on Friday, I already knew I’d be working at the weekend.

First thing Saturday we also had to take the dog to the vet for his monthly anti-inflammatory injection as well as his 3-month blood test. His blood test showed another improvement in his liver count and I asked if the dog still needed the pump-inhibitors to protect his stomach.

We stopped his anti-inflammatory tablets in August, when he suffered a stomach ulcer, and switched to the injections. The stomach needed to heal, though, and his liver enzymes were still ‘up’. So he was kept on the pump-inhibitors and given 2 liver medications. By November, there was less blood showing in his digestive system, but his liver was still high. By December, the blood was gone and the liver was a third lower.

On Saturday, he still showed that he wasn’t bleeding, and the liver enzymes had come down again, by another third. So the vet, the practice manager and we all decided that we’d try Rufus off the pump-inhibitors. I think they trust us now to notice if he’s bleeding internally or not. And in any case, he’s back in another month for his anti-inflammatory jab so we can review it then.

We took the dog home, grabbed a sandwich, then went out again to get the shopping. When we got back, I worked, I proof-read 87 pages and finished the proofreading job, I’d consolidated the author’s corrections as I went (I used his pdf proof), and only had the proofreader’s corrections to add before transferring them all from the hard copy to the pdf copy.

We had a late tea (the poet made meatballs in onion gravy with rice), with a bought trifle, and a late night.

We had a few things to do on Sunday and we actually got up quite early for us. We were contemplating going out, but I still had work to do and the poet wanted to give his car a good clean as well as hang my new T-Card system. In order to hang the T-card board, he first had to raise my calendar and my noticeboard. While he drilled holes, I rearranged the stuff on my noticeboard.

The noticeboard is where my monthly calendar goes, duly filled in with deadlines, appointments, and other things. I also have quick quides to Alt+key strokes for special characters, such as fractions that don’t appear in the inbuilt character sets in Word and Scrivener. We pin our concert and theatre tickets up there until they’re used, money-off supermarket coupons, and now my weekly blog post planner.

My desk had a good clear up so that I could access the Nobo T-Card board at desk level, and now it sits neatly beneath my calendar and my noticeboard. The calendar here is the photo-calendar of dachshunds the poet usually gets me for Christmas. I could really start writing the deadlines and appointments, etc, on this and ditch the other one. Then the blog post planner could come down to a more easily accessible height.

Some of the desk clutter went in the bin, some went in a drawer, and some was moved to a different part of the desk. I seem to have a lot more room now.

After dinner, the poet started on his car while I went to work. First of all I finished writing yesterday’s blog post, and then I started to consolidate the proofreader’s corrections with mine and the author’s. I managed 62 pages in my first Pomodoro and started today’s blog post in the break.

He kept on top of the washing and was going to tackle the dreaded cupboard under the sink, but then he found out that Leeds United were on the telly, playing Millwall, I think, so he settled down to watch that instead. They must have played well because he carried on watching well into the second half too.

I finished the consolidation, but as there were several queries that had to be directed towards the author, I decided to leave that until Monday. Besides, it was getting dark by now and, thus, more difficult to read.

The poet made a pork dinner and we finished the bought trifle.

Oh, and Leeds won…

The poet had a 7:30am start on Monday, but I didn’t get up with him. I did, however, get up with the dog who, literally seconds after the poet had driven away from the house, decided he wanted out. By now it was 8am, so that’s why I thought I may as well stay up.

I’m not a morning person, and I’m not a night person. I’m a day person. And, at the moment, any time before 9am is too early for me to eat. So I had a cup of tea whilst unkinking my bones, and I read a few sections of the current chapter in JUST EAT IT. And by 9am I was in fact at my desk with a bowl of cereal and another cup of tea.

Sunshine was pouring in through the office window and at first I thought it was really nice, especially when my desk was so clear after the previous day’s shenanigans. However, the sunlight soon showed up far too much dust on my monitor screen, and I couldn’t find the poet’s screen cleaners. And after a while, I was boiling hot too. So a curtain was pulled across and a window cracked open.

The first job I did was go through and create a few images to illustrate some of this week’s blog posts, including today’s. There’s another new feature starting on Thursday and while I used the ‘new feature’ image from last week again, I also created two more just for that day’s post.

Next up, I started to add to today’s blog post. There’s a lot on here and it was already over 1,000 words. It was nice to look up at the wall above my desk and see everything I need to see at a glance right there in front of me. And I pretty much decided that the print-out monthly calendars I usually write on can go and the weekly blog planner can go in the clear wallet I have on the noticeboard for those.

I won’t bother transferring what I’ve already written on the printout calendar onto the wall calendar, as that’s just duplicating work already done. But when I come to planning for April, I’ll use the wall calendar instead.

