Monthly Archives: July 2014

What do the tax people do?

Way back, on the day when I made my entry of June 13th about having to make changes to my novel as a result of reader feedback I received a letter from the IRS in response to my query of May 10th. It was basically an acknowledgement letter saying they were working on it and I could expect a reply within 45 days.

Today I received the reply. They have passed it on to another office and I will be contacted within 30 days. Why couldn’t they have done this when they first looked at my letter? They had to look closely enough at it to get my name, address and tax code to send me their first reply. Surely they could have seen then that it needed to go elsewhere. They could have saved themselves the cost of sending a letter to the UK by sending the letter I received today instead of the acknowledgement letter. I wonder how many other times they have done something similar.

It’s good to see that the UK tax office isn’t the only one that seems to work with independent left and right hands.

Anyway, I’m not ready to make use of the tax code yet. I have done a substantial re-write of part one of the novel to iron out some of the problems with it, and have just about completed it. I hope to have it completed by the end of next week, or soon after. Then I need to start parts two and three. Hopefully they should be quicker than the first part, although there are a few chapters which need to be re-thought.

I have tentatively set myself a deadline of the end of August to complete it. That might be a bit ambitious, but that is when my wife returns from an extended holiday in New Zealand. She is currently over there to help out with her first grandchild, who is expected imminently (like sometime in the next week). I’ve got to prove I’ve been doing something during her absence besides playing with the dog! But seriously, there is a lot to do outside at the moment. I’m trying to clear a piece of garden which over the years has become a bit of a dumping ground for anything that doesn’t go anywhere else. I want to turn it into a stoned area with herbs. That might be some way off at the moment, but as we’re actually experiencing a summer this year it’s going to be a bit of a distraction while the weather is so good.

Talking of distractions, I might make an entry about them. It’s so easy to be distracted from the writing, like making this blog entry instead. But I’ll discuss that in the future.

A structured day

I started writing seriously three years ago when I was made redundant from my post as an Oracle Database Administrator. Because I worked from home for three days a week I had a home office set up specifically for work, where I was surrounded by work related books, folders, equipment, etc. The only non-work things in the office were my guitars and sound equipment, the room doubling as a music room in the evenings.

The work related items have all gone now and have been replaced by writing related things and it is the place I will one day hopefully write something worth publishing.

Although a flexitime system was in operation, I worked quite regular hours. A lot has been said about a sudden loss of routine and focus with regard to its effects on health. How many people do you hear of only surviving a year or so after retirement. I’m currently in my late fifties, so I did have a slight concern about it.

I decided that the best thing for me would be to establish a regular routine, so that it would be a bit like going to work. Not only would this give me a focus but it would also structure the day giving me a sense of purpose. I still follow the daily routine I planned three years ago. Although it originally only applied Monday to Friday, I find it now applies to every day.

So a typical day goes something like this:

Most days after seeing my wife off to work (as a teacher) and walking the dog on the beach (if low-tide is in the morning) I will set myself up in the office. Armed with mugs of green tea and the occasional biscuit, I will spend the morning writing or doing some other writing related task.

After lunch I will do various jobs around the house and garden such as mowing the grass, cleaning out the chickens, tending the vegetable patch, playing with or walking the dog, and anything else that might need doing (and there are plenty of them).

In the evenings if we are not binge watching a DVD box set I will do a bit of writing after clearing up the evening meal. Writing in the evenings has only really taken off in the last year since I started writing my Supremacy novel.

I have to say that writing seems easier in the evening but I don’t want it to come between me and my wife so I tend to restrict it to periods when she is doing something else (marking, lesson planning, making cards, watching CSI or NCIS or some other anagram of them).