Clearing the decks

Before I start, please hop on over to the alphabet adventurers to see the latest post. There’s still time to enter a competition there, with a closing date of midnight (UK time) this coming Friday, 28 September.

It’s been a while since I published a to-do list. This is mostly due to me trying to find an alternative publisher for my paperback books, but also due to me clearing other work, which has been going great, by the way.

However, I’m also experienced enough to realise that something was possibly blocking me, especially when some of the same stories were coming to the top of my list that have been on that list for years. (Yes, really.)

Here is the last list I published, with the jobs done crossed out:

  • write #1 (draft 1) Bramble Jelly
  • write up ‘G’ is for … for Alphabet Adventurers
  • write #2 (draft 2) Go, Go, Go Joseph
  • post ‘G’ is for … for Alphabet Adventurers
  • type #3 (draft 3) Is this where you pee?
  • write ‘H’ is for … for Alphabet Adventurers
  • edit & submit Pippa & Davey Forever
  • write (long-overdue) guest blog post for friend
  • write #1 (draft 1) Pumpkin Pie
  • haul out Catch the Rainbow
  • invoice lovely already client

As you can see, there are a few other short stories and fillers on there, but because of the two repeaters, they’re simply not finding their ways to the top of the list.

Of course, what you can’t see are the other jobs below the last on this list that would have moved up. But the two first drafts that keep on repeating themselves are:

  • Bramble Jelly
  • Pumpkin Pie

These two short stories have been outlined for what feels like forever, yet they weren’t getting their first drafts written. And until I can clear them, the OCD can’t move on to the next one on the list – and the list includes a long-overdue novel that is at least to the end of the first draft stage and already has partials with beta readers.

And so I dumped them. And I dumped another six short stories that also weren’t working for me:

  • Off Piste (just daft, wasn’t working)
  • FrightFest (a bit of a revenge piece, best to lose it)
  • Remember That Summer? (well worn theme)
  • The Fortune Teller (I have no idea what this one was about)
  • Ivy the Champion Curtain Twitcher (not even outlined)
  • Dedicated Follower of Fashion (also a bit daft)

So that was eight short stories I’m simply not excited enough to crack on with. But it leaves me itching a little more to get on with the short material still on the list:

  • Go, Go, Go Joseph
  • Is this where you pee? (this makes me laugh every time I remember the tale that inspired it!)
  • Pippa & Davey Forever (I love this story and so does the poet, but I need to come up with a *why now?* before final polish and submission)
  • The Nutcracker
  • My School PE Memories (this will be a rework of a previously published humorous article)
  • Yellow Bird
  • My School Dinner Memories (another RTE – reader’s true experience)
  • Curiosity Killed the Cat (not even started, it’s just a page of an idea, but I’m still interested to see where it goes)

That revised list of eight short stories, fillers or RTEs feels a lot more achievable and a lot less overwhelming.

I’m still working between two novels, in between the editing and proofreading that pays my wages:

  • The Beast Within – a Marcie Craig mystery
  • Catch the Rainbow

And I’m still collating material for 52 Books in 52 Weeks and Twee Tales Twee, and when I get chance, I’m still polishing Diary of a Pussycat and Tales From Baggins Bottom – best bits book four.

This means that the revised to-do list above, plus latest current work, now looks like this:

  • write #2 (draft 2) Go, Go, Go Joseph
  • type #3 (draft 3) Is this where you pee?
  • write ‘H’ is for … for Alphabet Adventurers
  • edit & submit Pippa & Davey Forever
  • write (long-overdue) guest blog post for friend
  • haul out Catch the Rainbow
  • resubmit The Ace of Wands
  • proofread 1 book for lovely already client
  • invoice lovely already client
  • proofread 1 book for returning client

This list does not fill me with dread as the other one did. Nor does it make me want to look for something – anything – else to do instead of write.

Let’s hope there’s a positive update to the list next week!

What’s on your to-do list this week?

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