My writing day

I think I’m getting back into the writing groove. I’ve designed a schedule intended to allow me to work on my own material for part of the day as well as edit for clients for the rest of the day. It’s taken quite a few years to get here, but it seems to be working.

On Mondays, for example, I start with client work. But for the rest of the week, I start the day with my own work. Mondays are turned on their head, so to speak.

The first job I do every day is let the chickens out. We live in an area where there are foxes, so the chickens have to be put away safely during the hours of darkness.

Our chickens have a fox-proof coop inside a fairly large chicken run that can also be secured, but if a fox wants to get into the run, it probably will – eventually. So they have to be safely inside their coop when it’s likely a fox may be around.

Saying that, at the last house, the cockerel and the peacocks all saw off a fox one very bright morning at about 8:30am, and the fox there could be seen at all hours of the day. At least here we’ve only heard it at night.

The chicken run is walled with chicken wire, with tarpaulin over part of the roof and some of the walls for both shade and shelter from heavy, windy rain. So, come rain or shine, dressed or in my nightie, I’m out there letting the chickens out to run free in the garden.

Then I have a very leisurely hour in which I have breakfast, read a little (for pleasure, usually – I get enough reading for work done the rest of the time), get washed and dressed.

If I can get to my desk by 10am, that gives me three straight hours of writing work. Writing work also consists of reading-for-writing, so that is my research time too. On a Monday, 10am until 1pm is client work.

I break for dinner (lunch) at around 1pm, and if the morning work hasn’t dragged on for whatever reason (including unscheduled interruptions), I’ll have half an hour for my dinner. And then I’ll take the dog for a quick trot, giving me a full hour in total.

At the moment, the dog-walk is along the roads. He took ill a couple of weeks ago and we’re trying not to excite him too much. But when the pavement is too hot for his paws, then I’ll probably switch to a canalside walk as he can walk on the grass then.

At 2pm, the afternoon shift starts. That gives me three straight hours of client work. When I’m busy, or up against a deadline, this becomes four straight hours, and I try to finish work by 6pm. Saying that, I have been known to continue working until 11pm and later if a job has been particularly tricky. One time, I worked through the night until 6am the next morning.

On a Monday afternoon, I have only 45 minutes of writing time before heading out to the new writing group. And even if I am the only person to turn up to a writing group session, I will spend the hour writing in the library, and I get home at 5pm. Next Monday afternoon, though, I have a dental appointment. (Booo!)

During the winter months, the chickens are usually put away again by 5pm, but during the summer, it can be as late as 10pm before they go to bed.

I have an early finish on a Friday if I can, giving me just three hours of work time on a Friday afternoon. We like our weekends together and squeeze quite a lot in, so we both try to be “home” early on a Friday if we can.

Monday just gone was a very good day. I started a new client edit, I started a new pocket novel (all 106 words of it), I wrote some brief notes for the pocket novel (318 words), I wrote a blog post about the pocket novel (570 words), and I wrote around 580 words for a Facebook friend who wanted some information for an article she is writing. I also attended the writing group, and the dog had a walk at dinnertime.

Tuesday was less productive. I’m reading a novel, There Must be an Angel, by Sharon Booth to see how she deals with basing a fictitious place on real places, and when to refer to other real places by their real name. It’s not my preferred genre for reading, but I am using it for research purposes. And, actually, I’m enjoying the story too. But that means some of my writing time was given over to reading fiction and will continue to do so until I’m comfortable trying it for myself.

Last week I re-read Black Dog by Stephen Booth (I don’t think they’re related …). This is one of my all time favourite novels and I was reading it for two reasons … all right, then, maybe three …

1. I really like the book, 2. again, I wanted to remind myself how he deals with location in his novels, and 3. I have another Stephen Booth from NetGalley to review and I wanted to re-acquaint myself with his characters, Diane Fry and Ben Cooper. And that means that last week some more of my writing time was given over to reading fiction.

In between this reading, I’m also doing my Richard Cadbury reading. And I fit in the NetGalley reading and review-writing when I can.

But back to Tuesday …

On Tuesday, I got so carried away with reading There Must be an Angel (it really is quite a lovely read), that I didn’t leave myself enough time to do any writing. So my writing work ran into my dinner break … which means the dog didn’t get his walk until much later in the day. And I only managed to write an additional 331 words, bringing my running total to 437 (plus the 318 words of notes, which don’t count towards the running total for the story).

And then I faffed a bit because I was waiting for the final part of the client edit, and I do like to do it all in one go if I can, firstly for continuity, but also for speed. If I do it all at once, then I don’t have to remember to do my find-and-replaces again, or to change the language again, or to change all the double spaces to single spaces.

Part of that faffing is writing this blog to post on Wednesday morning. So, at the time of writing, I still hope to write more for the pocket novel, or write some for the novel, or read more, and I hope I remember that the dog hasn’t had his walk today before it gets too dark to take him.

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