Fri. April 2, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 315 — Keep On Keeping On

image courtesy of Daniel Reche via pixabay.com

Friday, April 2, 2021

Waning Moon

Cloudy and chilly

Yesterday was a busy day, but it was a good busy day. Meditation was good. I got out a bunch of LOIs. I got client work turned around. I need a client to get something back to me today and I GUARANTEE the request will be ignored.

The editor sent me the article revisions – the second version this time, not the one I spent all the time working on yesterday. But it was two minor tweaks (because, in this version, I’d already dealt with some of the issues). So, although we’ve had a lot of back-and-forth, it got done, it got done on time, and no worries.

I worked on updating my brochure. It still needs more work. Sigh. I’m doing it in Canva this time; it was better in Pages. I have to decide on graphics. The new logo is fine, but there need to be some more interesting visuals amongst the text. In the last brochure, I used my own photos, but not sure that’s relevant to this one. I have to think about it.

Worked on contest entries I’m making good progress on the second category.

Looked at real estate listings, which were all over the place. There are some interesting listings, and I’ll contact them for more information. A friend of a friend of a friend has a possibility, so I will contact that person today. I’m completely open to moving out of state – provided I can afford the moving costs. Staying in state would mean keeping my health insurance and a bunch of other paperwork, but I have to see what my options are and weigh out all the costs.

Freelance Chat was good and fun and interesting – about taxes. I realized where I’ve made a big mistake (no wonder I kept getting “adjustment” letters), and, starting with next year’s taxes (this year’s are filed), I can fix it. Also found out that one of the “you should” that kept being touted at local networking events doesn’t work the way the touters claimed it does, so I’m glad I never did it.

Found out a friend’s mother has COVID, and my friend might have it, too. Worried about them.

I got two emails from the County for appointments opening up at noon today for next week, and a message from my health care provider, too. So I have some options for vaccines in the coming weeks, and I’m going to go in and cage fight for an appointment, starting at noon. Wish me luck!

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. We are taking a break next week. For some reason, the Easter breaks are all over the place this year. Some were a couple of weeks back, some are a couple of weeks ahead. So we’re breaking this coming week, and then regrouping. The pressure on these families to go back in-person with rising case numbers is unfair and ridiculous. The families are standing firm in not sending them back this school year. Period.

This morning, I have to make another dump run, then do a quick grocery run, and a library curbside drop-off/pickup. I want to finish a draft of my article, let it sit over the weekend, and send it to my other editor on Monday. I want to pitch a couple of other articles. I also have a book to review – I want to get that done and out, so I can get my next assignments.

This weekend, I also have to make up for the lower amount of packing I’ve done this week. I have to rev back up packing, keep cleaning out the basement, and start on the garage.

I also want to work on a play over the weekend.

As I type this, some wild turkeys are taking a stroll down the middle of the street, looking here and there, taking their breakfast stroll. We’ve lost so much wildlife in the neighborhood the last few years, between people cutting down trees and overbuilding and using lawn chemicals. It’s nice that we haven’t lost it all.

Keep on keeping on, right?

Wed. Feb. 24, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 279/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 28 — Start of the Thaw

image courtesy of suju via pixabay.com

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Waxing Moon

Cloudy and mild

Most of the snow is melted, so I guess the guys with their soil sample digging machines who will be around this morning can find the little flags planted over the past few weeks.

I have a post on Ink-Dipped Advice about inspiring rather than bullying to get what you want.

Yesterday wound up being a productive, steady day. I prepped next week’s email blast for a client, and did some other work on the client’s websites. I need to do more; there’s poor copyediting on a few things from before I started working with them, and I need to clean it up.

A contest listing landed on my desk, and it sounded interesting, so I edited an appropriate piece and sent it off. It’s something in a different direction for me, and I’m interested to see if I’m on the right track.

A call for submission landed on my desk, and I sent off a longish short story that seemed to fit. They do audio work, so in my cover letter, I mentioned that I write radio comedy/drama.

Got the script samples out to the potential new client.

Finished a book for review. I’d meant to only take a 20-minute break and read for a bit, but the book was so engaging, I sat there and finished it, then wrote the review and sent it off. I received the next two books for review by the end of the workday, and I’m looking forward to getting started on those. That’ll make this set of five books reviewed, and I invoice every five books.

Started on the print entries for the third category of the contest I’m judging. Only a handful of print entries left, and then I will start on the digital entries. Which is good, because the second shipment of entries should go out in about two weeks. I want to get all the first batch done before the second batch arrives.

Worked on the article. I hope to have it finished either by end of day today, or, more likely, mid-day tomorrow, and get it off to my editor. Overnight, I got another great quote.

Read a book that pretended to be progressive and tolerant, but, when dissected, was full of right-wing evangelical crap. Not because the author was trying to point out the danger of right-wing evangelical crap, but because the author supported the right-wing evangelical crap over the tolerance. That author’s crossed off my list going forward.

Made my box purging quota for the day (and caught up on what I didn’t do yesterday). Found some things that puzzled me. I’m assuming that they were props/costume pieces for a project? But I have no idea which one. Found a box of electrical cords for which I’ve been looking – since we moved in. In 2010. It’s been buried since then.

As I’m going through the boxes, I’m realizing how the movers paid no attention to what was noted on the box (I mark what’s in the box and where it should go). If it was a box, they stuffed it in the basement. No wonder I felt like I’ve lost stuff since the last move. Yes, I know, I should have unpacked everything much earlier. But I didn’t, so I have to catch up now.

Knowledge Unicorns was back in session yesterday. Everyone had a good break. There’s intense pressure to get back in the classroom in April, which is silly. Just keep it remote until the end of the year, and start back up in fall. This group is united in remaining remote until enough people are vaccinated, which sure as hell won’t happen by April. Besides, all the kids are dong really well, grades are up, and they’re actually learning stuff beyond what they would have in a traditional setup.

Today will be a stressful morning. But at least there’s remote chat.

I have to miss the online meditation group tomorrow morning because my mom has an early doctor’s appointment, so I’ll have to make up for that in individual practice during the day.

I got more mail addressed to my father, who died in 1972, and never lived at this address. It’s very disturbing. I’m contacting the companies sending this mail (cc to the appropriate Attorneys General) demanding from what list they got it and where purchased. Because I’m thinking someone stole my deceased father’s identity. But why is the mail coming here?

