Thurs. April 11, 2019: The Attempt to Balance Writing and Yard Work

Thursday, April 11, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

And, I’m finally on Instagram as @devonellingtonwork.

Not happy that Jupiter’s going retrograde right now. That’s going to create obstacles to what I need in the coming months.

Working steadily on contest entries. Every time I pick up a book, whether it’s judging a contest or to write a review or to read for pleasure, I want to fall in love with it. That moment before opening the cover is so exciting.

The stress of the week is getting to me, but I’m trying to plod on. The next few months are going to be over-the-top for stress, and all I can do is mitigate as much as possible.

Appointment this morning, then I take my mom to the doctor, then yard work (if the weather holds), then writing. And contest entries.

I have to get back to purging the basement soon, too.

I’m not happy with the second half of “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” and am ripping it apart and working on it. It’s lost the farcical tone. I rewrote most of the second half yesterday morning, before I headed in to work with my client. The third-to-last and second-to-last scene still need more work. But it’s better. It’s still not where I want it to be, though.

I need to spend some quality time with the books I got from the library about luxury ocean liners, and researching the top news stories of the time in which it’s set.

I was exhausted when I got home yesterday from the client. I may have to stop in for about an hour to fix something on a big project I sent out, because the file was so big, I had to use Maildrop, and I’m not sure the recipient CAN use Maildrop.

A bunch of ideas are spinning, and I’m trying to see which ones are worth pursuing, while still keeping up with what I need to keep up with. That’s why the “Whatever” notebook I started last month is such a help. I just scribble notes on whatever comes to mind, with the date, and then I see if it’s worth developing.

Woke up a little after 3 AM this morning, so I’m going to be cooked — again – -by mid-afternoon.

Back to the page.

Published in: on April 11, 2019 at 8:40 am  Comments Off on Thurs. April 11, 2019: The Attempt to Balance Writing and Yard Work  
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Wed. April 10, 2019: Sorting Out Priorities

Wednesday, April 10, 2019
Waxing Moon

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for more on the Personal Strategic Plan.

Yesterday morning, I woke up around 3:30, wondering about the evolution of language. Not sure why that would wake me up in the middle of the night, but there you go. I managed to fall back asleep, but had a hard time getting up when the alarm woke me.

Worked on contest entries and a bit of writing in the morning. I’m shaping an essay for submission, and working on a few pitches.

I need to contact some sources for the essay, just to get a few good quotes. I need to do the final polish on the trade magazine pitch I’ve worked on for weeks and keep putting aside, because, should it hit properly, it would be both a fun and lucrative assignment.

I need to finish putting together the presentation for my NECRWA workshop, and start printing the handouts. Because, remember, I am the Queen of Handouts, and when someone takes one of my workshops, they get a Big Packet of Stuff to take away with them. I also have to start packing the pieces I’m going to take with me, and the books I want to show. I’m bringing a rolling rack and about a dozen garments, along with some accessories, books, and maybe even a few vision boards.

I have to ask where I can stash it on the morning of the conference before my workshop. I have to ask the conference organizers what they’d like me to do. I also need to decide if I’m going to do a Power Point presentation or have it all tangible. Because clothing is so tangible, I’m tempted to do the latter.

I’d gotten out five LOIs on Monday afternoon; heard back from one the same day, from two different people, one saying they were interested, one saying they weren’t. I’m going to assume the latter, because that just sends up red flags.

Frustrated by a couple of things, but also have a sense that things are falling into place the way that will be for the best in the long run.

Worked with a client, worked on GRAVE REACH, got out some more LOIs, worked on pitches, worked on the essay.

Today, I’ll be with a client, then working on more contest essays, and whatever writing I can get done.

At some point, in the next few days, I have to do my taxes. I resent funding the golfing grifters.

Published in: on April 10, 2019 at 5:43 am  Comments Off on Wed. April 10, 2019: Sorting Out Priorities  
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Tues. April 9, 2019: Catching Up on the Adventures

Tuesday, April 9, 2019
Waxing Moon

I bet you want to hear about my adventures last week, don’t you?

