31 January 2007


I wrote a staggering 24,000 words in a two-day spell earlier this week. I'm well on target to hit the 50,000 I have set myself.

My debtor has paid the principal of the debt but not the outstanding interest and compensation. Another letter threatening court action is about to go out. This is so tiresome. I wish they'd just pay up.

A client I pitched to for a copywriting contract has turned me down. Not sure why, need to find out.

My replacement contact lens finally arrived yesterday, nearly a week late. Never mind, I can see again without specs!

Not that I need the work right now - I have masses lined up. Too much in fact, so I'd best crack on.

26 January 2007

Amazon - how to lose customers

Thank you. Not.

Please tell your idiot delivery person to ring my door bell, rather than dumping my parcel of books in the shrubbery on a wet day. I only spotted the package by chance, otherwise it would have sat there for a long time. And then, had it not been nicked by the local hooligans, the contents would have been ruined.

As it is, you are lucky that the contents were merely chilled rather than damp.

I am not impressed.

ISP trouble

BT Internet is letting me down. Over the last three days, emails have arrived very randomly - some turning up 2 or 3 days late, others (from listservs) arriving out of sequence by hours or even days. The most annoying thing is that I'm expecting work and there's no sign of it. Luckily, my Russian client was able to send me a file by Skype, but gawd knows when the rest will arive.

In the meantime, I'm still minus a contact lens. It was supposed to arrive on Wednesday, but a quick call to my optician confirmed they haven't received it yet. Grrr...

And I've had to cope with a very minor seizure this morning, which means my brain is still having trouble processing words. Epilepsy is a pain when you work in my field.

The good news is that I've got a large cheque to pay in from a happy client. And my debtor hasn't paid up yet, so I'm rubbing my hands at the thought of starting a court action...

22 January 2007

Domestic crises

Yes, more than one. Things are off to a bad start at Wordsmith Towers. This morning, the ring main blew on the first floor of the house - the lights are working but the plug sockets are dead. My beloved P has just this morning flown abroad for work, so we can't fix the electricity problem until Thursday at the earliest. Luckily, I can still shower elsewhere in the building and the supply is fine in my office, so I can still earn a living.

To make matters worse, I was putting my contact lenses in when the cleaner arrived and, in my haste, managed not to put the left one in. I didn't realise until some 20 minutes later when I wondered why I was having trouble reading my emails. The left lens is missing in action - 4 people have tramped through Wordsmith Towers since I lost it: me, P, the cleaner and his apprentice. The lens could be anywhere now and has probably been crushed under someone's shoe. I resigned myself to the fact that's it gone and have ordered a new one. Only two days to wait until it arrives at the optician. In the meantime, it's back to my glasses.

I've cheered myself up in the interim by phoning my bad debtor and insisting on immediate payment or else they'll be facing court action... hopefully, they will now cough up.

18 January 2007

Lurgy part 2

I've been struck with the lurgy again, the second time since the turning of the year. I was fine on Monday - I had a lot of work on, so I decided to plough through it all and go the gym on Tuesday.

Tuesday dawned and I awoke with a stiff neck and aching body, not to mention a head full of snot.

I've done little since then - a few fast-turnaround editing jobs and proofreading some magazine pages.

I've perked up now though - I've just been commissioned to write a local tourism feature for a national website. The money is great, although I have a tight deadline. I'd better get the Olbas Oil out and get cracking...

13 January 2007

Unethical tactics exposed

And rightly so...

Browsing other blogs this morning, I dropped by Girl With A One Track Mind, which I enjoy dipping into occasionally. Hell, I even bought the book! I hadn't read her blog for a while, but I was delighted to see that she'd decided to out the news editor of the Sunday Times - this was Nicholas Hellen, who sent Abby Lee a rather nasty email in which he detailed exactly how he planned to out her, and her mother.

