Tuesday 2 July 2024: The month ahead

We had a lovely Friday/Saturday with grand-doggy #1. We took him for a stroll on Friday night and returned him to his humans at around 11:30 the following morning. We think he had a nice time, especially when he followed us to the car. Twice. Straight off, we went and did the shopping on the way home.

Before the football (soccer) came on, the poet did some music work on his laptop (with headphones on) and I did some pre-writing for THE HAUNTED HOUSE HOTEL. On Sunday, we went out to get a new cabin bag for him and jeans for me…we came back with a new cabin bag for him, a new laptop bag each (I had severe laptop-bag-envy so we got me one too) and no jeans. And we watched the football again.

I completely forgot I was getting up an hour earlier on Monday and starting work an hour earlier. I remembered just as the poet was getting up, so I got up with him. I then spent the rest of the day catching up by 15-minute intervals.

While I’d set out the tasks for the day in 2-hour segments, I was really only allocating that time to each job. In reality, I decided to do a task-measured schedule rather than a time-measured schedule. The poet thought that was more likely to work as we can’t always schedule in interruptions, for example, and also some jobs take longer or less time than originally anticipated.

He’s right, of course. There have been days when I’ve been able to rattle out more than 2,000 words in an hour but other days where it’s taken twice that long to wrench out up to 500 words. So over breakfast I ONLY checked emails. I didn’t start any games, because they can be a time-suck, and I didn’t scroll through Facebook. I’ve started to get hooked on reels on FB and that’s something else I need to stop.

The games are a bit of a side hustle, but I’ve decided I don’t have to play games for pin money if I don’t like them any more. I’d got to the stage where I had to play such-and-such a game before doing anything else just to get the day’s points. But I don’t need to do that for pennies now. I’m going to collect the next gift cards (£25 for one and £15 for the other) and then only play games I like when I like.

I hit my desk and got today’s blog post started. I changed out the background picture on the blog illustration and saved both the month ahead graphic and the wrap-up graphic.

I watched Week 4 of the first writing with depth workshop, during which I had a proper lightbulb moment. I was struggling with getting in so much information so early on in a short story…then I realised, and reminded myself, that this workshop is primarily for novels. All of a sudden, it made much more sense.

When my first Pomodoro had finished, I only had 2 videos left to watch. But I paused anyway and went to have my first 10-minute break. I put the kettle on, went around the house emptying the bins, made myself a cup of tea, and was back at my desk just as my break timer finished. I did all of that and added in some steps in the process. I set the Pomodoro off again and finished Week 4, which was yesterday’s time-measured task.

PROJECT MANAGEMENT FOR WRITERS: GATE 3 – HOW? was next, but I spent the first Pomodoro pretty much familiarising myself with the previous 2 gates, finding information I needed, and adding titles to each of the chapters in my Scrivener file. All of the project management books are in the same Scrivener file, making it easier to collate box sets when the time comes.

During my second break, I fed the garden birds, emptied the 2 kitchen bins and took the grey wheelie-bin to the top of the drive so it could go out overnight.

I went onto my new 10-book project planner in Excel, added yesterday’s blog words to the blog posts section and zeroed everything else I wouldn’t be working on yesterday. This left yesterday’s job fields only to be completed as I completed the relevant jobs. Then it was back to CHAPTER 1. And much drumming of fingertips on desktop. I wrote more than a thousand words in the end and added those to the planner.

By the end of that Pomodoro, it was dinner time. So I didn’t take a 10-minute break, I took a 45-minute break (trying to catch up in 15-minute increments). I took it AWAY from my desk and used the time for reading. After dinner, I skipped ahead to Task 4, mostly for light relief but also because it was a quick job.

Monkey Dust admin. I created the poster, added the gig to Diane’s Gig List, created an event on Facebook, and sent out invitations. Then I moved on to Task 5, which was a very quick job. I saved the author’s corrections to the Taliban book into the directory. I have to proofread the pdf myself, but I’m also waiting for the independent proofreader’s amendments.

The only job I had left to do was THE HAUNTED HOUSE HOTEL. But I still had some character work to do. I only had 5 suspects, I didn’t have a victim, and I didn’t have a relationship between them all. I found some images for the extra character and I gave her a name, but I still hadn’t decided what to make her. (They’re all female, so I’m not giving anything away.) So I set it to percolate overnight and finished for the day.

The month ahead

The list below is a lot shorter than usual – a LOT shorter. But it isn’t necessarily less work. I have 2 books on the go here as well as one short story, and most jobs have been allocated 2 hours per day. We also have another week’s holiday in July (I think I may be cancelling the August holiday) ahead of another week away with the poet in August. It’s the July holiday I’m hoping to get the 2 first drafts done by.

Here, then, is the plan for July:

  • new month wordcount & progress spreadsheets for July
  • writing with depth workshop bundle
  • Halloween cosy mystery novella
  • newsletter
  • client edit: Taliban book
  • client edit: Holocaust book
  • (week) daily blog post
  • weekly tech scan
  • weekly backup
  • weekly diary work
  • Monkey Dust admin
  • Diane’s gig list admin every Thursday
  • hospital appointment
  • take poet for dental appointment
  • Monkey Dust gig
  • monthly schedule planning for August
  • advance finances for August
  • holiday

How’s your July looking?

2 thoughts on “Tuesday 2 July 2024: The month ahead

  1. That’s quite a list!

    I find task-based works better for me than time-based, too (unless I have to keep an eye on the clock for an appointment). I also find I have to be more aware of matching energy to task now than I used to be.

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