I’m hoping, in the next couple of days, to hear about my mom’s next vaccination appointment. They’re supposed to get in touch this week. There have been NO vaccine appointments open on the Cape this week, except for the Rich White People’s Secret Number, Baker’s moved doses away from smaller sites all over the state into the large sites like Gillette and Fenway – where most people can’t get to them. Instead of moving the doses to, you know, where they’re needed.

I better get to it. Those words won’t write themselves! Have a great day.

Published in: on February 24, 2021 at 6:46 am  Comments Off on Wed. Feb. 24, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 279/MA Vaccine Distribution Fail Day 28 — Start of the Thaw  
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Wed. Jan. 27, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 252 — Finally, Snow!

image courtesy of Alain Audet via pixabay.com

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

First Day of Full Moon

Snowy and cold

I’ve got a post over on Ink-Dipped Advice about tidying up one’s materials, with an eye to where one wants to move, career-wise.

Yesterday was one of those days when, even though I put in a long day at the computer, it felt like not a lot got done.

I got out a bunch of LOIs, worked on (but did not finish) my article, wrote two blog posts, did some client work, worked on contest entries.

Didn’t get any boxes purged from the basement, which made me feel like a failure. Means I have to catch up on that this afternoon and tomorrow, WHILE handling client work and finishing my article.

Because that’s the way it goes, when you don’t get something done. You have to dig deeper and get it done anyway.

One of the contest entries was outstanding, though, and is in the pile I’m making for possible winners and finalists.

Knowledge Unicorns was fun. We are back to dealing with their schoolwork, although we’re talking about the trial in the Senate, too. It’s important they understand its impact and importance to their future. It affects them directly.

An editor sent off a contract that will cover all the pieces she wants me to write for the year (and make sure I get paid on time). So that was nice. I signed it and sent it back this morning.

It started snowing late yesterday afternoon. I’d had the pre-storm headache since late morning, so it was a relief when it finally started. We didn’t get that much – maybe about 3”. But I will wrap up in about twenty minutes or so, if it’s light enough, and shovel the driveway and the front walk.

I have to spend some overlapping time at a client’s today, and I don’t want to wait to shovel until five minutes before I leave, and then be grumpy the whole time I have to be there. I’m grumpy enough that there’s any overlap.

I’m frustrated at the lack of information about scheduling my mother’s vaccine. Seniors 75+ are supposed to be able to get the first dose “starting Feb. 1” only there’s no way to start scheduling until Feb. 1. I’m going to call her doctor’s office this morning, and then maybe Whole Health, where she got her pneumonia and shingles shots when CVS kept giving us the runaround. I do NOT want her to go through CVS. It will be a nightmare. According to the Governor’s site, those with “comorbidities” will be contacted by their doctor to get the vaccine. Only I don’t know if the three surgeries and two cancers still count, since the last surgery had such a good prognosis. So I will get in touch with my doctor, too. I don’t plan on waiting around. I want those “Fauchi ouchies” for both of us, as soon as we can have them, and it’s more important to get my mom’s, because she is 96.

I hope today won’t be too stressful. I want to get home, decontaminate, finish my article, and purge boxes.

But now . . .it’s time to shovel snow.

Have a good one, friends.

Published in: on January 27, 2021 at 6:27 am  Comments Off on Wed. Jan. 27, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 252 — Finally, Snow!  
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Wed. Jan. 6, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 231 — Twelfth Night

image courtesy of Gerhard G. via pixabay.com

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Waning Moon

Uranus Retrograde

12th Night/Epiphany/Start of Carnivale

Clearing up and cold

Today’s Ink-Dipped Advice post talks about starting with a clean slate and building your new work plan on that. Check it out.

Dreamed about herbs and spices last night, so I guess December will be delicious!

No idea what I’ll do for the 12 drummers drumming story, but I hope that will evolve as I work on the earlier pieces. There’s one possibility percolating, but it might be a little too wacky to fit the tone of the other pieces, although so far, they all have a kind of odd humor to them.  I’m also thinking of doing a 13th story that kind of wraps everything up.

Yesterday was a good day, although I didn’t get done as much as I’d hoped. Which seems to be my refrain, because I always want to do far more than makes sense to do.

I got some writing done in the morning (not a very good session). I started sending out interview requests for the article that was greenlit on Monday.

When senior shopping hours were over, I got into the car and did a grocery run to Trader Joe’s. Bought more than I planned (as usual), but it’s always good to stay stocked up. Popped in next door to Christmas Tree Shops. There were only two of us in the enormous store, so we could stay far, far apart. I grabbed some stuff that was 60% off for next year.

Decontaminated everything, decontaminated myself. Got out more interview requests, and did background research. Was frustrated at people not having contact information on their websites. There were a couple of artists I would have liked to interview, but when trying to find contact information takes longer than the actual interview would, I have to stop and move on. I’m on a deadline.

Got out some LOIs. Refused a couple of people who believe that free labor is part of the interview process and moved on from them.

Worked on an ad for a client. Worked on a proposal that needs to go out next week. Did a bunch of admin.

Unsubscribing from a slew of lists last week was a good choice, although there’s still an amazing amount of admin that has to be handled every day. Last year, I set aside chunks of hours every few days, but it’s really better to handle it every day.

A book I ordered nearly a month ago finally arrived (not from Amazon – they’re not even trying to hunt for the books they lost).

The Knowledge Unicorns are taking an extra week offline. Everyone’s school needs are still being sorted out for the coming months.

Anxious about the Georgia Senate races. The news seems to be good, so far, but I’m not counting on anything until it’s finalized.

I have to go to a client’s office today, and expect that to be more stressful than it needs to be.  Then home, decontamination process, Remote Chat, and then, it’s time to start taking down the holiday decorations. It will take a few days, but everything needs to be well packed up this year, in anticipation of the move.

We had so much joy in this year’s decorations. We had the chance to really appreciate them this year, since we weren’t running around to this, that, and the other holiday event.

I should make a King Cake for tonight, but don’t know if I will.

Just focusing on getting things done today. Hope you have a great Wednesday!

Published in: on January 6, 2021 at 6:27 am  Comments Off on Wed. Jan. 6, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 231 — Twelfth Night  
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Tues. Nov. 24, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 188 — Too Much (Web) Traffic

image courtesy of Steven Liao via pixabay.com

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune & Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

The last few days have been more chaotic than I hoped. It happens.

I have a Very Long Post Full of Context on Thanksgiving Prep over on Comfort and Contradiction. A long post to try to simplify the holidays sounds contradictory, but there you have it.

