Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Sunny and mild
I survived yesterday, although it seemed a bit touch and go there for awhile. I got steadily worse throughout the day (you know it’s bad when I can’t even read). There was some talk in the evening of going to the emergency room, but since I am one of this country’s 47 million uninsured, in spite of being a union member (thank you, George W. Bush), I don’t go in unless I’m three quarters dead, and I wasn’t there yet.
By about three in the morning, I started to feel better. I went back to sleep (I’ve slept almost all of the past two days), and woke up at my usual 6 AM to feed the cats. Did a few gentle yoga poses, but couldn’t do very much. Still, it was better than yesterday.
Only got a couple of pages done on the mystery. I’ve lost my rhythm with it, and have to find my way back into it – again. Frustrating. But if I leave it undone, it will drag down everything else. That’s an ongoing problem with Nano – one puts so much intensity in getting the 50K done in 30 days, and has such a sense of accomplishment, that continuing on to FINISH the project often becomes a struggle.
Did about a thousand words on the Maine project. I’ll have to do some research on artisan yarn, since my protag is taking over some of the family business of alpaca, a few llamas in there for protection, and some sheep. Llamas can be nasty, but they’re good guardians. Alpaca are too darned sweet for their own good. Near where the family is up in Maine are many wonderful individual artisan yarn producers – I’ll have to do some research on them, and maybe schedule some visits on my next trip. I can read up on it all I want, but it adds an entirely different and more sensual dynamic to experience it. I’ve never been a huge fan of sheep – the sheep on the Isle of Skye were particularly annoying – I had to keep stopping the car to shoo them off the road – they liked to lie on the warm asphalt. They were pretty cute on Lindisfarne, the way they ran and jumped – I finally understood the meaning of the word “gambol”. My mom thinks sheep are adorable. I like them over there – most of them just aren’t very bright and work my last nerve. Although, when we stayed on the estate in Norfolk in 2000 during lambing season and bottle-fed and cuddled some of those lambs, they were awfully cute. And I still can’t eat lamb after that, even though I’m sure most of those little guys ended up as lamb chops on someone else’s table. It’s not that I think anyone should or shouldn’t eat lamb – I just can’t. Which is a shame, because I used to love it.
I’ve got to get the assignment done for Confidential Job #1, and then I’ll see what else I can do. I’d hoped to have most of the hand-made gifts done by today, but that didn’t happen. At least I have all the bits – it’s just a case of making the prototype, taking my time with it to make sure I’ve done it right, and then setting it up so I can put them together efficiently. And I need to get started on the overseas cards – they should get out by the end of the week.
Holiday cards are always a priority to me – I cut back on many things, especially this year, because of deadbeat clients, but cards matter.
Lori Widmer had a great post yesterday on Word on the Page about thinking ahead to one’s freelancing goals for next year. I made a leap in my type of client this year, and I’ve certainly done better fiction-wise than in previous years, but it’s now time to make another leap in the client-base. I don’t think I’m suited to the majority of corporate clients – I lack the patience and diplomacy to deal with their b.s. – but I think it’s time to work on a new brochure and get out a fresh mailing early in the year, targeted towards specific companies whose policies I like and agree with, and convince them they can’t live without me. That’s where I’ve always landed my best jobs in the past. I’ve been lazy this year – that’s the only word for it – relying on job listing sites whose client listings got progressively skeezier as the year wore on. Nothing like a site claiming to support freelancers who then lists jobs that are detrimental to them! Because I always had theatre work as my fall-back position, I allowed myself to be lazy. But the show’s closing in mid-January. Quite a few shows are closing in January, and several shows that were supposed to come in for the spring have cancelled. So, I need to get my act together and now take the NEXT freelancing step up, while still keeping on track with the fiction. Which means being even more aware of time management and honing those skills. I’m decent with time management, but I can be a lot better.
And, still, I have to be able to build in percolation time, because without percolation time, that time where you just sit and stare at the wall and it looks like you’re not doing anything, the creativity doesn’t happen.
I know how much I want and need to earn each month next year. So, this month, I need to clean up the unpaid contracts and implement the procedures that will get me where I want and need to be next year. In many ways, it’s a great time to be a freelancer – because so many companies have downsized, they have to bring in people on a per-project basis. And I’d much rather work that way.
But I’m still not going to write 20 articles/week for $1 each or go on one of those skeezy bidding sites where you pay for listings and the client’s only interested in the lowest bid, not the best writer!
I may still be too sick to do much physically today, but the brain is sort of working again, so I can start to plan so that next year builds on this year and builds on it well. With a new administration coming into power that actually gives a damn about the citizens of this country, I think we’ve got a chance. But the door can’t hit Paulson’s butt fast enough for my taste. Handing the money to corporate institutions that then sit on it and/or hand it out to shareholders or use it to pay their fat cat execs instead of putting it back into the company to generate more jobs is not acceptable, and that guy should have been kicked to the curb months ago. And guess what? I don’t want to “own” part of AIG or any of those companies, thanks to my tax payer dollars – unless I get a say in how they’re run, and part of that say is to fire the people who got the companies into these messes in the first place!
Anyway, I’m going to take it slowly today and see how much I can get done. Hopefully, I’ll feel more like myself tomorrow. I’m better, but I’m not great.
I missed two important marketing opportunities yesterday, and I could just kick myself, but that’s the way it goes. I’ve got some more coming up next week – I just have to be ready for them.
The computer’s done some weird update all on its own, so everything I lost and imported last time has to be re-imported. Sigh. At least I know how to do it this time (thanks, Colin).
Hopefully, I’ll catch the holiday spirit the way I caught this flu. Until then, I’m going to make a concerted effort not to dampen anyone else’s holiday spirit, but enjoy the fact they’ve got it! I’m going to try to pay special attention to anyone or anything that shows positive holiday spirit and write about it, so we can all enjoy it.
NEW! Too Much Mistletoe A Nina Bell Holiday Mystery by Devon Ellington. Nina Bell is back! Still trying to make a living in the New York theatre world of the 1990s, she’s trying to figure out which is the bigger mystery – a college friend’s disappearance, or her ever-complicated love life, as every man she meets wants to hang mistletoe over her head. Read an excerpt here and purchase the story for only $2.99 USD here .
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Meet the adventurous Cornelia True of Bodwin’s Ferry, whose life changes forever when “fixer” Roman Gray lands naked in her petunias, and they combine forces to track down a serial killer determined to murder thirteen women in thirteen months for their blood, with his latest victim right there in Bodwin’s Ferry!
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Hex Breaker by Devon Ellington. A Jain Lazarus Adventure. Hex Breaker Jain Lazarus joins the crew of a cursed film, hoping to put to rest what was stirred up before more people die and the film is lost. Tough, practical Detective Wyatt East becomes her unlikely ally and lover on an adventure fighting zombies, ceremonial magicians, the town wife-beater, the messenger of the gods, and their own pasts.
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Visit the site for the Jain Lazarus adventures.
BOOKS FOR WRITERS
Back By Popular Demand! 30 Tips for 30 Days: Kick Start Your Novel and Get Out of Your Own Way. A Nano Handbook by Devon Ellington. FREE!
If you’ve ever wondered whether or not you could survive National Novel Writing Month, this is the handbook for you! Ideas on preparations, setting goals, overcoming blocks, pushing yourself, tips for each day of the process, and ideas for going beyond, this handbook by veteran Nano-er Devon Ellington will help you survive. Best of all, it’s free! Download it here.
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5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.
Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.
Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free here: