writer at work

Brain chaos

Image by ElisaRiva from Pixabay

I’ve been a bit preoccupied this week. Not navel-gazing or anything like that. Just trying to sort everything in my head into some sort of workable order. It’s been a bit chaotic in there of late.

Mostly I’ve been working on the new book series. It was very much in the inspiration stage at the beginning of the week, but I think it’s smoothed out into something workable by now.

At the start of the week I was working on the structure. I set up the binder in Scrivener, and I had a bash at writing the first few chapters. On Monday I wrote 1,200 words, on Tuesday I wrote 800 words, and on Wednesday I wrote 1,707 words, just to see if it might have legs.

Now, the entire 5-book series is planned out with the first two sections to repeat in all of them.

The series is a bundle of writers’ guides and initially I wanted to do a writealong alongside it. I already had an idea for a 50,000-word novella and possibly two sequels. But after writing 908 words for this one, it started to fizzle out.

I thought that perhaps I might be doing too much at once, and so I abandoned the idea of a writealong while I write the series and will instead do a worked example once the series is complete.

While I had a break in between all of this, I surfed the job boards and found two jobs I fancied. I sent off pitches to both. One was an editing job, the other was a ghostwriting job. The ghostwriting job would pay double that the one I’m already doing pays, so I thought perhaps that was a natural progression for me if I was selected.

I settled down to the current ghostwriting job and I set up the Scrivener binder. Then I went to Canva and created my own cover for it, both for visual inspiration while I write and for when I create the ebook for my own private use. (I like to have a copy, even if it’s only on my e-shelf, so that I can see what I’ve achieved.)

Next was some admin for Monkey Dust, the poet’s band. With lockdown hopefully easing over the coming months, the gigs are starting to come in and so are the holidays. So there was some diary work to do for them. This also means that Diane’s Gig List will be stirring back into life too, and there was some work to do for that as well.

Back to the new writers’ guide series, and I started to do some cover work for that too. I designed the ‘brand’ for the whole series and 6 book covers (one for each book and one for the omnibus). I also designed the spines and the back covers for if I decide to go hard-copy with it.

On Wednesday morning I was informed that I’d made it to the shortlist for the new ghostwriting gig and that I’d be sent details of a paid-for sample first chapter. The details arrived the next morning, and I accepted it.

I researched a load of new mock-up software and tried out a few more freebies. There are two that I like and I’ll use those for the publicity when the first book in the series is almost ready to go. I also started to look at cover-specific software.

Canva is great, but I can only do a front cover easily. I have to create the spine and the back cover separately and that’s quite labour-intensive. I had a look at Photopea, Gimp and Photoshop, but it all looked a bit too complicated for me, and I’d only use a very small portion of what those packages are capable of.

I found some cover software and I found some box set mock-up templates, but neither was free. And so I slept on whether or not I’d get much use out of either. I also started off a percolation about whether or not to setup a newsletter, but the jury’s still out on that one. For now.

The subtitle for Book 4 wasn’t sitting very well with me, but after some brainstorming with the poet, we came up with something that really should have been the first thing to spring to mind.

On Thursday morning I planned out my workload over the next few months. I know that I can write 2,000 words per day for up to 3 projects. So, with this sample (paid-for) chapter included, I drew up a work schedule for the next few months.

The current ghostwriting gig will end around 16 April. Book 1 of the series is going to take me to 9 April, including revisions. And this sample chapter needs to be in by 12 March. (It’s actually 14 March, but as I don’t work at the weekend unless I have to, it’s booked in for 12 March.)

I then took the series to its end, and booked in two lots of holidays. At the moment, all five books and the box set should be finished by 3 September, but I’ll be releasing them as each one becomes ready. The lengths are 30,000 words, 32,000 words, 42,000 words, 30,000 words, and 42,000 words.

Once I knew how long I’d like it all to take me, I opened up my 10-project planner spreadsheet and duplicated it with only these current projects on, plus the omnibus box set, the current ghostwriting gig, the sample chapter and The Beast Within.

The 10th project was a potential 4th ghostwriting gig from the current client, but it can be whatever else comes in by then. I updated all of my target word-counts (for writing) and page-counts (for revisions), and I filled in all of the projected start dates and completion dates.

I’ve decided that I’ll work on the planning for The Beast Within while I have three other writing projects on the go. It might seem daunting to some to have four projects in progress at the same time, but I am a bit of a butterfly and I do like the variety.

I now have a lot of words to write in March, but at least it’s a nice, long month.

However, I still had that cover-generating software gnawing away at the back of my mind as well as the box set mock-up templates. I’d pretty much settled on one of each, but even with the discounts I found, I can’t really justify the cost at the moment … and then I remembered it’s my birthday next week!

So … the poet has treated me to the book cover software deluxe edition, as well as a couple of other things, and his mother has treated me to the mock-up templates, although she doesn’t know that yet. I’m now the proud owner of BookCoverly Deluxe and BoxsetPro. But the cover for Book 6 in the series, the omnibus, is now the cover for the box set.

Phew! Was it any surprise that I was feeling a bit overwhelmed? Now that it’s all out of my head and on planners and things, I can relax.

I managed to do a few more searches on the jobs board, and I saved about half a dozen jobs to consider more thoroughly. I won’t have time to do that this week now, though, so I’ll keep that for next week.

I did some more work on the current ghostwriting gig, and then I called it a week.

Have a great weekend!

2 thoughts on “Brain chaos

  1. I think you’ve left my brain in a bit of a chaotic way trying to follow all your plans! Best wishes for it all – sounds great and I think you’ll achieve it all

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