Yesterday, I also posted on Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions about worrying less about the “perfect” holiday and living it more from the heart.

The food post took longer on Friday than I meant it to, and then I had to rush to CVS, where they’d screwed up my mom’s prescription. We got it sorted out and they were nice; it just took time, and I got increasingly nervous having to be around people. I’m doing my best to avoid people right now.

Swung by the library for a curbside drop off/pick up. Came home, decontaminated, was exhausted.

Got an ad live for a client.

Just Jump in and Fly cover

Went through the final proofs for “Just Jump In and Fly” (under the Ava Dunne byline) and signed off on it. It’s coming live for pre-orders slowly – except Amazon doesn’t want to carry it because it’s available through other channels. Amazon is used as a distributor, not a publisher, and I’m not part of any exclusive program with them, so they can get over themselves. Well, they only wanted to give me 29 cents royalty on every sale anyway, which is pretty insulting.

I’m looking at platforms where I can sell mobi files (since I can’t get the WP site to acknowledge the plug-in). Setting up a Square Store would make sense – only that platform can’t do instant downloads. Most of the commerce sites are too expensive – I couldn’t generate enough to make them pay for themselves, much less make any profit.

I absolutely love “Just Jump In and Fly” even after all this time. It’s one of my favorite pieces I’ve ever written.

I managed to get Trinity of Teasers up, too, for free download. It contains the first three chapters each of PLAYING THE ANGLES, SAVASANA AT SEA, and TRACKING MEDUSA. You can download the PDF here.

I started work on the revision of “Lockesley Hall” which is pretty damn funny in its own right, even though it needs work. Didn’t get very far, because I was so damn tired.

Saturday morning, I was all set to get a lot of writing done and promotion, and all the rest.

I received an email late Friday night from my editor that my piece was up on Script Mag. So I had to prep it for my clip file, get it up on Clippings.me, but when I tried to add it to my Fearless Ink website, it wouldn’t save the edit.

I contacted A2. They told me that my websites have “too much traffic” and that I exceeded CPU capacity. Lots of people are finding my work on WOW – Women on Writing, and coming over. Even more are finding me through SEO searches.

That’s a good thing, right? This is what I’ve worked for the past few years, WHY I moved hosts. To have a stable platform and grow traffic.

Only now, they’re trying to force me to upgrade my plan to something I can’t afford right now AND hire one of their “web developers.”  They suggest switching things onto Cloudflare, but it’s out of my price range right now.

Come on, people! My sites are gaining traffic, but it’s just that THAT much.

And, of course, they’re doing this while I’m trying to get the holiday pieces out and doing lots of promotion, such as with TRINITY OF TEASERS, that drives traffic to the sites. They know they have me over a barrel. It makes me so angry.

I looked at some other hosts. Hostinger seems affordable, but then I have to learn a whole new control panel. They’re supposed to be reliable and good, but do a lot of upselling, which I don’t like.

I also think I might have to split the websites on different hosts. The Devon Ellington Work site and its various subdomains might need to be on one host, since they get the most traffic and are ever-expanding. While the Fearless Ink, Cerridwen’s Cottage, and Grief to Art sites might need to be on a different one. If I can find reasonable plans, it will be about the same price as what I have now, which is affordable.

If Grief to Art gains traction, eventually, it will need to spin off on its own host, because it will need a lot of room.

So I lost most of the day dealing with that, which was so frustrating. I was in tears by the end of it, even though A2 was nice and had some good ideas. But every suggestion ended with the upsell.

The bottom line is that the websites need to pay for themselves. They’re doing that right now. But if I upgrade to a plan I can’t really afford, I’m in trouble. They need to show the actual monetary gains in book sales, more article work, etc. BEFORE I upgrade, not putting in the money where I’m not sure it can grow fast enough to pay for itself.

I also don’t want to make a stupid decision out of panic and regret it.

Thank goodness I’ve always kept the websites separate, or I’d be in real trouble.

I ran down to do a curbside pickup at the library. The Congregational Church next door was having a leaf cleanup on their property. Too many people, more than half unmasked, no social distancing. In flagrant violation of state mandates. Why are they allowed to get away with this? Why is nothing enforced around here?

Sunday morning, I was out the door early, early to go to Star Market before too many people were out. I didn’t need much, but the turkey was the most important thing. I found a nice turkey – only 14 pounds this year. Put gas in the car, too. Hauled everything home, disinfected it, disinfected myself.

Sat down and wrote holiday cards. Got all the overseas cards out, except a few where I had to email people for their addresses. Got a good start on the domestic cards. But it took a long time, and I was tired.

Up early yesterday. Off to the client’s, where I worked on my own. Got some orders shipped out (I hate that part of the job; I don’t mind helping out, but I am not a shipping clerk). The postman “forgot” to stop at the office, so I had to run down the street after the truck, waving the packages, even though the flag was up, and I’d put in an electronic pickup request. Got out holiday email blasts; worked on the ad that needs to go live. The ad that went live on Friday is getting a lot of traction, so hopefully it’s converting well into sales. We’ll know next weekend.

Was getting ready to work on some social media posts for the client when a Tornado Warning came through on my phone, followed a few seconds later by a screaming Tornado Alert – Seek shelter! Message.

The building I was in was flimsy, and the car unprotected. I looked outside, and didn’t see any funnels. I locked up and risked driving home. The rain came in, hard. I could barely see the road sometimes. But I made it home, got the car in the garage, before the worst of the deluge and the thunder. We hunkered down for the next hour and a half. It was a bad storm, but no funnels around here, thank goodness.

But I was worn out by then.

Read in the afternoon. Finished reading a biography of Elaine Stritch. As talented as she was, I kept a safe distance from her when we were both working in NYC. She was nasty and manipulative, and I stayed away as much as possible.

Also read my first Kit Rocha book, DEAL WITH THE DEVIL, one of the Mercenary Librarians series, and liked it. I usually avoid dystopia because we’re living it, but this one was recommended by several people, and I liked it a lot.

Gearing up for a round of errands today. I have to make a Target run for some things I can’t get anywhere else and can’t do for curbside pickup, because I have to look at things and make a decision. Then, to the post office to get more stamps and mail an overseas package; to the liquor store and the library; and to the chocolatier to get gifts we are sending to several friends.

Even the thought of it upsets me, being out around people, but I hope I’ve mapped it out and timed it so I’m around the fewest people possible and can whip in and out everywhere with minimal contact.

