Tuesday 16 April 2024: The dog’s birthday yesterday

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I was just closing down the office on Friday when the poet came in and asked if I fancied a trip to the seaside. Well, I’ve never been one to turn away a trip to the seaside. So I grabbed my coat and got the dog ready while the poet made us all drinks to take with us. We went to Cleethorpes and walked up to Papa’s on the pier to buy our tea and we ate it in the car on the front. Then we had ice creams for pudding.

It was a lovely surprise and it meant that we got to blow the cobwebs off as well as the dog having a nice run out too. It was almost 10pm when we got home, but it was a great start to the weekend. And it really was such a surprise.

When we first got together, I suggested a run out to the seaside one evening after work, and he thought I’d gone completely mad. Especially when I said I wanted to go to Cleethorpes as it’s a place he’d hardly ever gone before for a seaside visit. He’s warmed to the place a lot, but for him to make the suggestion was really, really weird. Mind you, he has been suggesting runs out here and there more often in general.

Saturday morning we were at the vet first thing for the dog’s monthly jab. He also needed 2 lots of medication topping up. It wasn’t as dear as usual, though, because they were out of stock of one of his medications and had to substitute another, which was cheaper and a smaller packet. We didn’t do the shopping while we were out because I wanted to take the dog home and have a breather and something to eat.

We did pop into the butcher on the way home, because we already knew what we wanted for the week. But after dinner, we went out again armed with a proper shopping list.

On Sunday he surprised me again by cutting the grass. It’s the first chance he’s had since he did that before. It’s done nothing but rain, and Sunday was the first fine day, despite the forecast for wintry weather coming in. While he worked in the garden, I sat and worked with my brainstorming notebook.

I listed every single project I’m percolating, every single project currently in progress, and every single project already completed. I lumped them into categories, and broke them down further:

  • novels
    • Marcie Craig stories
    • The Cider Chronicles historical stories
    • D.I. Wordsworth collaborations
  • novellas
    • Lady Mathilda Investigates Regency mysteries
    • Nettie Campbell mysteries
    • Horvale mysteries
    • Toni & Bart time travel tales
  • novelettes
  • non-fiction writers’ guides

Then I listed every single short story currently in progress and where they are in the schedule:

  • percolating/brainstorming (B)
  • planning/outlining (O)
  • writing (W)
  • revising (R)
  • proofreading (P)

Finally, I made a list of previously printed or easily written articles that might work well on Medium.

I’m hoping this will help me (a) decide which story can be the Undercover Project I won’t say anything about until it’s to first draft, and (b) choose what to work on next. I’ve done this before, but this is the first time I’ve included absolutely everything.

If a short story, say, is already just waiting to be revised and I’m struggling with what to write on something else, I can step away and work on the revision while my brain works in the background. Also, it’s reminded me that I have 2 writers’ guides already written and 3 that I really need to get a shake on with.

Once all of that was done, we had roast beef for dinner (made by the poet) followed by a raspberry sponge (made by me) with cream. I finished G IS FOR GUMSHOE at the weekend and started H IS FOR HOMICIDE.

On Monday morning, we had a bit of a lie-in. We’ve discovered that the dog sleeps much better and for longer in the bigger basket, so that’s his bedtime basket now. And for the previous 2 nights, we’d slept as well as he did. Fingers crossed it lasts.

Lord Rufus turned 13, which is a birthday we really weren’t expecting him to see after the year he’s had. After all, we were told in May “It might be a month, it might be a week”, and here we are, 11 months later.

Our next milestone is getting to May. He’s such a happy, cheerful doggy and he really doesn’t care about his condition, which is nice. But we do still keep a careful eye on him all the same as we really don’t want him to suffer. He had a new nylon beef flavoured bone for his birthday, and a wuffday cake, which meant he was happier than ever.

The poet was off on a business trip, but only overnight. He originally had a colleague to collect from the airport in Birmingham, but the flight was cancelled. More colleagues were still coming over from Ireland, though, and he had to go and entertain them. Once he’d gone, I watched a pre-recorded webinar on how to make novellas make money other than via sales.

Once that was done, I started today’s blog. Then it was back to the short story schedule. I created projects in TickTick for the next 8 short stories, moved them around and created due dates.

I already have the dates that the 12 STORIES IN 12 MONTHS are likely to be in, and I’ll try and brainstorm something completely new that can be tagged on the end of the schedule to be worked on further if it’s any good. I have one anthology deadline date in there too, for the moment. I’ve tried to schedule something in that might be suitable for the weekly market deadlines in the UK.

Most of my projects are already on my Nobo board too, so I can see at a quick glance where everything is. For the rest of Monday I worked on the short stories, brainstorming a new one about a sheep-shearing contest for which I have yet to settle on a title.