Writing Journal 6: Sunday Writing

Writing Journal 6: Sunday Writing

My writing journal for Sunday, August 17, 2014. All the journal entries are here.

An early start with fiction…

It’s Sunday, the day of rest and family commitments. Up at 5AM, as usual however. Straight to the novella, which is now at 40,000 words, and nudging into novel territory.  I was aiming for 25,000 words, but the story took off. That’s OK. I’ll trim it back in revision.

After fixing a few things from yesterday’s scene, I stop for the day at 1,200 words. Only a few scenes left to go, then revisions, while starting the next novella in the series.

On to messages from Julia, and email. There’s less email on weekends. It’s mostly student questions, and exercises. Julia handles what she can. I glance over the responses she sent to clients and students yesterday, then send three long messages to students.

Time for Honey’s breakfast, and mine.

No walking today. Rain’s pouring down, which is wonderful for the garden, but horrible for my bad back — I desperately need exercise.  I scrawl YOGA onto a sticky note and stick it onto my desk.

I did Chi Kung a few years ago; it helped with my RSI. I may go back to that. When I started the exercises, I though “chi” was a metaphor. It’s not. After a while, you can feel the chi in your body. Then you get distracted, and surprised at the sensations. It’s a meditative exercise, so you need to remind yourself to focus on what you’re doing, and not on the chi. :-)

Another nonfiction book.

During breakfast, I make some notes for a new nonfiction book. It’s the fourth book in a series I’ve been ghostwriting for a client.

After breakfast, I publish a post about Kindle self publishing on the freelance blog.

I make some notes on what I still need to do today. Then it’s time to close down my computer, and get ready to deal with Sunday.

Back in the office…

It’s late afternoon, and time to get ready for the upcoming week. I download the Blogo blogging app (Mac), thinking that it may help me with blogging. It has Evernote integration, which is good. However, I soon go back to drafting posts in my usual way. I don’t have any time to tinker with it today.

I’ve made a great start on draft blog posts over the past week. You can never have too many, so I create a cluster diagram to gain some insights, then quickly create a few more drafts.

The drafts are simply a title, and  a few sentences. I make some notes for client blogs in Trello.

Clearing the decks in the online store.

Next, the online store. We’ve got a full calendar of new programs for writers and marketers coming up. We’re clearing the decks, by withdrawing programs we’re not actively promoting. So I need to choose three programs to close.

Onward to Authentic Writing. I need to incorporate ideas from students’ feedback, and revise the lessons.

(Yawn.) It’s been a long day. I’m an introvert by nature, which means that while I happily socialize, and always enjoy it, it’s nevertheless exhausting, and I need time to regain energy. Introverts are social beings, but we’re drained of energy when we socialize. Extroverts gain energy from socialization.

I do some yoga breathing in Mountain Pose; a couple of easy forward bends, and spend three minutes in Cobra.

That’s much better. I’d forgotten that unlike other exercises, gentle yoga stretches are energizing, and they clear your mind.

Finally… that’s it. My daily review, and weekly review are done. Word counts done. And onward to a new week. :-)

Need help with your writing? Check out the Fab Freelance Writing Blog, and/ or subscribe to the ezine. Everyone’s writing more these days. Get in touch, and tell us about your challenges. We’d love to help.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Writing Journal 4: Fiction Choices, Pen Names and More

Writing Journal 4: Fiction Choices, Pen Names and More

 

My writing journal entry for August 15, 2014. You can find all the entries here.

Fiction, nonfiction … the end is in sight.

Wrote 1,600 words of my historical romance novella this morning, and the end is in sight. I’ve planned the final scenes too. And I’ve decided not to turn it into a serial, after all.

I’m sure you’re wondering: a serial? This was the client’s proposal.

Last night I had a call from the client who commissioned me to write the five historical romance novellas. He asked whether we could turn the current novella into a serialized novel — a partwork. I’d mentioned that the novella was running a little long, and that I was (almost) turning it into a novel. He said that his publishing company would be interested if I wanted to extend the novella. Could I turn it into a novel, and serialize it? They were prepared to commission a three-episode serial, and still wanted all five novellas.

