Tag Archives: scheduling time to write

Three projects, one day, 24 hours: progress

Five to 9…what is that? A sixteen-hour day? And I’m knocking off early: normally would work till 11 p.m.

LOL! Back when I was a working stiff in the magazine industry, one of my editors used to say that freelance writing was grand because it allowed you to pick your work hours: any 18 hours of the day you please!

With the teaching antics temporarily in abeyance, several whole days have presented themselves for productive work.

And lacking too many interruptions, I’ve been able to do a little on each of the three projects in hand: Writing a new (more or less erotic) novel (shaping up to be a romance!); building a prospectus for the nonfiction Boob Book coping with decisions women have to make when confronted with a breast diagnosis); putting the completed Fire-Rider novel online in serialized form.

So: yesterday I wrote one of the appendices for the Boob Book: how to read a scientific paper. Next segment: a chapter on the screening controversies. Wrote a little on the new book. And spent several hours fiddling with the new template I hope to use for the 19 serial novelettes.

Half of today was consumed with a business meeting and a doctor’s appointment 25 miles from home: lots of time disappeared there. But between 5 and 6:30 ayem, I did squeeze in a paragraph or two of the new-old novel.

Later, back at the Funny Farm: it was back to the project of fitting Slave Labor into the proposed print-on-demand template. And ta-da! by the time the sun had been down an hour or two, the whole (little) book was pasted into the template, formatted in styles, and saved as a PDF.

The result is not bad. Not great, but not bad. It’s marginally professional. The problem is, of course, is that no matter how carefully you choose your fonts, Word is not quite up for the job of typesetting. BUT…for the purpose of cranking 5000-word penny-dreadfuls — many of them scribbled on order by flunkies willing to write erotica at an astonishing 2 cents a word  (!!!!!) — perfection is not a requisite.

Without Adobe Acrobat Pro (which I can’t afford), you can’t generate crop lines, so the PDF doesn’t make it obvious that the template is for a 5.5 x 8.5 trim size.

Joel Friedlander, the guy who cooked up this clever scheme, insists that many PoD printers can handle PDFs that have no crop lines. I’ll believe that when I see it. But if forced to it, probably my sidekick can extract a copy of Pro from her employer, the Chinese government, or the guys down at the FedEx shop will have it. One is never without resources.

Friedlander also has a cover design template, of all the astonishing things. You enter your image on the righthand side, figure and adjust the spine width, and enter your back cover copy on the left, in text boxes. Et voilà!

He proposes that one get an image sized to wrap all the way around, and in a video shows how to do that. Very nice, but I have a front cover image that I’ve already paid generously for, and it ain’t going away. So I figure either to leave cover 4 white, or to fill the spine and back cover with a color compatible with the dominant color scheme in the present design.

It’s going to be extremely interesting to see if this works. They say with the new digital PoD printers, which really are glorified computer printers with some capacity to perfect-bind whatever comes out, open all sorts of doors.

And now…I’m done in!

🙂

w00t! Boob Book Intro DONE!

To my surprise, writing the introduction to the proposed book describing the choices women face when they receive just about any kind of breast diagnoses went a lot faster than expected. At this point I’m now reduced to doing the slow, mind-numbing job of organizing 535+ pages of notes.

One of the benefits of self-employment, of course, is that you can carve some time out of your day to work on your own projects. And I do: I segment my days to devote about three hours to the client’s current book, about three hours to the Boob Book, about two hours to riding herd on my three online courses (more, when student papers come in or when course prep  has to be done), an hour or two to keeping up my various blogs, and one to three hours for marketing.

But as grand as that sounds, it’s not so easy.

Problem is, life keeps impinging on one’s business. In about fifteen minutes, for example, I have to visit an oncological nurse practitioner at the Mayo Clinic — that’s a 50-mile drive, two hours through city traffic, not counting the time spent sitting around the waiting room and then chatting with the woman, probably pointlessly. Though I’ll take my laptop and work on the client’s project, it’s difficult to concentrate when people around you are yakking on their cell phones and when staff are calling out people’s names and annoying Muzak is impinging on your consciousness.

On my way home, I’ll stop by a couple of markets in Scottsdale, stores that serve the middle class that has migrated away from my part of town; there I can buy a few items no longer available nearby because not enough of the residents remaining near my home can afford to buy such things. That will consume another half hour or so.

Yesterday I finally gave in to a friend’s repeated importuning to drive to his home way to hell and gone out in Sun City to have dinner with him and his girlfriend. I dearly love this couple, but I do NOT love driving to the sprawl-infested far west side in the rush hour. Nor could I afford the several hours of the afternoon and evening that this junket required: because my business group met that morning at a venue way on the east side of the Valley, I got almost no work done. Between the time I returned from that meeting, had something to eat, and rested up from a sleep-deprived night and the time I had to get dressed and drive to my friend’s house, only about four hours of useful work time remained.

Tomorrow I have to drive even further west — halfway to freaking Yuma, in my opinion — to go with some friends to a book-signing and of course, as long as we’re convening with the friend who lives in one of the Valley’s farthest-flung suburbs, to schmooze over lunch and catch up with news. This activity will consume about half my day.

Not to complain: I’m happy to see my friends and spend time with them. And showing up at networking groups is an indispensable part of marketing your business. The point is, the best-laid plans of mice and persons often go awry…

That’s why I say it was “to my surprise” that the introduction got itself drafted so quickly. Having several days in which the work schedule went uninterrupted…wow! But it was probably a fluke.