Major, major disinfectant protocols when I get back.

Then, it’s writing more domestic cards, getting a client ad live, and working on “Lockesley Hall.”

Tomorrow will be stressful, because I have to overlap with other people at the client’s, but it’s only for a short time, so, fingers crossed.

At least that seditious GSA administrator finally signed the transition papers. She needs to go to prison anyway. We can’t let ANY of these corrupt individuals slither away.

Of course, I’ve been sneaking in a few thousand words here and there on GAMBIT COLONY, my major stress-reliever of a project. Someday, I’ll be satisfied with those first six books of the series, that cover from auditions through filming the first season, and actually submit them! Well, I’m hoping to submit them in 2021, so they’ll be out by 2022, but who knows. There are other books that need to be finished first.

Take care, and have a safe day.

Wed. Nov. 18, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 182 — Trying to Stay Balanced

image courtesy of Manfred Richter via pixabay.com

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Waxing Moon

Neptune and Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cold

It’s been snowing in Western and Central MA.

There’s a post up on Ink-Dipped Advice about not begging for work.

Yesterday was pretty satisfying, on a creative level. I started finally writing the Susanna Centlivre play yesterday, and I like the way it’s going, at least for a first draft. Working out a lot of it in my head before actually writing was helpful. I’m really delighted by the relationship between Susanna and Joseph.

I had to do a Trader Joe’s run. The lines are back to the length they were in April. The store was pretty well stocked, although, even on a Tuesday, already some items were selling out.

Since I was in the same plaza, I also dashed next door to Christmas Tree Shops for some more cookie tins. They’d sold out of the cute little trucks, but I found some others that are pretty and will do.

And bought some things I didn’t really need, but liked.

Came home, put the CTS stuff in quarantine, decontaminated the groceries and myself. And there was the morning. We’re back to it taking a half a day to do a couple of errands.

I got some client work done, some admin done. I’m spinning ideas for holiday ads for a client, but haven’t landed on the right one. Something with sparkles, but not sure how to pull it off yet.

Then, I worked on the revisions for “Just Jump in and Fly” which will be re-released after Thanksgiving for the upcoming holiday season. It’s a magical fantasy/comedy/romance short under the Ava Dunne name, playing with Yuletide myths, and is still one of my favorite pieces I ever wrote. I need to do one more proof, and then I can sign off on it.

I re-read “The Ghost of Lockesley Hall”, which is a holiday ghost story/romance I wrote a few years ago. I still like most of it. I need to add a couple of scenes to put in some more conflict, but that should be ready to re-release by the end of November, too.

Which, of course, meant I had to make changes on the links on the websites and, as new buy links go live, keep them updated.

I’m also working on the promo campaign for the shorts, and figuring out how to promote the TRINITY OF TEASERS, which is a free read of the first three chapters of the first book in each series.

It was a busy day. I should have gotten out some more LOIs, but I didn’t.

I reached for the pizza pan and somehow hurt my back again, which made me feel old and grumpy.

Received the next book for review, which is good.

Knowledge Unicorns was about steady work yesterday. They’ve had a lot of assignments piled up, with the workload increasing. It’s as though they’re being punished for learning online. But we spent some time on everyone’s assignments, offered support to each other and ideas, and I think they’re in good shape. ALL of their grades have gone up this year, since we’ve been working together. We – meaning the parents, the kids, and I – are working hard to make sure that this isn’t a negative, non-learning, back-sliding time, the way the “experts” who’d rather see kids go to school and die, just so they get their reopening numbers, claim. I spent a LOT of time every day looking for additional resources and tools and fun stuff to add to their curriculums, and to expand on what they’re supposedly learning. I don’t want them to feel restrained by online learning, but expanded.

The parent session after the kids are done is useful, too, and it’s nice to see the parents making virtual friends with each other and able to offer support.

But I admit, by the end of the sessions, I’m tired. So I can only imagine how exhausted the parents must be every day.

Watched AUNTIE MAME on DVD, the Rosalind Russell version. Wow, she’s good. Her timing, her ability to communicate multiple layers of meaning in a gesture, a glance, a pause. Truly wonderful. I didn’t like the way Ito was portrayed most of the time, although he had a couple of good scenes. The way Mame fought back against the anti-Semitism was good, but would be considered too subtle nowadays. It was a movie with a lot of contrasts and some inconsistencies, but Rosalind Russell was terrific.

Tired when I finally fell into bed.

Slept well, though. That’s a positive from the curfew. No drag racing to wake me up at 2 in the morning.

Getting some writing done this morning. Then I have to spend a few hours onsite at a client’s, then home to decontaminate, join Remote Chat, and proofread in the afternoon. Maybe, if the onsite escapade hasn’t stressed/worn me out completely, I can get some more writing done.

Onward, and trying to be safe.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Saturday, May 10, 2008
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and warm

I’m back. I lived a lifetime in a few days, and had my hands full with my elderly relatives and their primary care person, who was also under the weather. Unfortunately, I can’t go into details without invading their privacy, much as I would like your opinions on some of the events. Let’s just say it was – and is – complicated.

We had some beautiful days, though. I managed to stop for awhile at one of the Ongonquit beaches. On another day, I drove up to Naples and around Long Lake and Sebago Lake. Just gorgeous.

I stopped at three great restaurants: Amore Breakfast in Ongonquit, The Stone Dog Café in North Windham, and my old favorite, The Egg and I, in Ogonquit. Of course, we stopped at The Stonewall Kitchen to stock up. They have a new Roasted Apple grilling sauce that’s wonderful, and a Mango Lime Salsa. Plus, I needed the Garlic Teriyaki and the Wasabi Ginger sauces.

I continued reading Will in the World, and taking notes for the various projects it feeds. It truly is one of the best biographies I’ve ever read. The author, Shakespearean scholar Stephan Greenblatt, has a play he co-wrote, Cardenio, opening at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge. I’d like to get up there to see it. It’s only running until June 8, and I’m not sure I can get up there within the time frame, but I’d like to.