Which I’ll get to in a minute.

There are all kinds of games to connect writers now on Twitter. Which is great and fun and interesting. But too many of them demand information from WIPs. That does not work for me. If I talk the book, it takes away from writing the book. It dilutes the creativity. Not to mention that actually posting something from a draft blows the ability to sell first rights (and, for the series under contract, they are specific NOT to post anything from a draft, just excerpts from edited, contracted work), and early draft material splattered on the internet is more likely to turn readers off than engage them. It harms the work. It harms the quality. And talking about switching places with the MC or putting them in a different situation — no. Just no. They are part of the construct of their world. Putting them in a different world doesn’t add anything to them or the book. It hurts everything.

So I skip those questions. Because people can post whatever they want on their own timelines.

But I will not put the work at risk. The work is central. The work is what’s important. I’ll talk process until the cows come home, but I only post excerpts and lines and information from the actual work when it’s ready to go out into the world. — once it’s under contract and has been edited.

Wednesday morning, we left early for Vermont. The stretch from the Cape to Worcester is always the worst, but once we got past that, it was nice driving. We drove out of a storm and into sunshine (once we were over the bridge onto the mainland, it was already better weather).

Turned north at Springfield and went into Vermont.

It took a lot longer than I expected it to take. Vermont is interesting, because, although there’s not much traffic, the roads are long and often windy, and you have to drive around things instead of straight shots between destinations.

The quality of light is very different, and the quality of air is very different.

We ended up in a small hotel in Quichee Gorge, which was fine. Drove around to get oriented. Everything seems quite far away from everything else. Weathered and funky rather than ostentatious.

Dinner meeting, took care of some other business. Watched some TV in the room at night, but really, I so prefer watching DVDs. The sound and image got out of sync on one particular station, and it was annoying.

Up early the next morning. Stuck to my morning yoga and meditation routine (I’d brought my travel mat). It was another sunny, lovely, beautiful day.

The hotel served a hot breakfast as part of the stay, which was great. Then I headed off for a day of meetings, some with potential new clients, some with those for whom I do some remote writing. There’s a lot of solar and wind energy, people are dedicated to recycling and doing better for the planet. Fox Disinformation doesn’t play in public areas. People are committed to doing good work while maintaining a high quality of life. I met with a lot of smart people who are good at what they do, which was nice.

It was interesting, busy, creative, but I was tired by the time I was done in the mid-afternoon.

We drove back as far as Sturbridge, and checked into my favorite Publick House. We were up in the Lodge, with all its toile, which always makes me laugh. The room was great, the food in Ebenezer’s Tavern was terrific, and it was a nice way to wind down after a busy couple of days.

Friday morning, we had breakfast at the hotel, then drove home. I ran around and did some grocery shopping, and then, exhausted, just worked on contest entries and thank you notes.

Saturday morning, I was up early trying to get things done, and then on the 9:45 bus to Boston. Another gorgeous, sunny day, and much warmer than I expected. It was a lovely ride.

Amazing how much the city coping skills come back instantly. The focus, the confidant stride, the “don’t mess with me” vibe. Even though I’d never ridden the T before (imagine, I’ve lived here for nine years, and it was the first time I took the T), I got my Charlie card, found the Red Line, and off I went.

Of course, it’s public transportation, and nothing is easy. So, at Harvard Square, we had to get off the T because of construction, and were taken by shuttle bus to the next stops.

It was nice to be above ground and get a sense of Harvard and Cambridge and all that.

The theatre was only a few blocks from the Davis Square stop, in Somerville. Somerville reminds me of Queens a bit, and I mean that as a compliment. Lots of great little restaurants and shops, busy, lively, upbeat. People of all ages and diverse — very different from down here on Cape.

Everyone was very nice. They were genuinely happy to see me, which was nice. Because so often, the writer is considered an obstruction to the production instead of an asset.

They did a wonderful, wonderful job with “Confidence Confidant.” Their commitment to the piece, their talent, their excitement, their creativity — it was all great.

