Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thursday, February 5, 2009
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Still dark – don’t know the weather, only that it’s below zero

I had a lot of paperwork to get out yesterday, which took a good chunk of the day, in and around computer crashes. I also pitched for four wildly disparate jobs. For one, in particular, I am so far out of the background of those who will apply – and, in my letter, I told them why that’s a strength. It’s also in the area where I plan to relocate.

Creatively, the day was somewhat of a bust. Most of it was focused on the workshop I’m teaching, which is how it should be. Because it’s a smaller group than some of my others, I can really give them a lot of attention. I’m pushing them hard.

I’m also having a blast developing a piece in Karina Fabian’s World Building workshop. I took it two years ago and developed a book I plan to write later this year. For me, it doesn’t work to just slap something up I’ve already done in a workshop, unless it’s a workshop on editing or revision. The point of a workshop, in my opinion, is to have a safe haven, a “shop”, in which to play with new work. The piece I’m developing there fascinates me. I’m working from setting instead of from character. Until I started on today’s exercise, I had no idea about the characters.

Usually, I have a character show up and start telling me his or her story, and then I figure out the setting, or it naturally evolves. Even the last time I took Karina’s workshop, I had an idea of my main characters before I built the setting. Not this time. It’s fun. And the setting and culture is unlike anything I’ve ever read before – but it’s the kind of thing I’d love to read. And, Costume Imp, it’s right up YOUR alley!

I’m also having fun in the two other workshops I’m taking.

I had a scene appear, fully formed, in my head last night, and I quickly typed it out before I could lose it. I don’t know what it’s for, although I know it’s pretty far into whatever story it’s meant to anchor. At least I’ve got it, so when more of it reveals itself, I’ve got a place to put it. This is a contemporary piece.

Hey, Ryan, thanks for your comments the past few days. You’ve made me feel a lot better! And I know what you mean about trying to get in everything – I’m trying not to jump at every anthology about which I hear. I love reading anthologies and I love appearing in them – but sometimes I go overboard and I’m juggling so many anthology pieces on spec that it gets in the way of my scheduled, contracted writing. And that has to come first!

I gave a reality check to someone on a forum yesterday who posted a question about a writing venture this person wants to join. I pointed out that first, the person needed to learn the craft, such as spelling and grammar. I’m sure the person will be mad, but that’s the reality. You want to be paid by a legitimate employer, not some scam mill – sit down with the style manuals and some grammar books and learn the basics. I’m so sick of people thinking this is quick and easy money – and that “pay per click” making $25 over six months is a good income. It hurts ALL of us who bust our butts every day to do good work and earn a real living.

Tried a new yoga sequence last night, and I really like it. It’s hard, it pushes me, but it’s worth it. I realized last night that my evening practice has grown to about an hour long now most nights. Wow. I need to tweak the morning practice, because mornings, when I really need it to set the focus for my day, I’m so eager to get to the page that I’m rushing through.

I’ve also got some health issues raising their ugliness, and that will have to be dealt with in the coming weeks. Not fun when you have no insurance.

Back to the page. I’m determined to make this a more overall creative day.


Published in: on February 5, 2009 at 6:48 am  Comments (12)  
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  1. Devon, I used to worry that my advice to start with the basics would discourage beginners. I’m seeing now that if they discourage that easily, they’re not serious about it. Starting is tough – committing to learning your craft thoroughly is even tougher. If beginners expect to be hand held, they’ll never learn.

    Besides, life will throw hard lessons at them. I’d rather they hear it from us working writers than from an angry client.

  2. I so appreciate your comments about “writers” who have poor spelling and grammar skills. I just don’t get it. Kind of like those folks on American Idol who really think they can sing…

  3. I am surprised myself at all the writers who don’t choose to educate themselves on the mechanics of writing. It’s like a non-architect trying to design a building. The building will be shoddy and the structure won’t work. HELLO! I’m sure your advice, although “stinging” will help that person, if they choose to listen to it.

    I hope your health issues are minor! You need to be in good health with the elevated stress level you keep in your day-to-day life! XOXOXO

  4. Devon, you are right about the importance of learning the basics. It’s the foundation that can lead to greater things as you grow into your writing career. I have even been advised that it’s a good idea to take a grammar course every two to three years (especially if you work as an editor) because some rules change.

    Lately I’ve been talking to someone who “says” they want to freelance, but I think she is shocked about the level of committment it involves. There is NOTHING “easy” about what it takes to make a living as a freelance writer. Thanks for keeping it real as only you can.:)

  5. Glad the workshop is interesting. Sorry on the health problems. Very cool on the new Yoga routine. It’s good to challenge yourself from time to time.

    Really sorry on the COLD! Yikes. Looks like I got out of there just in time.

  6. Devon, what about joining an Association? Many of them offer health insurance benefits. Try your local Chamber of Commerce. 🙂

  7. I love reading this blog. I finally feel like I can identify with someone 🙂

    And I was going to suggest the Chamber of Commerce thing, too, for insurance. I know a lot of small business people in my area (Bucks County, PA) join just for the insurance. When I graduated from college, I took out a plan that was very cheap and I still have it fifteen years later. But I know how you feel. My plan covers anything in the hospital, in our out-patient, fully, which is good for serious things. But I pay for my own doc visits and scripts. And they aren’t cheap. If I see a deer tick, I panic for fear of the medications needed for lyme disease. I’m not political, but I’m hoping this new administration steps up with national helathcare. We need it!!

  8. Writing is hard work. And really, it takes years to “get good”. In fact, it’s taken me nearly 10 years just to feel ready to start freelancing. It makes me angry when people think they can write a book because they think it’s easy. And not knowing grammar and spelling? That’s just lazy.

    Hope you’re doing okay health-wise and it’s nothing serious.

  9. I know that feeling of always running to catch up with myself! You do a much better job of handling all that you do than I manage with the little I have–so don’t be hard on yourself.

    That Worldbuilding Workshop sounds like loads of fun. Worldbuilding is one of the reasons I so enjoy writing (and reading) fantasy. Never thought about taking a workshop…

    Hope your health bugaboos turn out to be very tiny and quickly gone bugaboos. d:)

  10. I’m glad your evening yoga practice is going so well. I hope the health issues you referred to are minor!
    As for starting with the basics, I would think that any one serious about writing would already know that. *g* Good advice to follow, especially from someone who has been there.

  11. Hey Devon,
    your yoga reminds me that i need to start doing that again. I really loved Vinyasa when i used to do it. hope your night is splendid!

  12. Hi, Devon!

    I’m glad you’re enjoyed the workshop. I’m certainly enjoying yours. It’s given me a chance to flesh out GapMan, which I intend to write later this year. (After I finish Discovery and probably after our move to Santa Monica.)

    Thanks so much for presenting at the conference! I always enjoy your workshops.

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