I asked him to give me time to think about the story, and how I might do that. I read the novella, trying to read it as a reader might. Yes, I could turn it into a novel, and it would work — with effort — as a part-work.

Then this morning I decided against it, for one reason only: it’s almost done. I know myself. I’ve geared up for five novellas. Tinkering with this story would take at least two to three weeks. I’d lose the thread of the other two novellas. And it would cause havoc with deadlines.

I’d need to change the deadlines on other commissioned work, and that isn’t fair to clients. Reworking this story, at this stage, would only frustrate me.

So, as soon as I completed planning the final scenes of the novella, I sent the client an email message. I offered to create a proposal for a NEW serialized novel after all five novellas are complete. I wouldn’t be able to slot in the new project until early next year.

Writing tip: communicate with your clients — it leads to more work. I enjoy talking about writing, as you can tell. However, it’s often a struggle to convince my writing students that they need to communicate with clients. If I hadn’t told the client that the novella was running long, he wouldn’t have offered me the opportunity to do a serial.

Communicate often with your clients. They’re not aware of how you write, or what else you write. You’ll find that clients often have more work for you, if you share thoughts and ideas with them.

Nonfiction: almost done with the book.

I completed another 750 words of the nonfiction book, and there’s only the conclusion left to write. I’ve exported the remaining chapters from Scrivener to Word, and sent them off to the client. I’ll wait for their thoughts, before I do the revision and conclusion.

Next, breakfast for Honey and for me, and then a quick walk.

Email… 

Then the morning’s email. Julia’s compiled the material from the beta testers of the authentic writing program, so I need to look at that. With their insights incorporated, I can get the program finished, and perhaps even offer it next week.

I spend 40 minutes on email. Feedback for students, as well as quotes and responses to clients. I’m booked solid until the end of the year now. Julia’s got some “thank you for thinking of us, we’re fully booked” boilerplate she can send to new enquirers. We chat about this. She knows what I like to write, so if anything comes in that I really want to do, she’ll let me know.

We’ve got the Leap into Copywriting program coming up, and I’ve got a full order book of copywriting and ghostwriting too. This year has just zoomed past.

Writing fiction? Write your Christmas-themed stories NOW

A few months ago I outlined a series of Christmas-themed short stories and a novella that I want to get onto Amazon by the start of December. They’ll be published under a pen name. I’ve got three months to get them done, which is plenty of time, but I need to make a start now. Editing takes time, and so do revisions.

I’m in two minds about promotion for the short stories. I haven’t even created a website for the pen name yet. No time. :-) I’m inclined just to let promoting the name go until next year. I’ve published several long short stories under that pen name, but nothing else, so it’s pointless to promote, because there’s nothing to promote. The Christmas material will help to establish the name, but there’s still nothing to promote. That’s OK. It’s best to think longterm.

Maybe I’ll try the “Liliana Nirvana” strategy that Hugh Howey talked about. Or maybe not. I  haven’t decided. I’ll do more with that pen name next year, once I get all the ghostwriting commissions out of the way.

Next, work on the video script. I do another cluster diagram, which shakes something loose. I zoom through the script, and the slides. After a couple of hours, I leave it for Julia to proof and send off to the client. It’s a rush job, so I should be able to get it all done over the weekend, if I’m lucky.

Lunch, blogging, then project reports and revisions.

Julia and I go out for lunch most Fridays, so we can discuss finishing up projects and upcoming work without too many distractions.

She goes back to work; I decide to spend an hour in the library, so I can draft blog posts for the coming weeks. I manage 1200 words, which is excellent. On my way back, I phone a couple of clients to let them know how their blogs are progressing.

As I mentioned above, if you’re a writer, you need to communicate with clients as much as you can. Not so often that you’re a nuisance, but enough to let them know what’s happening, and to give them input on their projects if they want it.

So, I go over what we’ve been doing this week  with students, and clients. Julia makes some notes for the reports; I catch up on phone calls.