I met the director, assistant director, producer, house manager/board member. It was an excellent experience. It was great to meet everyone, and meet some audience members who were excited about it. It was a good-sized house, which thrilled us all, and a very responsive audience. The laughs hit where I hoped they would. I want to tighten the scene in the garden for future productions, and beef up the role of Bill. That role was woefully underwritten, and I’m grateful that the actor made it work.

They suggested I submit “Horace House Hauntings” for their October show. I don’t think it exactly fits the guidelines, since it’s not adapted from legend or folklore, but, you never know. I’ll think about it.

The other play on the bill was also fun, having to do with airships and bank robberies and mistaken identities, adapted from a silent film.

All in all, a lovely afternoon.

Headed back to the shuttle bus, which took me back to the Red Line at Harvard Square, which took me back to South Station. The subways have far fewer seats here than the ones in NYC. People expect to stand.

I tell you, though, there’s even more walking involved in this transit system than in New York. I’d be back in shape within a month if I had to do it every day.

Caught the 5:15 bus, and was back home by 7. Some traffic coming out of Boston, but I just sat on the bus and read my book. The bus was nearly full from the airport when it hit South Station, and those on the bus were disgruntled that more passengers got on, and, heaven forbid, their luggage couldn’t have its own seat. Sorry, sweetie, it’s people before purses.

But P&B has made the bus as a quiet zone — yes, you can call to tell someone which bus you’re on and what time you’ll arrive, but no ongoing conversations during the ride. Makes it much better.

Tired, but happy tired. Still re-watching WEST WING. Worked on more contest entries. Heated up leftovers for dinner. Fell into bed, exhausted.

Had trouble getting up on Sunday, but got there. I should have gone out and done yard work. Instead, I worked on contest entries, planted the rest of my tomato seeds, wrote.

I finished the first draft of the radio play “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale.” I need to let it sit a few days, because it needs work. Started a draft of “Organizing the Dead” which is a darker paranormal comedy that I might also submit to PMRP. I want to take the idea that derailed the original draft of “Horace House Hauntings” and took it out of farce, and see if I can develop it here. We’ll see.

I’m getting back into the rhythm of GRAVE REACH, which is pretty exciting. I’m looking forward to diving further into this book. Lesley is growing into herself, and Sam is an intriguing character.

This week will be stressful, on a lot of fronts, so I’m trying to mentally prepare.

Worked with a client yesterday, which wore me out, although we did good work. Had another appointment, and then skipped meditation, because I wasn’t feeling well. With a client today, too, and then another location after. Trying to keep all the flaming coconuts in the air and still keep my sanity.

I should go out tonight, but, honestly, I don’t feel up to it.

Back to the page.

Mon. April 8, 2019: Make the World a Better Place — At Home — #UpbeatAuthors

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Monday, April 8, 2019
Waxing Moon

There’s an old saying about “charity starts at home.”

Many things start at home, actually. That includes making the world a better place. Last week, we worked on ourselves. This week, we expand to our home.

It’s not selfish to have a lovely, calm sanctuary. When you have a refuge, it helps you recharge and take your best qualities out into the world, which, by extension, then makes the world a better place.

It also doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. It’s fun to buy something new for the house. Sometimes, you need it to be brand new, and not just brand new to you. But sometimes, it can be a great find at a thrift shop, or something you got off craigslist and restored or repainted and made uniquely yours. It’s not so fun when you have to buy something big to replace something broken.

A few months ago, I rearranged my writing room. It was originally the dining room of the house I’m renting, and has lovely molding on the walls, and a built-in. Most of the walls have floor-to-ceiling bookcases. I have a computer desk and a desk where I write longhand. I have a reading chair.

But it had gotten messy and I stopped working in there unless I had to.

I took everything out, and set down a new-to-me carpet with padding under it. It’s a light creamy yellow, a color I normally wouldn’t use (having a black cat and a tortoiseshell cat). But it brightened and warmed the room. I put things back, organizing. I culled or put in a different place things that had drifted into the office and melted into disorganized heaps. I set up a worktable, and set up a new-to-me Encyclopedia on it.