Such tactics disgust me (that'll be the Sunday Times' tactics, not Lee's, which I think were entirely justified). In our media-savvy, celebrity-obsessed world, we all know that papers can and will stoop very low, but Hellen's activities were the lowest. Abby Lee is not a celebrity (and even if she was, I don't approve of such methods), she's simply a woman who enjoys sex. And she's entitled to a private life. Now, some may argue that blogging about her sex life in the public domain means she's lost her right to privacy. I disagree. Hellen's outing of Lee served no purpose other than to attempt to increase his paper's declining sales.

Hellen would be better off using his talents, if he has any, to expose government cover-ups, corrupt businessmen and other stuff that genuinely deserves to be put into the public arena.

There's much debate in journalistic circles about the planned new law on privacy - many journalists fear it will restrict their right to report stories. As it may, but the press has only itself to blame after years of publishing non-stories about ordinary people's private lives. I, for one, welcome the new law. Because, let's face it, while Hellen and his ilk continue to print this kind of muck, it makes me ashamed to be part of the profession of journalism.

12 January 2007

Chilled white wine

I'm sitting here sipping a 2002 South African colombard. Well deserved, I might add.

I've finished the book, completed one style guide, written two-thirds of the other one, sent out my invoices, edited some copy for two business clients and sat through a 90-minute meeting with a new client. Not all today, just since my last blog.

All well and good. I still haven't phoned to make an appointment for the haircut - that's first on tomorrow's list. Then I'm going to catch up with my poor neglected friends again. The busy week was made even busier nursing my beloved P through bronchitis this week. Working from home can be lonely at times, but it's preferable to having a sick significant other under one's feet all day - it's very distracting and, much as I love him, it makes it difficult to concentrate on the job. That's one advantage office workers have over me.

Talking of which, I've been tuning into Radio 4 all week to listen to Working From Home, five 15-minute programmes on the realities of being self-employed. Very resonant.

Now I'm putting my feet up and enjoying the peace and calm of a quiet Friday evening, before the Monday madness resumes...

09 January 2007

Where do all the hours go?

I suspect they deliberately hide in a dark corner somewhere.

I've been seriously rushed off my feet over the last week while battling a cold (thankfully now gone). My "to do" list seems to be ever lengthening and I wonder how on earth I'm going to find the time to tick all the tasks off.

I'm now more than two-thirds of the way through the book I'm editing, but I still have a style guide to finish for one client and another to start writing for another client, plus his proofs to check. My accounts need looking over, so I can see who still owes me money and chase them for it. My two pitches were both turned down :( so I need to devote some time to repitching them in a different format or finding some other publications to aim them at.

In between all that, I need to find some spare moments to get my hair cut, go to the bank, read through the pile of new reference books I've just invested in and start some proper work on the news website I want to launch.

And the year is only 9 days old!

04 January 2007


Three days back at work and I've been struck down with a cold. I blame my beloved P, who's been nursing a virus for a few days. Yesterday, he stayed home, too sick to go into work. At least being based at home allows me the luxury of working in my dressing gown, although I was really struggling today.

My head is swimming and I can't concentrate much. The book I am working on has turned out to be less straightforward than I expected and I'm severely regretting my decision to take it on and bail the client out of a hole at short notice. On top of which, a lot of my regular clients, for whom I do short-notice, fast-turnaround jobs, all want a piece of my time too.

I took a couple of hours off this afternoon for a nap, in the vain hope I'd feel more up to working after after some zeds. Fat chance. I feel worse now than before. Roll on tomorrow...

01 January 2007

2007 off to a good start

The new year is barely a day old and I'm officially not at work until tomorrow but I've already been offered two jobs today. The magazine I write for has contracted me to write a style manual to ease the editing process and has also commissioned me to proofread the page proofs before the publication goes to press.

I've also been offered the possibility of copy-editing a very large book, but I don't know enough about the work yet to price it or even say if I can do it. I also am unsure about the client - whether I'll get paid or not, etc. So I'll wait and see how that pans out before committing myself.

Life at Wordsmith Towers is being handled carefully today as yours truly is feeling a little fragile after last night's festivities.

Tomorrow, work resumes in earnest and the next two weeks are looking very busy already... somehow I must find the time to keep up my intention of going to the gym 3 times a week.