The next thing I did was revise Step 3 of the SAVE THE CAT WRITES A NOVEL course. This took less than 15 minutes but refreshed my memory. I jumped ahead then and did some quick Monkey Dust admin. I created a poster for April’s gig, sent it to the venue, I shared this week’s gig again, and I added it to Diane’s Gig List. I didn’t create an event yet for April’s gig as we still have the March one first.

As I’ve merged ‘brainstorming’ and ‘outlining’ together into ‘planning’ on the power board, I rejigged the week a little to remove the ‘brainstorm’ tasks from this week’s TickTick and to change ‘outlining’ to ‘planning’ on this week’s TickTick. What was previously ‘brainstorm 12 STORIES IN 12 MONTHS’ on Monday was now ‘plan 12 STORIES IN 12 MONTHS’ on Tuesday, and ‘outline 12 STORIES IN 12 MONTHS’ was deleted.

This meant the week’s workload was spread out slightly more evenly. I did the same with PIRATE LEGENDS, which became THE LAST PIRATE OF PENZANCE, and then alternated the stages of these 2 stories between Monday and next Wednesday when the first one (12 STORIES) is due, and next Thursday when the second one (PIRATES), is due to be completed 3 days early. (The deadline for this latter one is at the weekend.)

Both of these stories have been in ‘percolating’ for at least a month, so they’ve been sitting at the back of my brain while they, well, percolated. Now it was time to start jotting down notes and structure. Over dinner, I grabbed a load of background info for this one. Then I watched a blackbird sunbathing in the garden for far too many minutes.

The intent really was to crack on with some proper work. But, of course, I had a shiny new toy to play with. Before he went to work, the poet said: “At least you can faff with your new T-card board today…” I told him I had work to do, and that the faff would probably be spread out over the week…

…well, reader, I guess you know what happened next. And here it is, in all its glory. I present:

My new Nobo board

The top pic shows where it sits in my work area. The bottom pic is a close-up to show more detail. You can see in the first one how my wall calendar now has writing on it that was once on my monthly calendar printout. I didn’t bother doing it from the start of the month, only from Monday. At the bottom of the noticeboard, in a clear wallet, is the weekly blog planner.

The blank printouts per month are still in that clear wallet, behind the blog planner. I’ll still use them for rough workings before transferring what I decide to keep to the wall calendar and to the diary, the latter of which is currently out of shot. The open book on the desk is an A5 notebook.

On the computer, Plottr is open with my entire brain dump of current writing projects. Behind that, on screen, is Scrivener with this blog post in progress. The two small bottles tucked in next to the Nobo board is what’s left of the home-made hand sanitiser the poet concocted during the pandemic. I still use them. It still stinks! To the left of those is my WIP stack. I have a job in every slot.

Down the left-hand side of the Nobo board are the index cards. These currently read (from the top): SHORT STORIES; NOVELLAS; NOVELS; NON-FICTION; ARTICLES. The ARTICLES row is new. Each row, aside from the ARTICLES row, has room for 5 cards per column. The ARTICLES row has room for 4 cards per column, plus the spare cards along the bottom.

If I ever have more than 5 items in any one section at any one time, then I’m quite clearly doing something very wrong.

Along the top are the condensed positions in the production schedule (from left to right): PERCOLATING; PLANNING (this used to be BRAINSTORMING and OUTLINING); WRITING; REVISING; COOLING; PROOFREADING; PUBLISHING. The other column I lost moving from the whiteboard to the Nobo board was TYPING, as WRITING covers both WRITING and TYPING.

The first yellow card in the top row is currently without a title. The card itself, however, is filled in with the target market (12 STORIES IN 12 MONTHS), the prompt, the word-count, and the due date. Once I have a proper title for this story, I’ll add it to the top of the card. The single blue card in the ARTICLES row is the only true article idea I’ve had in a long while. This will include fillers too, if I think of any.

I think each column heading speaks for itself, but PUBLISHING means anything that’s either gone off on the rounds or is sitting in my own publishing queue. Once the piece of work has made it from one side of the board to the other, and once it’s gone off for PUBLISHING, it makes a leap from the Nobo board on the wall to a spreadsheet on my computer. From here I keep track of everywhere a finished item has been or will be published.

It all looks quite neat and interesting, even though I do say so myself. I might look at getting some fine-nib felt-tip pens to make things stand out a bit in future. But I sit close enough to it to see what everything says, and we can see at a glance where, if any, the bottlenecks are and what areas need more attention. For now I could do with more COOLING and PROOFREADING

Plan for today

I did get around to some more work in the afternoon, even though all I wanted to do was gaze at my new Nobo board and write out some more cards. However, I started off a Pomodoro and cracked on with the proofreading job. But I didn’t finish everything.

The plan for today looks like this:

  • Writing Mastery Academy course
  • 12 STORIES IN 12 MONTHS – March
  • client edit
  • tomorrow’s blog

What’s on your schedule today?

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