Now, I want to be there. I spend a few minutes in there first thing in the morning, with my coffee, before yoga and meditation. I think about what I will write first that day, my first 1K of the day. And figure out a loose structure for the rest of it.

After my yoga, meditation, and shower, I’m delighted to get to the desk and get down to work.

When I come back from client meetings, or errands, I spend some time there. I read more often there.

As it gets warmer, some of that will move out onto the deck. We have a great covered deck and yard, and when the weather is nice, I spend a lot of time there. (And I have a lot of work to do in the yard to get it ready this year).

But rearranging and tidying that one room made a huge difference.

I WANT to be there now, and I’m more productive when I’m there. It feels better.

It cost me time and effort. The carpet was given to me; the encyclopedia set was from craigslist. The different curtains are from the 1940’s, that an aunt of mine made. In May, when I switch out the winter curtains to the lace panels, I will put up different ones for even more light.

I’m more attuned to putting things away instead of letting piles accumulate.

I’m about to turn that attention to trouble spots in the rest of the house.

When I’m happy in my house, I leave it with a stronger sense of purpose, and I’m calmer, happier, and more effective when I go out into the world.

Theatre is transient, so I learned to carry home within me and create home wherever I was. Now that I’ve been in a more stable situation, I’m learning how to maintain that sense of home over time.

Which then gives me the foundation to make a positive difference in the world.

Published in: on April 8, 2019 at 6:13 am  Comments Off on Mon. April 8, 2019: Make the World a Better Place — At Home — #UpbeatAuthors  
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Fri. April 5, 2019: Still Adventuring!

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image courtesy of Pixabay

 

 

Have a great weekend!

Published in: on April 5, 2019 at 5:49 am  Comments Off on Fri. April 5, 2019: Still Adventuring!  

Thurs. April 4, 2019: Adventures

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image courtesy of Pixabay

 

 

I’m off having an adventure today!  Will catch up soon!

Published in: on April 4, 2019 at 5:48 am  Comments Off on Thurs. April 4, 2019: Adventures  

Wed. April 3, 2019: Rolling With It

Wednesday, April 3, 2019
Day Before Dark Moon
Rainy and stormy

This is always the lowest energy day of the month for me, the day before the dark moon. But there’s a lot I need to get done today.

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice, for a post on the importance of seizing opportunity.

I forgot to mention that, on Monday morning, as I pulled out of the driveway, a flock of wild turkeys were roaming around my neighbor’s yard. Yesterday morning, a little before 6 AM, they were having another party. It’s pretty funny.

Got some information Monday that changed my entire week’s schedule. For the better. I’d already figured I wasn’t going to make it to meditation Monday afternoon; nor will I make it to my regular yoga class tomorrow.

Was up very late on Monday, working on a project that had to be finished by Tuesday (because of the rest of the week’s schedule shifts, I had to finish it earlier than I planned).

Up far too early on Tuesday, making sure two pieces I had to get out that morning (again, early, because of the schedule changes) were ready to go.

Had to go in early to the client’s, to deal with an issue that came up, and then had a session there that was, by turns, challenging and fun. But exhausting.

Had another appointment after that, plus errands to run (again, due to the schedule change; normally, I would have done those later in the week).

I’ll be rather quiet on the blog until next week. I can’t discuss the details of what I’m up to right now, but it’s a combination of good things, and I’ll have a lot to share next week. Plus, I’ll be talking about going up to see my show performed.

Have a great weekend!

 

Published in: on April 3, 2019 at 5:45 am  Comments Off on Wed. April 3, 2019: Rolling With It  
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Tues. April 2, 2019: Regaining Equilibrium & Grabbing Opportunities

Tuesday, April 2, 2019
Waning Moon

I hope everyone had a good weekend.

Mine was all over the place. The drama surrounding what should have been something simple intensified, and I’m fed up. In addition to being hurt and frustrated because I said if these particular actions were taken, these would be the results, and I would be the one who had to pay for it both financially and emotionally. That was ignored, I was hit with consequences for something that was not an action of MINE, and now I’m supposed to jump through more hoops to fix it, instead of the person who caused the issue in the first place. No. Just no.