I was disappointed in two other books I took up with me. Both were by authors I don’t know personally, but whose work I’ve read before, and who I understand from others are lovely people. Both sell very well, and I respect what they’ve achieved in the business. One author’s work I’d read before and liked; the other’s work I’d read before and it exasperated me, due to the lack of research and believability. The attitude that came across to me was, “well, I’m writing fiction, so who cares? I’m supposed to make it up.” I thought maybe I’d been unfair and should give Author #2 another chance with my money and time. Won’t make that mistake again. The ideas were fun, but poorly executed. The work took place overseas, and it was obviously she got her info from the tourist board and something like Wikipedia. There was no sense of anything unique about it – it was advertorial travel babble, not a true sense of place. And, while I thought some of the ideas were clever, the execution was poor. I know this author sells A LOT, but, although some of the ideas are clever and fun, I find the writing sloppy and all the protagonists and antagonists always sound exactly the same, no matter from which country they supposedly originate. There’s no cadence, there’s no individuality in either people or place. And it drives me nuts.

At least there weren’t any typos. That author has a good copyeditor!

The other book, by the author whose work I previously liked, was an even bigger disappointment. Again, some interesting ideas. But I loathed the female protagonist. There was absolutely no reason for me to give a damn whether or not she survived, much less succeeded in her quest. I hated her and wished she’d be killed off. She was weak, stupid, and selfish, and, when she had shown zero growth by the midpoint of the book and zero potential for it, I put the book down.

But no typos. 😉

I did read the last chapter to see if I should go back and read the second half of the book – couldn’t be bothered. Ick. Which is a shame, because I’ve really enjoyed other work by this author. It doesn’t put me off the author, unless the next few books alienate me as well. I think writers should write whatever they want to explore, and not every book is going to please every reader. It is the writer’s right to follow the vision. Once I’ve decided I like a writer, it usually takes several books to alienate me.

I got more writing done than I expected, which is good. Of course, none of it was on what I planned to work. It was an idea I had while in Maine, and Maine is practically a character in it. It means doing some research on the natural history of Maine, but that will be fun.

I also got some ideas for a new Fearless Ink brochure, which I will sketch out and work on this week. I found some places for whom I’d really like to write on this trip, but I need a new brochure, and I think I’m out of business cards.

The mail tampering in this building has gotten out of control. It’s time to bring in the US Postal Inspectors. I had someone stop by to pick up the mail every day I was gone after work – and by the time the person got here, the mail that didn’t fit into the boxes had been tossed. I’ve talked to management over and over and OVER about this, and we have an eyewitness to the perpetrator, who was spoken to about the fact that removing someone’s mail is a felony. His response was to shrug, walk away, and keep doing it. Time to bring in the feds. I put up a poster provided by the post office with the consequences of mail tampering and it was ripped off the wall during the day. Gee, wonder who’s doing it? Three guesses, bet you’ll get it in one. I’m going to keep printing them and keep putting them up. It is my right, as it is my right to have un-tampered mail. I should not have to pay for a post office box because building employees are thieves. I warned building management what the consequences would be of ignoring this situation; now it’s time to show them I’m serious.

Yesterday was a raw, rainy, cold day, so of course I was running around like crazy and got soaked to the skin. I’d had to cancel out of a few things because of complications in Maine and here at the building. But I was still running around enough to be soaked to the skin.

On the up side, I stopped in a bookstore because I wanted something different. I wanted new-to-me authors and something I wasn’t being paid to read.

I picked up two books. One, Summers at Castle Auburn, is by one of my favorite authors, Sharon Shinn. The other is an anthology called Misspelled, edited by a new-to-me author (with an amazing track record) named Julie E. Czerneda. I started reading it on the train, and all I have to say is:

WOW!

What a great, witty, charming, intelligent, inventive collection of stories! I can’t wait to go to the bookstore and get more by these authors. I sat down and read the whole anthology late last night and into this morning, cover to cover. I liked every single story in it, but my favorites were “Trippingly off the Tongue” by Lesley Livingston, “8 rms, full bsmt” by Kristine Smith, “Chafing the Bogyman” by Kristen Britain,, “A Perfect Circle” by Kent Pollard, and “Crosscut” by S.W. Mayse (every writer should read this one). It was actually hard to pick these, because I liked all the stories so much. The first two mentioned particularly enchanted me. Livingston either just had a novel come out, or one is coming out this summer, and I’ll definitely buy it. I don’t want to tell authors what to write (hating it so much myself), but I hope Kristine Smith does more with her story’s characters. I can’t stand golf and Kristen Britain’s story still captured me. I don’t game or know anything about gaming, but Pollard’s story was so well written it hooked and carried me. All of the stories are worth reading – the inventiveness, the quality of writing, the flashes of humor!

Bookstore, here I come!

What a great way to end the week!

Tons of errands to run this morning, and bills to pay. And then I have to buckle down and have a very productive writing weekend. Deadlines are looming, some new contracts came in, and next month’s bills will be here before I want them.

A new idea sprang fully formed into my head. I’ll make some notes on it, and put it in the queue.

Devon

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Thursday, January 31, 2008
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I forgot to mention my disappointment with REAPER the other night. The show still made me laugh, but there was a lapse of logic (what? There’s logic in the show?) that I couldn’t get past with the bugs. The type of bug changed from shot to shot – close shots were some gross coackroachy-beetle things while the flying shots and other close-ups were bees. Without explanation or reference. Looked to me like someone skipped doing the symbolism research. And when you’re dealing with paranormal elements, it matters. Even fictional worlds need to have internal logic, and when the logic is breached, it needs to be dealt with, not “oh, no one will notice.”

I’ve mentioned, a few times in the past weeks, my frustrations with the job listings. I decided to stop visiting some of my regular stops on the job hunt trail because, while the host of the site is making a buck running the freelance site and purports to champion the rights of freelancers to earn a decent living – the jobs listed are still for piddly-ass pay. To me, that’s hypocritical. If you’re telling writers not to work for peanuts, stop listing the $20 jobs.

Buh-bye.

It’s easy to get into the habit of visiting the sites instead of trolling around doing one’s own research, but when the sites are listing the low-pay jobs, you start thinking that’s all that’s out there. And it’s not.

So, it’s a little more leg work up front, but a heftier paycheck.

It’s like anything – the amount of effort you put in is proportionate to what you get out. Or, at least, it should be. If you’re putting a lot of effort in and getting pennies, you need to step back and re-think your strategy.

Yes, we ARE in a recession. Sometimes you need to take a job you don’t really want to make some quick cash. But don’t settle. Always strive to use each gig as a building block towards a better and better-paying one.

I continue to have problems with the email accounts connected to the websites on the 1and1 host. So, if you’ve sent me mail and I haven’t answered, it’s because I haven’t been able to get into the account. Almost all week, I’ve gotten the “Server Error 500” again. And when I report it, Customer Un-support ignores me. This has now gone on regularly for months. They’re charging for full service, even though they’re not providing it.

I did some research on other hosts, and found a few more possibilities. I want to put the new websites on one particular host, and then I’ll probably slowly switch the Devon Ellington, Cerridwen’s Cottage, and Fearless Ink sites to a different host over time. I hate giving up the template for the Cerridwen site – I think it’s magnificent – but maybe by then I’ll have figured out how to design one of my own.

Because you see, when the server error comes up, it’s not like the mail stacks up and waits – it vanishes. And then, when I can finally get in, especially to Fearless Ink, I receive angry emails from potential clients wondering why I didn’t get back to them. So 1and1’s ineptness (not to mention rudeness) is costing me money. And that can’t happen. They came highly recommended, their customer service was supposed to be superb, and it’s been big fat pain since Day 2. Day 1 was good, but from Day 2 on, they’ve been a nightmare. I mean, it took a year from the time I switched the domains over from Yahoo (whose hosting is also run pretty badly) to get the information I needed to rebuild the sites. So, I’m doing a lot of consumer research before I make the next move, because it will be a damned nightmare, between all the address books and email accounts and everything else that need to be moved.

And I’m adding an alternate gmail address to the business emails going in and out of Fearless Ink.

And I’m certainly not stupid enough to try to make a move during a Mercury Retrograde! 😉

Spent a good portion of the day in bed, trying to coax away the migraine. Wasn’t particularly successful. I couldn’t switch off the brain, and was in the half-dozing, half-dream state. Some of it was good, working out plot whatevers on projects; some of it wasn’t so good, fretting about things beyond my control.

Started work on the material for Confidential Job #2.

Trying to sort out what needs to be written/polished/submitted when, so that it all gets done, I don’t drop the ball on any opportunities, but I’m also not spreading myself too thin. It’s a challenge. Too many possibilities; too few definites. And the definites MUST get priority.

Booked some for next week which pays quickly – always a good thing.

Back to work on Wyatt this morning. I had an excellent morning’s work, dived right back in. Then I’ve got a long list of errands all over the map (although I’m trying to plot a logical course); then a couple of hours for Confidential Job #2, and back to the polish of Tracking Medusa.

Because the focus tomorrow needs to be on the sci-fi horror western.

Devon

Wyatt — 12,290 words out of est. 20,000 (61.4%)

Published in: on January 31, 2008 at 9:51 am  Comments (8)  

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Saturday, January 26, 2008
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cold

The errands turned out to be Fool’s Errands – I’m trying to track down some material for a project, but no luck yet. I haven’t exhausted all my resources yet, so it’s no big deal, and it was good to be out and around.

I had a relaxing afternoon at my friend’s place in CT, reading, doing laundry, etc.

Returned home to more building crap. This is halfway civilized building crap, which will take place on Monday – when Mercury turns retrograde, with Mars and Saturn still retrograde – just shoot me now, okay? ‘Cause if the gun’s still loaded by Monday, I might just use it on someone else. Metaphorically speaking.

The whole thing flattened me with a migraine of the jabbing-the-icepick-through-my-eye variety.

Forgot to mention yesterday that I watched both episodes of Chuck the other and thought, for the most part, they were clever. They made me laugh a bunch of times, and that’s always a good thing.

I have to finish the material for Confidential Job #1 today – I forgot that it’s due on Monday. I wrote about 2K this morning on a fun little project that’s just for me, to blow off some steam, and now I’m ready to get back to Tracking Medusa. I’ve come up with a possible log line — in the shower, where some of my best material emerges. Either there or in Corpse Position after yoga. Because if I try to turn my brain into a void, it fills with stories.

The comment from the guy who says I watch too much TV made me laugh. I spent over twenty years on an eight show/week schedule and maybe got to watch 1-2 hours of television a week. So now, I actually watched about fifteen or twenty hours in the past month — and for once, I’m just flipping around channels instead of trying to catch up frantically on my own or my colleagues’ work — and some stranger’s telling me I watch too much TV! Too funny. (Eye roll).

Devon

Devon’s Bookstore:


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:

Published in: on January 26, 2008 at 10:27 am  Comments (3)  

Monday, July 9, 2007

Monday, July 9, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury DIRECT (woo-hoo!)
Venus Retrograde
Hazy, hot, humid

Short story polished and out. Racing articles (horse and yacht) polished and out. Headache back – I think I need to go to the eye doctor and get my prescription changed.

I still have to muck through 25 pages of protocol for the NEXT America’s Cup Challenge. I skimmed it for the article – now I need to read it and understand it.

Tweaked the Fearless Ink website a bit to make the article markets list easier to read.

Finally put aside the dully written journal of a mediocre writer that I’ve attempted to read over the past few weeks. I’m not being paid to read it; I don’t enjoy reading it; so why bother?

Now I can get back to Hermione Lee’s excellent biography of Edith Wharton.

Speaking of paid to read, the material for Confidential Job #1 is a bit of uphill work this time around. I’m surprised – it seemed so promising at the beginning of it. But I’m having trouble getting through more than 50 pages at a time, and I have the deadline looming . . .

I have to rewrite the end of Chapter 10 of Tracking Medusa. I have it happen too quickly, and the action has too much impact on both characters to be simply glossed over. But I gave myself the night off last night. I’ll attack it all today.

Today’s agenda is to finish the restaurant article (I’ll contact the owner one last time – he doesn’t get back to me today, I’m not quoting him. I can’t blow the deadline because he “doesn’t have time” to respond to questions). I want to give a final polish to three short-short pieces and get them off, and then possibly get out a flash fiction submission – I think I’ve found a market for it, and it should take about ten minutes to prepare the submission, in spite of the hoops the publication wants contributors to jump through.

That’s one of the things I started doing: If the ad makes my eyes cross or gets on my last nerve, I skip it. Tell me what you want, where to send it, the word count, and the pay. And that’s it. Don’t have three pages of instructions. Because I can’t be bothered. There are plenty of other markets that pay more than you do who are concise, precise – and pay on time.

I have to go to Staples (I forgot on Saturday), put gas in the car, and also stop at the library to see if they have any Large Print mysteries on the sale shelves that I can take to my grandmother later this week. Yesterday wasn’t as beastly hot as they predicted, but who knows what today will bring?

