I had a busy month, and so I decided to recap it here. This is not intended as a boast, though I suspect I really should tag this humblebrag, but as a way to pull back the veil on…well, work. And I’ll be honest about what I accomplished, what I didn’t accomplished and should have, and what I’m doing next month.
What I Got Done:
1. I beta read 2 full manuscripts, 1 half manuscript, 2 passes on the same partial manuscript, and I’m about a third into another. I beta read just about 320,000 words in January.
2. I edited one full client manuscript, one partial client manuscript, two synopses and two queries. I edited about 116,000 words for freelance clients.
3. I also edited my book, The Spy with the Red Balloon, for the last time before it goes to copy edits. I finished that on Friday and sent it off to my editor. That’s 104,000 words.
4. I read 7 books this month: The Wedding Date, Before I Let Go, The Cruel Prince, Hearts and Harbingers, Orphan Monster Spy, Lighter than My Shadow and Book of Dust. I don’t have a word count on this, but the estimated pages read this month was 2, 669.
5. I also edited one short story for It’s A Whole Spiel and we finished up contracts for that.
6. I only wrote about 350 new words other than what I wrote for Spy edits.
7. I did two podcast interviews. I did three blog post interviews.
8. I did one school visit and one book festival.
What I Also Needed to Do and Didn’t Get Done
I should have finished three beta reads. One of those partial beta reads should have been a full read, and the one I’m still in the middle of should have been a full read too. And there’s another manuscript I didn’t get to at all that I’m going to take on the plane to Budapest with me next week.
I would have also liked to write a decent number of new words, but that wasn’t in the cards this month.
My fantastic dayjob boss left the organization earlier this month, and since then I’ve been doing two people’s jobs. It’s occasionally meant longer hours, but mostly it’s meant that my brain works at warp speed for eight hours and thus I cannot work at warp speed for 5 more after I get home. I carry a lot of my job home with me right now, mentally and emotionally, and I didn’t previously. There’s nothing to be done about that unfortunately as it’s largely out of my hands, but it is a factor in why I didn’t finish all the beta reads I wanted to finish this month.
- I’m looking to (finally) finish that draft of my middle grade so I can send it to my agent and I must write two short stories. I also really need to write my author’s note for Spy with the Red Balloon. So those are my writing goals for the month.
- I also expect to get copy edits back on my short story in Marieke Nijkamp’s anthology Unbroken and copy edits back on Spy with the Red Balloon.
- I am doing a (paid) sensitivity read for a friend.
- I am finishing the beta read I’m in right now, and doing two more this month. But that’s it because I obviously can’t do much more than that!
- I have one freelance client booked for a full manuscript and two query clients right now.
- I want to read five books, one of which is outside of my comfort zone.
Balancing a dayjob with freelancing and obligations to the writing community and your own work isn’t easy. And if you don’t get a checklist worth of work done, that doesn’t mean you’re not doing enough or you’re lesser or anything like that. We all have our unique situations and needs. I ran myself ragged in January, and I’m hoping that reducing my freelance load in February will help me balance more. But it’s a work in progress.
I hope this is interesting or helpful, and feel free to ask questions! I asked on Twitter what people’s goals were and I loved the responses! Please feel free to share yours with me in the comments below.