Human beings make mistakes. It happens.

When I make a mistake, I apologize, first and foremost. Then I take actions to correct the mistake. Then I work to rebuild any trust that was broken because of the mistake. Especially the latter takes time, and isn’t always successful. But I make the effort.

Yet in this situation, when the other party made a mistake that affected me in more than one area of my life — I had to fight to get an acknowledgement and then a half-hearted apology. And then I was told the hoops I had to jump through to get it fixed with a third party– again, this was NOT my mistake — which I had told the person who made the mistake wouldn’t work in the first place, because I actually have worked in this field and know the manipulations. As I predicted, it did not work, I was badly treated, shamed, and mansplained to. The situation is still not resolved. We are now in Day 5 of something that shouldn’t have happened in the first place, and could have been fixed in FIVE MINUTES.

Even if it is, any future interactions will be tainted. What used to be in the life balance column is now in the life stressor column.

I don’t need that, especially not this month, when things are stretched to the max anyway.

In addition to the whole situation making me angry, I am so, so hurt. This was someone I trusted.

But now I know better.

And I’ve lost a sanctuary I deeply value. Which is painful.

So, basically, most of the weekend was spent in emotional pain management, trying to heal, and, every time I took a step to try to resolve the situation, getting another metaphorical slap in the face.

I didn’t get a lot of writing done, although I got some plotting, and I’m back working on GRAVE REACH this week. At least I can relate to Lesley’s pain and sense of betrayal. I’ll find a way to funnel it into the work.

I read my friend Arlene Kay’s DEATH BY DOG SHOW, which was really fun. Made me laugh a lot.

I worked on the books for review. I worked on contest entries. I got quite a bit done on the contest entries.

I started working in the yard. Saturday was so beautiful. I got the terraced area in the back raked out. I didn’t get as far as the border bed on the terraced area, but I got the rest of the beds raked out, did some pruning and cutting back. Got rid of a lot of bindweed that’s been creeping around. And some of the roses are taking over, so I’m going to have to do some serious hacking back in the next few weeks.

Worked on the proofs for the almanac. They went out yesterday morning.

Was with a client on Monday, and will be so today. Wednesday, Thursday, and maybe into Friday, I have an adventure. I’ll be able to share some of the details next week. And then I go into another intense weekend of writing and, next Saturday, going to see my radio play performed live in Boston.

My entire intent on Monday was to keep my head down. I don’t like April Fool’s Day. I don’t like that people feel liberated to be cruel — although, since the 2016 election, they feel that every day, and, especially around here, regularly act on it.

Onward.

 

Published in: on April 2, 2019 at 5:26 am  Comments Off on Tues. April 2, 2019: Regaining Equilibrium & Grabbing Opportunities  
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Mon. April 1, 2019: A Month of Making the World a Better Place: Start With the Self & Skip the Cruelty #UpbeatAuthors

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Monday, April 1, 2019
Waning Moon
April Fool’s Day

 

It’s interesting that April Fool’s Day falls on the first Monday we talk about making the world a better place.

If you’re interested in the history of April Fool’s Day, The History Channel has some interesting information here.

I’m not a big fan of the day, because too often, the pranks and jokes are cruel. When you push back on the cruelty, you’re told to “lighten up” and “get a sense of humor.”

Humor differs from person to person. Satire can be incisive. Humor is a great tool to point out flaws.

But few are clever enough not to cross over into cruelty.

April’s theme for Upbeat Authors is making the world a better place. We have to start with the self – treat people better every day. Don’t be a doormat, but start from a position of basic human decency and courtesy, and work from there.

So on this first day of a new month that’s about making the world a better place, start with yourself and skip the cruelty. Speak out when you witness it. Don’t be an accomplice.

 

Published in: on April 1, 2019 at 6:08 am  Comments Off on Mon. April 1, 2019: A Month of Making the World a Better Place: Start With the Self & Skip the Cruelty #UpbeatAuthors  
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