August 2020: Plan for the month (lists alert!)

After basking in my Camp NaNoWriMo winner glory for a moment or two, I finished work late on Friday. It was about 9pm here, so about 11pm for my client.

The work was mostly late because Word had a bit of a hissy fit and took it upon itself to remove ALL of my tracked changes. It left the comments in, but everything else was gone. And I couldn’t get them back.

I did some internet research, and I eventually found out how to compare my latest file with the original file received from the client, and it put all of my tracked changes back. So I saved the newly tracked file as a different version number and was able to carry on, without having half of the tracked changes missing.

This was, of course, wonderful. But it was a chunk out of my time that I could do without losing. It’s one of the best reasons to save different versions of your work, though, so that was a good lesson clarified.

I’m trying to move away from Word for my own work, precisely because of these things it does all by itself. I lose so much time trying to work out what it’s done in the first place, how to fix it, and why it did it so perhaps I can avoid it happening again. It’s also still very, very slow, especially when I’m tracking changes.

However, most of my clients still use Word, so I have to. Some of them use Google Docs, and I’ve been learning how to use that. One thing’s for certain, Google Docs isn’t as powerful as Word. But at the same time, I don’t think I’ll ever use Word for all it’s capable of.

Everything new of my own is now done in Scrivener, and from Scrivener I can save it in rich text format or as a Word doc or whatever I like. The problem with that is I’m trying to use Apache Open Office if I do anything from scratch myself, and Scrivener can’t quite get the formating right for Open Office.

I wish we could just stick with a word processor for this and a spreadsheet program for that and a desktop publisher for the other. I don’t know why they all have to be all-singing-all-dancing.

Oh, for the days of WordPerfect, Lotus and Quark! (But I DO like Scrivener!)

Something else happened on Friday to delay me, but I can’t remember what it was now. However, I got there in the end, and that’s the important thing.

On Saturday we had a bit of a lazy day. I did some reading. The poet had some studio time. Then he picked the rest of the peas and we sat in the garden shelling them together. We did the petit pois the other week, but this was the main crop and when we weighed them, there was 2½lb. That’s a lot of peas.

On Sunday, our friends came for a visit. They came bearing flowers, and they left clutching a cabbage and a bunch of spring onions, both from Mister I-Hate-Gardening’s garden. They didn’t want anything else – this time.

Then the poet went back out to the garden and he pulled beetroots and carrots. We’d saved some of the peas to have with our Sunday dinner, and the rest went in the freezer. But day-old peas and fresh-out-of-the-ground carrots and beetroots made an already delicious Sunday dinner even more so.

I think he’s going to let the rest of the beetroots grow a little bigger, and then we’ll have a pickling day. We might have enough onions to pickle some of those too. I’d best put pickling vinegar on the shopping list!

I started to re-read an old favourite novel at the weekend, The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie. I shouldn’t really be reading this as I have a pile of books to read from NetGalley. And I still have some books to read for 52 Books in 52 Weeks (see to-do list for month below). I have been working hard lately, though, and I wanted to do something that felt like leisure. I’d like to read all of the Agatha Christie books again, in order if I can.

I also picked up four business books. There’s a full series of them (Make Money From Home by Sally Miller and various co-authors). I considered 5 of them, bought 4 of them, and read 1 of them already. I also started a second. Depending on how my last 5 books go for 52 Books in 52 Weeks, I may make one of these the last one instead.

I was up bright and early this morning. And I was at my desk by 9am. However, there was no work waiting for me in the content-editing workroom, so I dropped them a quick message. Everybody in the workroom was “off” until I sent my message, then one of them came “on” very briefly, before disappearing again. I think he nipped on to see what I had to say. Anyway, it’s very odd and it’s very unprofessional.

I didn’t receive a book from my regular weekly client, either. But he’s sometimes a day late and sometimes he has a week off. If my inbox remains empty throughout the week, I’ll have more time to spend on my own work.

Which is a Very Good Thing today, as it’s new month day. Aside from all of my usual new month work, I’ve also decided to add a plan for the month to the blog and a monthly roundup, from 1 August … but as that was Saturday, and as I don’t work at the weekend, it’ll be from today, 3 August.

There were two jobs I did manage on Saturday, from the mobile phone, and those were the two daily threads I create each month on the Seriously Serious Scribes Facebook page.

At the top of the day, the plan for the day looked like this:

  • write 1,941 words for Catch the Rainbow (edited, was 1,844 words*)
  • proofread 21 pages of The LIfe of Richard Cadbury (edited, was 19 pages*)
  • check job board ✔️
  • update work tracker spreadsheet for August ✔️
  • update my 10-project planner spreadsheet for August ✔️
  • write today’s blog post ✔️
  • update diary for the week ✔️
  • update NetGalley Trello board ✔️
  • end of month finances ✔️
  • close last month’s daily threads on the SSS FB page ✔️

(The ticks are what I had already done by the time of posting.)

However, it turned out I had a lot of new month admin to do. The work tracker spreadsheet was easy, that was just a copy & paste and delete all of the data for last month. The 10-project planner was even easier, because I’d already done it. The only thing I had to alter was the projected word-count for Catch the Rainbow as I went slightly over target in July.

*I didn’t get around to any writing, and I didn’t get around to any proofreading as the end of month finances have been severely neglected over the past 18 months or so. So both of those projects had 1 day each taken off them and the total word/page count adjusted to suit. It’s still doable. In both cases.

If the editing work doesn’t arrive, I’ll be doing the following tomorrow (Tuesday):

  • draft a pitch template for US editing agency
  • see how many submissions are still unclaimed for US editing agency
  • pitch for at least one job with the US editing agency
  • draft a pitch template for writing jobs on the job board, rather than editing/proofreading jobs

And then the rest of the current plan for August looks like this:

  • write 36,880 words for Catch the Rainbow
  • proofread 192 pages for The Life of Richard Cadbury
  • make the screen amendments for Twee Tales Twee
  • re-publish Twee Tales Twee
  • write a daily blog post
  • any client editing/proofreading work that comes in
  • finish reading/reviewing the last 5 books for 52 Books in 52 Weeks
  • read/review at least one book for NetGalley
  • prepare 10-project planner for September
  • end of year finances (2019/2020)
  • take the last 3 days of August OFF (plus the first 6 days of September)

The first piece of good news of the week was that I weighed ½lb less this week than I did last week. That means I’ve officially lost 7½lb since starting this new regime.

The second piece of good news was that our dentist is still seeing emergency patients only. We had appointments booked for 4pm this Wednesday, but they’ve been postponed. Fortunately, neither of us has a dental emergency right now … (touches wood).

I did already get around to adding writing jobs to my job search, but when I saw how many writing jobs there are compared to how many editing jobs, I was a little taken aback. Obviously, many of them have been there all the while I’ve been discounting the editing and proofreading jobs, for whatever reason. So I’m hoping when I have a look tomorrow, there will be fewer of those to weed out.

As I didn’t do any proper writing during the day, I may do some this evening. Or at least some note-work for other works in progress.

I’m going to keep my little man for now because I like him. A lot. And he still has a job to do. I’ve also decided to show the total word-count target for Catch the Rainbow. When I have more than one writing job on the go, he may have to be replaced with one or more plain Writertopia progress meter(s).

CATCH THE RAINBOW (word meter from Writertopia)

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