Freedom From The Mundane - A Writer's Blog

Saturday, October 01, 2005

September's GDR Review

October already! September just flew past and the twilight of the year is approaching fast - which means creativity is in spate. But not today as there was much work needing done in the house, nowhere more-so than in my office.

I had Laura's dance duties to take care of first however; getting up with her at 7am and getting all her gear ready and into Leith. Gail has been really tired all week so I let her lie in and while Laura was in her classes I headed into the centre of Edinburgh to scout some book cover locations for next week's shoot.

I started at the west end and worked my way along Princes Street and into the Gardens. Ross Bandstand is a good prospect for something entertaining I think. After helping some Americans with directions, I headed further east and decided I wanted a coffee. I stopped in a shop just off St. Andrews Square and took a seat in the window.

With a cappuccino in my left hand and my pencil in the other I started to write into my notebook. I came out with half a dozen new poems for the Festival book and some other various garb, but it was so nice just to be sitting in peace and writing about the city from the comfort of a cafe.

Then the fun started. Before I went back to collect Laura I thought I would try Calton Hill for a suitable location that would give me a view along Princes Street. When I got to the top I was knackered and my legs starting to hurt. It was very windy but I seemed unable to get the view I wanted.

I realised the Nelson Monument was directly in line with where I thought I needed to be so in I went. A wee lady stopped me and after she stopped laughing at me profusely sweating forehead, I asked her if there was enough room at the top for a photographer and subject.

She said if I wanted to nip up and take a look that would be fine and that I wouldn't have to pay if that was all it was for. I said I would pay next week when we came back for the shoot. She also gave me the number of someone I have to call for permission but that it shouldn't be a problem.

Thinking it was only a few steps up I started off taking them two at a time. The steps took me up in a steep upwards spiral and after a couple of minutes I had to stop from the burning pain in my thighs. I restarted and every time I thought I was just round the corner from the top, the steps just kept on coming, and coming.

Eventually I got there and squeezed through the narrow door, falling out into the balcony wheezing and gasping. Lines of sweat were blown off my head from the strong headwind and the hood of my jacket whipped round and slapped me in the face.

The view however, was unbelievable. I could see all around Edinburgh for miles but even better, I could see directly down onto Princes Street and right along it with the Scott Monument, Edinburgh Castle, the Balmoral Hotel and the Gardens all in clear view. Spectacular doesn't describe it and the chances are if we can get the right shot, this will be the cover of Fringe Fantastic.

After getting Laura and going home I made lunch and got started on completing the office. I patched up a couple of botched paint efforts on the wall and put the first undercoat on the radiator. Gail helped me install the handles on the furniture and after much discussion we decided where everything was going to go in the room. We brought the book-case up the stairs from the garage and suddenly the room really was beginning to look the way I envisaged at the start.

I started bringing in all my boxes from storage and sorting all my books, papers, research material and magazines into piles. Some of it will be stored properly in the loft and some binned. The rest will find a place on the book-case.

With stiffening muscles though and a sore back, I stopped for the night after Gail ordered a Chinese meal. I was too sore to restart and decided to leave the rest until the morning.

Time waits for no man though, so here's September's Monthly GDR Round-up of my work.

* Submit On A Monday Morning to WM competition - done (posted 6/9/05).
* Final edit on Whisky Snatching and submit to WM (deadline Jan' 06) - still WIP.
* Pitch What A Waste to high-ranking paying markets only - query written; section under rewrite before querying.
* Get on top of submissions list - updated all listed publications; sent all simultaeneous submissions out.
* Refresh myself with A Friend to Die For using methods developed for HJ - brief read over; no firm plans as yet due to other work.
* Work out plot to fit Stella by Yello - not done, but no hurry for last month. Been on my mind though and will be done over next two months.

* Write remaining poems about the Edinburgh Festival - 39 poems typed and edited.
* Collate best poems of the Festival - done
* Collate best photographs of the Festival - done; selected suitable entries from circa 300 pics
* Design and format the layout for the chapbook - second draft of text ms complete and printed for final proof read
* Consider some poems for submission to Circadian Poems - submitted, Perfect Apple, Empty and Brunette - all accepted

* Chase up query for RLS market - not done; need to dig out new markets for this
* Write four more articles for Great Scottish Authors series (400-600 w each) - done (Arthur Conan Doyle, Sir Walter Scott, James Barrie and Irvine Welsh)
* Interview Ian Rankin - done; needs typed up and articles written.
* Rework RLS article (poetry focus) for Circadian Poems (990 w) - accepted. To be published on 4/10

Marketing and Promotion
* Bookmarks - got stuff from Michelle, investigating further.
* New round of leaflets for HJ - no point as KIC appears to be folding
* Begin preparing a strategy for the Fringe Festival chapbook campaign - no work done on this yet.
* Update my main website - complete; new non-fiction and contact/press section; other pages updated for relevance.

Reading and Research
* Read Rick Lupert's chapbooks - all 5 read.
* Read Tall Tales and short Stories Vol.2 for - done.
* Keep up to date with KIC e-zines - done; almost up to date with all my subscriptions.
* Finish Kidnapped by RLS - stalled.
* Finish research book for future project - stalled.
* Finish Rankin research - done.

Other Projects
None this month.

Things That Turned Up
* 2 poems written (outwith Festival book scope); (Perfect Apple, Empty)
* Advertised for photographers on 3 online forums - loads of responses; met with and appointed Sarah Swanson.
* Final edits to the KIC Round Table Interview - completed.
* Pitched idea of Rankin Feature on KIC website (as opposed to newsletter) - Accepted but probably going nowhere now.
* Applied for p/t freelance position with American publication looking for Scottish writers.
* Shaggy Dog Review looks like it's going to become a going concern. Very exciting.

* Met with UK's leading crime writer, Ian Rankin - an invaluable experience.
* Found a photographer for the Festival book project.
* Applied for some non-fiction work online.
* Took some nice landscape photography.

Not sure if I class rejections as failures precisley but I'll include them here anyway.
* Glimmer Train rejected Daffodils. They don't know what they had.

Fiction - 1200
Non-Fiction - 3840
Blog - 19,300

It's been a damn good month. Not a lot of fictional output because all my time and energy has been spent focussing on the Festival book and non-fiction work. I have no problem with this and am not disappointed because the work I am doing, I am learning greatly from. The experience and work involved is great fun and well worthwhile.

As far as watershed moments in my writing career go, meeting and talking with Ian Rankin has to be at the top of the list. While it was essentially an interview for an article, I gained a wonderful insight and valuable advice from a man with a wealth of experience and a literary back-catalogue to make any writer stand in awe. It was a pleasure and an honour.

Looking to next month, the close of September will see the publication (hopefully) of the Festival book. Autumn is now tumbling towards me and the pull of new fiction becoming stronger because of it. My hunger, as it always seems to do at this time of year, is swelling within me.

Great things are afoot.
Colin 11:36 am


Damn good month - no kidding! The amount and quality you got done in one month is absolutely amazing.
It's like I pull up a full bucket of "Git 'Er Done" creative juice when I visit this well of inspiration, otherwise known as your great blog, Colin! This one I'm going to print out and post by computer.

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