(Yawn.) Afternoon slump. I reward myself for a productive day with some reading, just for entertainment. I always have a couple books on the go at once, so I choose to spend half an hour with Ian Rankin’s Saints of the Shadow Bible. I enjoy British crime fiction. My other current entertainment-read is R. D. Wingfield’s Frost at Christmas.

“Authentic writing” project feedback, and revisions.

I read the feedback that Julia’s compiled from the messages from the beta testers, and make notes for revisions.

It’s 5PM, and I’m done for the day. I do my daily review; good word counts. And that’s it for the work week. (Yes, I write on the weekends. Usually. :-))

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

My Writing Journal: Fiction, Nonfiction, Copywriting

My Writing Journal: Fiction, Nonfiction, Copywriting

Here we go with the first day of my writing journal – I hope it inspires you to buckle down and write. Why a journal? Explanation here.

A 5 AM Start, With Fiction.

Out of bed, without hitting the snooze button. Snoozing the alarm is always a temptation, but when I do it means I start the day way behind, so I avoid it. Otherwise I feel pressured all day, and the extra few minutes of dozing aren’t worth it.

I let Honey, my Jack Russell terrier, out while the coffee’s brewing. I gulp coffee and jump right into my current fiction project. It’s a series of historical romance novellas, which I’m ghostwriting for a client. I’m on number three. The client’s thrilled with the first two. He originally commissioned three novellas, but has asked for two more.

So, now I have five to write. Luckily they’re huge fun. I’m halfway through the third, and they’re getting longer and longer. Oops… I need to rein it in, otherwise we’ll end up with two novellas and three novels.

At the end of an hour – two timer sessions – I’ve written 1,200 words, which is enough for today. I need to plan the next couple of scenes; I’ll do that late tonight, or first thing tomorrow.

Fueled by coffee, I feed Honey, and carry on with a nonfiction book, also for a client, for another two timer sessions. Only 500 words of new material, but I’ll take it. I went back to revise a couple of chapters, and exported them to Word from Scrivener, ready to send to the client.

As a reward for my early-morning productivity, I get to read email messages. I answer questions and send feedback on exercises to writing students. I also send a quote to a client. Time flies by, and it’s almost nine o’clock. Time for breakfast, then out to run some errands.

Writing in the Library, and Then Lunch.

I need to return some library books, so I decide to spend an hour writing in the library. Not only is the library peaceful; I enjoy writing there. I outline a couple of new projects in Evernote, then write 700 words of draft blog posts.

After a quick lunch with a friend to discuss a writing project, it’s back to the office.

Afternoon: Reading, Research, and Client Projects.

Chat to Julia. Then more coffee, and more email: quotes for clients, and feedback for students. Then onto the phone, to return some calls.

Time to relax for an hour. Unless I’m traveling, or working on-site, or at meetings, I use afternoons to catch my breath, and work on short projects. I’m most productive in the mornings, and I’m pleased with this morning’s effort, so I allow myself some reading time. I open my ReadKit newsreader. I browse some blogs, make some notes.

Next, I need to do some research for a couple of copywriting projects. I make notes, and do a couple of mind map diagrams, then draft the ads. I call the graphic designer. He uploads a composite for me.

More copywriting. I work on a writer’s bio for an hour, and send him a draft. (More on writer’s bios below.)

Time for a walk. Alone, sadly. Honey’s aging. She rarely walks with me when it’s cold. I take my phone, so I can make some audio notes in Evernote.

Back again. More phone calls. And the day’s done. I’ll review the day’s word counts later.

Daily Review and Word Counts.

After dinner, it’s time for a review of current projects. Everything is on track. However, I’ve put off some administrative stuff I need to do, and I didn’t get around to working on new materials for a writing class.

I check my word counts for the day, and enter them into my log. I’m not in the mood to think about fiction, so I’ll do the scene planning tomorrow.

Writer’s Bios Closed for New Bookings This Year.

I enjoy writing bios, but it takes time, around three to four hours each, at least. We ran an offering on writer’s bios and had lots of bookings, so they’re closed for the rest of the year. Here are some tips on writing a quick bio if you need to write one.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.