Pretty soon the back-to-school supplies sales starts. And you know what that means! Packets of notebooks for pennies! I can hardly wait!

I also need to start another short story that’s due at the end of the month.

And I guess I should look at my contracts and see when those calendar pieces are due.

I’m writing some ads to put up on Craigslist – but I won’t post them until I get back from Maine next week. There’s no point in not being around to respond to responses, is there?

There seems to be a lack of common sense in our government regarding the wildfires and the flooding (gee, you think?). In areas where there’s flooding, use tanker trucks and flatbeds with large drums (not cute little rain barrels, but drums). Set them out, seal them as they fill, and send them to drought-stricken areas. You’d need several hundred trucks and drivers, and, eventually, special designs, but you’re creating jobs and helping mitigate floods – if the water’s going into drums, it’s not overfilling rivers and streets, and not flooding. Preferably hybrid trucks, but those probably still have to be designed. Meanwhile, in addition to using rainwater (not floodwater – you’re catching it before it’s down) on the fires burning, for crying out loud, douse dry tinder areas instead of sitting there with your thumb up your ass talking about “drought”. We live in the twenty-first century, people, not the eighteenth! USE technology and modern machinery. You can use bomb-sniffing dogs on the trucks to make sure no one brings through explosives masquerading as tanker trucks, and you’re taking the overflow from one area and bringing it to the areas that need it. It’s a simple solution and it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. There doesn’t have to be a lot of paperwork involved either – you just need someone with intelligence running the program.

Some more interview requests also need to go out today, and then I should be on top of my deadlines. . .for the moment.

Not as much work as I’d like on Good Names this morning, but Mrs. Frasier is turning out to be quite a feisty character. She was supposed to be walk-through annoyance – but she’s much more than that.

Devon

Good Names – 33,632 words out of est. 100,000

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
34 / 100
(33.6%)

April 10, 2007

Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I ended up trying to help my mom with her taxes yesterday, and that ate up most of the day. I have a feeling we’re going to get Turbo Tax and simplify things. It didn’t help that I went through everything, did all the calculations and then realized one of my early numbers was wrong!

Anyone else use Turbo Tax? What’s your experience?

Assignments from both Confidential Jobs arrived yesterday, so I have to put my nose to the grindstone and get those done. Fortunately, I’m excited about both assignments.

I ended up having to rewrite the beginning of Chapter Two of Good Names because they would have traveled from the stepmother’s house to the hotel via horse-drawn hacks – it was still a bit too early for cars to be common just then. After all, Henry Ford sold the first Model A to a Detroit doctor in 1903 – but it may have been later in the year than when the story opens. I’d rather not risk the inaccuracy, and put them in a hack instead. But I can still have them pass streetcars – Chicago had lots of streetcars at that time! But I also went further into the chapter. It makes it stronger.

Got out two freelance pitches and a request for more information to a third company. Printed off some other guidelines for a potential market – I have to look through my pieces and see if there’s anything appropriate.

Did the assignment for Confidential Job #2, wrote the report, and sent it off this morning. Keep your fingers crossed that they like the result and keep using me!

Off to the theatre for day work today, and then I have to rush back and across town for the meeting regarding the flood last month. I haven’t yet decided if I’m going to speak – it depends how much I disagree with what’s said!

Devon

Good Names — 3,562 words out of est. 100,000

Kristen King’s Inkthinker Query Challenge 2007 — 27 pitches out of 120 = 22.5%

March 1, 2007

Thursday, March 1, 2007
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cold and Rainy

I finally managed to get up the article “Other People’s Careers” on the Dog Blog yesterday. Can I just say how much I hate the new Blogger?

By the end of the day, you should be able to catch up on the past few days’ worth of Circadian Poems¸ finally up (I had Microsoft problems, it had nothing to do with WordPress), and the latest poetry news, and to check out Kemmyrk – and, if you have tarot questions, next Monday’s column is going to answer a few. Send them here.

Blogger’s newest annoyance, when I’m visiting friends’ blogs, is that it won’t give me the actual letters for visual verification. It simply says “visual verification” and the blank box, but not the letters I’m supposed to verify. So it takes five or six attempts to get the letters, then it tells me I didn’t enter them properly (which is total b.s.) and so on and so forth.

Why shouldn’t the spammers go through the hoops, not the legitimate readers?

Both shows were fine yesterday. Artie and I went to Whym, a fairly new eatery a little farther up Ninth Avenue than we planned to go. Décor nice. Artie chose the pork tenderloin with fig sauce, which was very good. Unfortunately, I had a quite mediocre chicken pot pie (I should have gone for the Mahi Mahi). Dessert, however, was excellent: warm chocolate cake for me and pear cobbler with cinnamon ice cream for Artie.

Chaz finally received the package (in Newcastle) with the filled Christmas stocking for his cat, Barry. Artie made the stocking and together we’d put in all kinds of things for cats to enjoy – and, according to Chaz, Barry’s enjoying it! The Royal Mail screwed up and sent it back when I’d sent it over for Christmas, but this time it got over there in only four days.

I’m reading In the Devil’s Garden, a book about food taboos arranged according to the Seven Deadly Sins. It’s fascinating, but it also makes me angry – the cruelties and the fact that so many people (and animals) have to suffer because of mentally ill rulers. It’s not a read-straight-through book or a good backstage book. I have to be able to pick it up and put it down.

Managed to catch an earlier train, which got me home at midnight instead of at 12:30. That meant I was able to get out two pitches before I went to bed last night. Keep your fingers crossed.

I can’t believe it’s already March. Here’s February’s Wrap-Up:

Done:
Query Challenge (12 queries out)
Circadian Poems
Kemmyrk
2 full weeks on the show

In Progress:
13-in-Play
Finish Chasing the Changeling
Biblio Paradise Newsletter out – Microsoft problems set this back; will go out by Mon.
Finish next Lit Athlete column – almost there
Real – did a bit of work, and then stopped
Tumble revision
“Illuminated Nude”
“The Man on the Yoga Mat”

Dropped/Postponed:
Work on DE site – I’m going to stick with this one for the moment
Revisions on Assumption of Right – I carried it around a lot, but didn’t actually start yet.
Fix-It Girl – although we talked about it at the show, and my colleagues got me excited about it again.
Typing Shallid – no time
Typing Token and Affections – no time
Restructure Thirteen Traveling Journals – ran out of time
Dixie Dust Rumors queries out – I focused on other queries instead

Additional:
The Project accepted and prep work begun
Tarot story for anthology discussed

Disappointments:
Getting sick and working on the show fulltime set everything back.

Successes:
Landing The Project
Article accepted by Notes in the Margin
Landing another steady gig

Reading:
The Tin Box by Holly Kennedy. Very good.
Journal of a Solitude by May Sarton. (re-read). Excellent.
Martha Gellhorn by Caroline Moorehead (unfinished). Excellent.
Bride and Groom by Susan Conant. Good.
Dinner at Deviant’s Palace by Tim Powers (unfinished). Excellent, but pushes a lot of buttons.
Natural Enemy by Jane Langton. Very good.
Ivy Days by Susan Allen Toth. Excellent
In the Devil’s Garden by Stewart Lee Allen (unfinished). Excellent, but not an easy read.
The Easy Way to Be Brilliant at Business Writing by Suzan St. Maur (unifinished). Very good.
Noel Coward’s Diaries. Excellent.

March To-Do List:

Circadian Poems

Kemmyrk

The Scruffy Dog Review Blog

Finish Lit Athlete Article

Prep The Project

Press Release for Ink in My Coffee Third Anniversary

Biblio Paradise Newsletter out

Restructure Thirteen Traveling Journals

Craig’s List Ads for Fearless Ink

Query Challenge

13-in-Play

Write anthology story due March 31

Finish Chasing the Changeling

Finish Tumble re-vision

Type Token and Affections

Type Shallid

Start revisions on Assumption of Right

Work on The Fix-it Girl

Work on Real

Finish “Illuminated Nude”

Finish “The Man on the Yoga Mat”

Get out Dixie Dust Rumors queries

Two and a half full-time weeks on the show

Good thing March is a long month!

Devon

February 24, 2007

Saturday, February 24, 2007
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Revolting and disgusting Microsoft corrupted all my files, research, layout, etc. AND the back-up for the newsletter that was supposed to go out this weekend. I’d done everything three weeks ago, before my sojourn in the city. I’d checked every file, once it was saved. It was in a protected box. And I put it in tonight and it’s all corrupt, can’t be retrieved, and I’m screwed.

Now, in the “help” files there are several different ways that Microsoft swears up, down and sideways will retrieve corrupted information including “open and repair” and “recover text from any file”.

They lie. I know rugs that don’t lie as much as Microsoft does.

So I have to start from scratch – all the articles, all the information, the layout, etc. – and hope I match the tone. I’ll do it as a “March” newsletter instead and hope for the best. I’m upset and disappointed because it was one of the best, merriest things I’d written in a long time, and would have generated a LOT of business.

Oh, yeah, and the mailing list I took six weeks to painstakingly put together – gone. AND the backup. I hadn’t run hard copies because I planned to keep copies of the final for my file, and, before I printed it, I was going to go over it all one last time.

What’s the point of making a back-up if it doesn’t actually BACK THINGS UP?

Damn Microsoft and damn Bill Gates even more, for heading a company that builds things to fail.

I re-wrote about a third of the newsletter last night. I figured I could use those hours productively instead of simply being upset. I’m getting there. I have to do some more things tonally. I THINK I have a good part of the mailing list written in longhand somewhere, if I can find it, so recreating it shouldn’t take the six weeks it took to create in the first place.

My friend who commented that looking at houses in bad weather’s supposed to be a good thing is absolutely right – I wouldn’t have minded tromping through them in the weather; unfortunately, I couldn’t get up to the area in which I’m looking because of the roads. For bad weather house-hunting, I carry a pair of slippers with me so I can leave my muddy boots on the doorstep and not tramp stuff through the house they so carefully cleaned so people can look at it. It’s tough on the seller in many ways to have people coming through the house – physically and emotionally – you never know if someone with horrible energy is going to show up and taint the place.

Lara tagged me for “What do you need to write?”

What I NEED to write is this:

Pen
Paper

That’s it. I am capable of writing anywhere, and I like to do first drafts in longhand (except for articles, which I find easier to do directly onto the computer).

In the best of all possible worlds, I LIKE to have a large desk, plenty of books around me, fresh flowers, and my little inspiring knick-knacks from here and there. I like to have music playing, sometimes, but if I’m writing fiction, it has to be instrumental only. Absolutely NO soundtracks or I start getting influenced by the piece for which the soundtrack was written. No lyrics, because they influence the dialogue. Sometimes, to get me into the mood for a character, I’ll play music I believe the character would play, but, when it comes down to the actual writing, it needs to be instrumental only. Usually some sort of jazz or jazz funk or Celtic or Nordic. Sometimes classical, if I’ve had a particularly stressful day.

When I’m writing non-fiction, I can listen to anything that strikes my fancy at that moment.

When I’m writing, I prefer to have the CD player on as opposed to the MP3. I like the sense of space in having the music fill the room. I use the MP3 if it’s noisy outside and the CD can’t cover it, or if I’m away from home and want to cut out noise or vibration.

To remind me of the sense of place, I like to have a bulletin board with photos of the location someplace where I can look up and get inspiration.

But I don’t NEED any of that. I need the pen and the paper, and then I drop down the well and live in the world of the piece.

So I tag Anita, Debra, and Rhian. What do you need when you write?

Tons to do today – as of Tuesday, I’m back fulltime on the show, and there will be little room for anything else. It’s difficult to spend the necessary (and, in this case , it is NECESSARY, not OPTIONAL) six hours a day on the writing business when I have to spend 14 hours at the theatre, but, for three weeks, that’s what I have to do.

I didn’t get any sewing done this week, which I’d hoped to do. I’m not going to stress about it, it’s not on a deadline. I’ll get it in when I can. The fabric’s not going anywhere – unless the cats drag it out of the bin and stash it.

Speaking of cats, Iris is playing with a ball that has a bell in it, chasing it up and down the living room. Although the tingling is slightly annoying (not a good pitch), it’s great to see her having so much fun with something so simple.

Did just a touch of work on Changeling this morning – I need t go back to the notes. Yesterday’s scene was unexpected and a happy surprise, but there are still a few points I need to hit. I wonder if I brought Thierry into the story too late. I have a feeling Changeling will need a good bit of restructuring in the rewrite. Well, that’s why there ARE rewrites – once it’s all out there in a first draft, I can move things around. If there’s nothing there in the first place, there’s nothing to move.

Devon

Published in: on February 24, 2007 at 9:30 am  Comments (7)