Wed. Oct. 20, 2021: Thoughts on Nano, Inner Work, and Daily Life

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Full Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy and cool

image courtesy of Pexels.com

I wanted to share some NaNoWriMo Tips that have served me well in previous years, and I hope will do so this year:

Prep. Even if you don’t do a formal outline, make notes on the story. That way, when you rip the time out of your day to write, you can drop right into the book where you are and not have to wonder what you meant to do when you stopped the previous day. The work I prep always drafts more smoothly than the work I don’t. Plus, the prepped work needs fewer rounds of revision than the uncharted work, although anything I write in Nano needs much, much more revision that work written outside of it.

Set Daily Goals. To write 50K in 30 Days, you need to hit 1667 words EVERY day. For me to feel comfortable, I like to hit 2K/day; for me to feel really good about the work and leave room for the chaos of life, I try to hit 2.5K/day, especially early on. I know I need days off here and there; I like to have 50K by Thanksgiving. This year? I have no idea, since my writing rhythms have been totally thrown off between COVID and last year’s surgeries and job changes and moving. My reason for doing Nano this year is to both reclaim my writing rhythm and, hopefully, find an even better one, that will sustain me long after November is in my rear-view mirror.

Frontload and bank words. The rush of the start and that initial creative wave feel great. If you can go beyond your daily goal early on (or at any point), do so. That way, WHEN something comes up and you have to skip a day or a few days, you won’t fall behind.

Plan breaks. You’ll need to take a day here and there for a break. Or maybe you have family plans for the whole weekend of American Thanksgiving. Plan for that. Include in the planning, working AHEAD on word count, so that when you hit the day off, you already have that day’s words in the bank. It’s harder to catch up than to work ahead.

Know the Difference Between Asking for Encouragement and Being an Energy Vampire. We all hit hard days during the process, and often hit several of them in a row. Week 2 tends to be the rockiest, because the initial rush has worn off, and it’s down to showing up to do the work. It’s healthy to admit you’re struggling and ask for suggestions or encouragement. But don’t expect/demand people to hurt their own work in order to get you back on track with yours. Every year, there are people who try to make the entire experience about THEM, and, if they start to struggle, they try to derail everyone else around them.

Stick It Out, Even if You Don’t Hit 50K. Using Nano to get into the rhythm of daily writing, and also knowing how to PLAN breaks in that daily writing, will serve you well moving forward.

There are all kinds of tips and daily encouragements in my free book 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS, available for download here.

I’m extremely disturbed to see how many right-wing and religious-based writing groups have taken over the discussion forums. You can’t tell me they’re working on systems of equality and inclusion, especially since most of the LGBTQ forums have locked down for protection. No thread should have to lock down for protection, if the community is actually run on respect and inclusion.

Now, on to my experience on the soul journey workshop I’m in this week.

I was a little worried, on Monday, that it was for newcomers to this type of work, people with less experience than I have. I was disturbed, in the day’s video, by the talk of one’s spiritual life and one’s mundane life being on parallel paths. It’s often true at the beginning, but isn’t part of the point of the work to integrate the two, so one lives one’s path?

I also reminded myself how important it is to go back to basics, and start with fresh eyes, as though it’s the first time, because there’s always something to learn.

I’ve been doing the work, and learning. Some of it is uncomfortable, but that’s okay, because it’s showing me where I’m stuck in patterns that hurt, and how I can break out of them to stumble along a path that heals.

Five days barely scratches the surface, but it’s giving me ideas on how to build this work into my schedule on a regular basis, and where to go from here. I want to keep doing the work, definitely through the Chiron retrograde, because that’s working with the natural energies rather than against them.

I keep hoping maybe January will give me a period of rest. I’m hoping I can adjust the work schedule without losing money, and that I can give myself a bit of a break on inner work and just rest/be for a few weeks.

Monday’s work was good; I decided that the Journey Tarot, which I received in the last Goddess Provisions box, was a good match for this work, and I was right. I did the work, and felt I got a lot out of it. The live chat was a little frustrating, because, as happened during the prep time, the people yelling excuses about not doing the work, and demanding validation for not doing the work are sucking all the energy out of the collective space. The people who are MAKING the time and DOING the work are getting lost in the noise. There’s no space for those of us doing the work to go deeper and safely share that experience with each other. The people not doing the work are trying to siphon off the collective raised group energy without contributing anything to it. That is something that rubs me the wrong way (to say the least). Everyone is on their own journey and has their challenges; but do NOT expect to be validated and steal the collective energy when you refuse to add anything to it.

I did some additional work during meditation Monday night and the Hermit card kept coming up. Which makes a lot of sense in the context.

Tuesday’s video was good, and so was the additional meditation/visualization. It was very helpful in figuring out a few things. During the live chat, I ignored the chat running down the side (with all the energy vampires), and focused on the group leaders and what they had to say. There was something that really resonated. In thinking about one’s “future self”, focus more on how you want your life to FEEL as you live it then, rather than what you DO. Which is a good point. We are groomed to always work for someone else’s profit. Usually receiving far less than our work is worth. If we visualize our future for the type of life we want to enjoy on an experiential level instead of assuming that if we just have a particular job or live in a particular house we’ll feel good – if we work on the emotional landscape we want, then we can create the physical portions that support it and make it possible.

There was also an emphasis on being “all in” – which translated to me as “do the work.” But, as I said, I ignored most of the chat stream, because there were still too many people on it making noisy excuses, and I’m not engaging with that.

Looking forward to seeing what today’s work is about.

This week is definitely a starting point, but it’s giving me useful tools and ideas of where I want to focus this type of work over the next few months.

Chop Wood, Carry Water, and all that Life Stuff

On the life level, I got some work done in the morning, then had to run errands. I’m telling you, the Post Office is the happening place around here. That’s where I go to keep up with local events. I had a stack of cards and letters to drop off (including another letter trying to get my mom’s insurance straightened out), and buy stamps.

Dropped off a bunch of books at the library (and didn’t get the notification that some of my holds were in until I got home. Oh, well).

Headed off to Wild Oats to stock up on a bunch of stuff, like coffee, wine, lentils, and eggs.

Picked up a few things at Stop & Shop that I needed, and probably snagged the last bag of frozen peas in the Berkshires. Those freezer cases are very bare.

Made red lentil soup for lunch (Moosewood Recipe, of course), which was pretty darn good.

Most of the afternoon was taken up with the soul journey class. When that was done, I attempted to pay the next six months’ worth of car insurance (instead of paying monthly). It shouldn’t take 45 minutes to put through an online payment. But it did. And it was wrong. So I had to contact them and get it sorted out. Which, supposedly, it is.

Grrr.

I’d gotten a great promotion for a Wine Advent Calendar and decided I wanted it. So I go to order it, get through the checkout, and then it says it “can’t” ship in my state. Even though the company is located in my state. Then why send the promotion? You know where I live. And hey, having worked for businesses who send out promotional emails, I know that it’s possible to set up email blasts with different parameters based on location, to focus promotions.

It was sloppy marketing and not using email platform functions well. Which pissed me off as a potential customer (this would have been my first purchase from them), and it is highly, highly unlikely I would do business with them in the future. Anytime I see their logo, I’m going to think, “The assholes who sent me a promotion in which I couldn’t actually participate” and move on to a different vendor.

That ate up the time I’d set aside to write up script coverages, which was frustrating. And I still had two scripts to read after dinner.

Got a question from a client, which I honestly answered, but I worried it would mean they no longer wanted to work with me. Instead, they told me the experience makes me more valuable to them. So why do I do this to myself, set myself up with unnecessary worry? Why do I always expect the worst? I need to stop that. Hopefully, this week’s class will give me tools so to do.

Did some percolating on CAST IRON MURDER, but very little was added to the outline. Will have to make up for that today.

Sent off my workshop proposal to the conference that invited me next summer. Decided to go to an outdoor writing event in Lenox over the upcoming weekend.

Reminded myself that the Hermit card cannot be denied, and I need to do all this slowly, slowly, being careful to marshal my energy.

Pork chops smothered in mushroom-tarragon gravy for dinner, with rice and red cabbage. It was good.

Knowledge Unicorns was good, although, again, we had to put off the virtual tours of Venetian museums because of pressing classwork. But discussing ETHAN FROME, Nancy Drew, and the racism in the required reading considered “canon” was a pretty good way to spend time.

I gave myself permission not to read scripts last night, and just relax. Which would have restored me, except that Charlotte started bothering me at 3 AM, and by 3:43, Tessa was in full voice.

To the laundromat early, and got two loads washed, dried, folded. I change my days and times there, because I’m often the only one there, and I don’t want to set myself up for trouble. I never have my back to the doors/room. I’m hyper aware of anyone even walking past. Because as a woman, I have to worry about these things.

But while I was there, I worked more on the outline notes for CAST IRON MURDER. I created the other possible suspects, their backstories, and why they might have killed the murder victim. Some of those “whys” also make my protagonist an even more likely suspect.

So it was time well spent.

My downstairs neighbors decorated the front porch, and it is delightful! We are going to have so much fun in the coming weeks.

Lots to do today. Previous Me would have piled on the work, insisted on trying to attend the Sundance Collab, immediately flip over to Remote Chat, and then try to juggle Remote Chat while doing the live classwork.

And felt like a failure when it didn’t work.

Current Me doesn’t do the Collab on Wednesdays (just Mondays and Fridays, when I can). I will do the beginning of Remote Chat, and then give myself a few minutes break before joining my class.

This morning, though, I have to make a quick dash to the library to pick up my books. And get coverages/reading done that didn’t happen yesterday.

Onward. Somehow, it will all come together.

Have a good one.

Tues. Oct. 12, 2021: Am I Really Doing This?

image courtesy of Lisa via pexels.com

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Waxing Moon

Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Saturn went DIRECT on 10/10/2021

Foggy and mild

The weekend turned out quite differently than expected, but I’m doing my work on flow and flexibility, and grateful that my work allows it.

The plan, since it was supposed to be a warm and sunny day, was to go to Holyoke and Hadley (about an hour and a half away) to hit some stores we don’t have around here and stock up on a few things, and check out a few places to see if they’re worth a return visit. It wasn’t that warm, and it alternated between clouds and sun.

But the big thing that jettisoned those plans was that Tessa was limping, badly. Her right front paw was the problem. She wasn’t happy about me checking it, but it wasn’t broken, and she didn’t have anything lodged in it, and it wasn’t an ingrown nail. I figured she landed wrong on one of her jumps, or when she raced up and down the stairs, playing, in the night.

We decided to stay home and watch her, and keep Charlotte away from her, in case I needed to book a vet visit in the next couple of days. She didn’t want me carrying her, and insisted on jumping up and down, even though she still limped. But we managed to keep her quiet most of the day. I stayed next to her on the sofa, and even, sometimes, down on the floor.

Snuck off while she napped to send off my last script coverages for the week, and made my nut and a little over, so I could relax.

Got my book review sent off, but it was too late to get another assignment, so I’m hoping that will come through today. Managed to catch up on a bunch of emails, too, and designed a new ad for Fearless Ink which I will probably launch next week, after both Jupiter and Mercury go retrograde.

Did some research on William Morris Hunt and the female painters and sculptors he trained, in preparation for the steampunk piece.

Over Friday and Saturday, I read WHILE JUSTICE SLEEPS by Stacey Abrams. It’s an excellent legal thriller. If Stacy Abrams can be such a purposeful activist to save democracy and still manage her book deadlines, I can shut up and get back on schedule. I enjoy a good legal thriller, and oh, so many fall short, but this exceeded my expectations. Incredible plotting. Just masterful. Along with characters and storytelling and great settings. Top notch in every way.

Friday night, I set up the sofa bed, brought in Tessa’s food, water, and a litter box, and shut everyone else out of the living room. This way, I could be nearby if Tessa needed something, and could make sure she had uninterrupted rest from the others, so her paw could heal. She was pretty happy about it; Charlotte, not so much.

Slept through then night and got up a little before 5 on Saturday. No howling from Tessa, which proves it’s not about food, it’s about loneliness.

Tessa was much better on Saturday, but it was rainy and yucky, so we didn’t go anywhere. We’d hoped to go to Great Barrington, but that will have to wait for a sunnier day. I finished reading WHILE JUSTICE SLEEPS, and then made vegetable stock, and hunted down the box of Halloween treat bags. I was sure I’d brought it up, but couldn’t find it the last few days, and was worried I’d have to do another storage run between the time Mercury goes direct and Samhain. But I finally found it, so it’s all good.

Unpacked some of the boxes in the sewing room, filling the new dresser with fabric.

Signed up for a weeklong course called “Expedition to the Soul” by The Sisters Enchanted. I figured that would work well with the whole Chiron/healing theme. They give you a workbook to download, and ideas on putting together an “Quest Pack.” At first, I rolled my eyes, but reminded myself that I’m the one who signed up for it, so I should do as they ask, because there are reasons. When I teach a class, one of the rules is that you do all the assignments as asked, even if you decide to never work in that way again. So, as a participant, I need to show the same respect to my instructors.

 Once I started putting it together, I had a lot of fun with it. It contains items from Goddess Provisions and Tamed Wild that didn’t have placements yet, and were just sitting around until I found something for them to do, but they’re perfect for this.

Worked on some notes and background for a couple of writing projects, but nothing too major.

Made a quick mac and cheese lunch from Annie’s Organic in a box. It’s been a few years since I ate it, and I was not impressed. The sauce mix was lumpy and wouldn’t dissolve into the milk and butter, and, overall, it was too salty. In a week or two, I’ll have to make up a big batch of Moosewood’s cheese sauce and do their mac and cheese from scratch, and freeze a few packets. I used a Campbell’s sweet and sour skillet sauce with leftover chicken (and made rice) for dinner. Again, not impressed. Somewhere, I have the really good sweet and sour recipe my mom’s best friend gave me (she grew up in Macao, and we took a Chinese cooking class with her a looong time ago, but I kept all the recipes). Foodwise, Saturday was a bust.

I couldn’t find any photos of my dad for the Ancestor Altar we’re building, which is really frustrating. I was sure the big box with all our photo albums and scrap books went on the truck, but can’t find it. That’s upsetting; it better be in the storage unit and not lost for good.

But I have the box that was sent after my uncle, my father’s younger brother, died. Going through that, I found a great, happy photo of my dad from 1965 in Chicago, so I’ll use that. I also found photos of both his older and younger brothers (both of them were artists in Europe). And found a bunch of letters and ancestry research. Most of it is in that difficult-to-read German script, so it will take some time for my mom and I to interpret it. Most of the letters are typed, so my mom is going to work on the translation.

A Big Project for the Winter.

My mother’s father had done a lot of ancestral research on that side of the family, but I have very little information about my father’s side.

I slept in the living room again with Tessa, and slept through the night until nearly six in the morning. Heaven. By this time, Charlotte’s separation anxiety was in high gear, so it took a couple of hours to get her calmed down.

Tessa was running and playing at top speed, so it was just a bad landing on a jump, and nothing that needs a vet visit. Sometimes she forgets she’s not still a kitten.

Dreary day on Sunday, weather-wise. Spent the morning writing six short almanac articles, which was a lot of fun. Spent some time with the Quest workbook. Unpacked a tiny bit, and found some stuff for the Quest Pack.

In the afternoon, I read three scripts for coverage, which I wrote up on Monday.

Worked on an outline for a piece that is taking shape in my head. Those characters that were in search of a story? Found one for them. I’m starting to think it would make sense to work on it during Nano. Yes, the siren song of Nano calls. On the one hand, it’s a chance to write an entire project in a condensed period of time, and get back into the groove, and to connect with local chapter writers. On the other hand, I have three plays due at the end of the year in New York, and I need to get back on track with the series books, keep up with the script coverage and the copywriting, and other “in progress” things. Also, in previous years, I found those who quit before the end of the month were exhausting. They were always the ones pulling the most energy from everyone else, and then they quit anyway.

I’m worried that if I do Nano, I’m doing it for ego. I realize there’s a certain amount of ego involved in writing any book. But as much as I’m trying to justify that it’s about finding my rhythm again after stalling during the early part of the pandemic and while I was sick, there’s also ego involved.

Because, let’s face it, I regularly write more than 50K in a month, although not necessarily on one project. And I don’t have to interact on forums – in fact, the last time I did Nano, I found the moderators snippy and awful towards professional writers.

And doing Nano simply because of ego is not the right reason for me to start writing a book.

Writing because I’m pulled by the story and characters (which I am, especially if I can craft a tight outline between now and November), and writing a whole book from start to finish (which would spill over past Nano, because this book needs to be at least 70K. I’d need to keep writing it into December, while finishing off the plays. And juggling everything else.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to use that time and put that energy into something that I SHOUILD be working on?

Or would the WANT TO writing fuel the SHOULD?

If it’s the latter, I can work with the ego elements, ignore the energy vampires, and just write.

I don’t know. I’m having an internal debate. Maybe the Soul Expedition will give me some answers.

I know I CAN write 50K on a project in 30 days; it’s just a case of getting back to doing it, and then continuing it past November 30, to get back to my normal rhythm between 1.5-2K/day on whatever is the “primary” project of the moment. Can I use Nano to fuel it, even with a new project? Or will it just become another obstacle?

I wouldn’t mentor this year; Let 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS take care of that. I’m promoting it all over the place.

Of course, the site’s not letting me sign in, so it might be moot anyway! Update: I managed to get in, under my old password (wrote down the new one, just in case). Updated the profile, set up the novel. Switched regions. Looked at the forums, which gave me a headache. I can still always change my mind.

Then I look at my intent for the week and wonder, is Nano a bad habit I have to break, or is the uneven writing rhythm of the past few months the bad habit I have to break?

I don’t have the answer. Yet.

Did some work on the Fearless Ink ad. I might do two ads. I create a tagline and am sourcing the right images, and I found an image and can create a good tagline.

Monday morning, Tessa got me up a little after 4:30, because she was lonely (Charlotte was thrilled I slept back in my own bed and she could snuggle all night).

Good first writing session, good early morning yoga.

Barbara Moore’s THE WIZARD’S TAROT arrived, and it is spectacular. Looking through the deck gave me chills in the right way. I plan to use this deck and her STEAMPUNK TAROT together on Samhain, when I do the year’s monthly action/energy reading. It takes both decks out of regular usage for the upcoming year, but I think I can do a lot of work with them in the coming year with them as that foundational reading.

(This year’s deck were the Pagan Tarot as the action deck and the Sacred Circle tarot as the energy deck. Pretty accurate throughout the year, although not necessarily in the way they were originally interpreted).

Did another pass through the Nano forums. Some very toxic topics like:

–What’s your day job?

–What’s your favorite hobby besides writing?

–Writers are your competition

So, yeah, not participating in those. Whenever “what’s your day job?” comes up on something like Twitter, I respond “writing” and then wait a day or two to block the toxic poster. Or just skip the question and block.

And other writers are NOT my competition. That’s something the industry promotes to keep writers “in their place” and too many of them underpaid, because traditional publishers only have a finite number of slots. But the reality is that you can’t have too many good writers, because humans have an insatiable need for stories.

I admit it; I was tempted to be an asshat and post a snide response. But then I didn’t. Because I’m a grownup, and I don’t have to give in to these impulses. Being snippy is not in the spirit of Nano, which is for everyone to try to find their way to a regular writing rhythm. I can avoid the toxic, the whiny, and the dilettantes, without being mean.

Wrote four more short almanac articles. Wrote up three script coverages. Used the rest of the slow cooker pork to make pork Lo Mein, which was good, but, for some reason, the sauce turned out spicier than I expected. I’ll have to cut back on the red pepper flakes next time I make that sauce. Spent a couple of hours on the prep for the Soul Expedition stuff, using the journal prompts.

Read four scripts last night, which I will cover today.

Tessa let me sleep this morning until just before 5, but she is now insisting that, when I wash her bowl in the morning, I put the food into a WARM bowl. Okay, Tess, whatever you say, you’re the boss.

Headed over to the laundromat first thing, got both loads done and was back by 7:30, which was pretty damn good.

I used my time at the laundromat to work on the outline for CAST IRON MURDER, the working title of this piece. I wrote about 5 pages (I already had jotted about 3 pages of notes). I have the characters (the ones who were in search of the plot a few days ago). I have the situation. I know the murderer. I know why the murderer did it. I even have a couple of red herrings, and some good situations as my characters work to solve the mystery. I need more clues and red herrings, and to tighten it all up, which might not happen until the second draft. I need enough in the outline so I can get the first draft down quickly for Nano, and then, starting next spring or so, massage it and hone it and tone it. I want it to be fairly short – around 70K.

I’m finding I have to do some research, like do persimmons grow in the Berkshires? (They do). And about the casinos in Springfield. I really hope I don’t need to do a research trip, because I loathe casinos.

I feel pretty good about the piece and the prep. What I hope is that the energy used to drive this piece in Nano will spill out to the other pieces on which I’m working, and have a ripple effect. So that I’d work on CAST IRON MURDER first thing in the morning (after the longhand session on the other project, so, well, second thing in the morning), and then, later in the day, work on the plays. Maybe I’ll leverage the Sundance Collaborative writing sessions for that.

Anyway, I need to start my day. I have to do a grocery run in the morning for things like oat milk, eggs, wine, and coffee, and then get back to the almanac articles and the script coverage. I’d hoped to get LOIs out today, but that might have to wait until tomorrow. Working on the ad, too, for Fearless Ink, and the blog for tomorrow’s Ink-Dipped Advice.

So it’s a busy day. Might put off the library and the post office until tomorrow.

Most of the students were away for the weekend, it being a long one, so it was nice and quiet. They’re really not bad, and when there’s noise, it’s for about 20 minutes or so. But there is a difference when they’re not around. I like both ways – the energy when they’re around, and the quiet when they’re not.

Hope you have a good week, friends. Peace.

If you want to grab a copy of the free 30 Tips for 30 Days, you can get the download links here. It’s not on Amazon; they blocked it because they don’t allow free downloads that don’t originate/aren’t exclusive to them. If you need a mobi file, contact me through the website, and we’ll set it up.

Tues. Oct. 5, 2021: That Retrograde Energy

image courtesy of Greg Rakozy via Unsplash.com

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Dark Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Chiron, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Cloudy and mild

It was definitely a Mercury Retrograde weekend, both positive and negative aspects.

The Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site has the Questions for 2022 posted.

If you’re doing Nano this year, I have a free download booklet, 30 Tips for 30 Days, that gives you ideas for prep, daily encouragement, and what to do post-nano.

Friday was pretty calm. Got some of the decorating done, but there’s plenty more to do, along with the unpacking that needs to happen this month. Fish & chips for dinner Friday night was fun.

Tessa got me up early on Saturday. I fed them all and tried to go back to bed, but they weren’t having it, so I moved to the couch, she quieted down, I dozed off, and overslept.

But I got back on track just fine. I mean, it’s a weekend, no schedule.

My mom read about a small town in upstate NY that sounded like a lot of fun – farmer’s market, consignment stores, used bookshops, bakery. Since it was supposed to be a fairly nice day, and warm, we decided to go. Most places over the line into NY, over the line in VT, and around here are open on the weekends, and take their weekends on Mondays, Tuesdays, and sometimes Wednesdays. Which makes sense, because they get the day trippers on the weekends. We don’t have to worry about timing crossings on the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges so we aren’t stuck for hours, so we can actually go out and about on weekends again.

We got in the car and followed the directions, which took us over on 2 through Williamstown, then down a bit on 7 until we hit 2 again. I’m still getting used to mountain driving, and a GMC pickup truck riding my tailpipes didn’t help. NY Rt. 7, and then Rt. 22 north took us through lots of farms and a couple of odd little towns to the little town my mom wanted to see.

Which was a bit run down. But hey, everyone’s doing the best they can, right? It was a half hour past time for the farmer’s market to open, but not a single stand had been set up. Couldn’t find any of the stores that advertised in the local paper, and, even if we had, there wasn’t any parking.

On top of that, no one was masked, and there were yard signs around stating, “Unmask and Live Free.”

Yeah, no, not spending money in an anti-mask, pro-Trump town.

We left.

We stopped at a consignment store called The Treasure Hut in Hoosick, NY. It reminded me a bit of my favorite Saybrook Recycled Furniture. It has lots of great pieces at a variety of prices.

I found a wonderful pendulum clock (like a mini grandfather clock) by a silversmith named Wallace. It was only $20, so I grabbed it. I saw a couple of pieces I really liked, including a pale blue, small dresser that would look good in the sewing room, but decided not to buy it just yet.

Looking at the road signs and maps, it made more sense to go back through Bennington than retrace our steps. We went to Bennington, and stopped at Aldi’s, which has been recommended to us, but we’d never visited. Got a few things, but not really impressed.

Drove back home. Much faster drive this way, and also better roads.

We ate the pizza we’d bought at Aldi’s and talked about the dresser, then got back into the car, drove back to the Treasure Hut (via Bennington this time, much shorter) and bought the dresser and a small bookcase. They fit into the VW perfectly.

Drove home, wrestled the pieces out of the car. My lovely downstairs neighbor helped carry the dresser up the stairs. The bookcase was light enough for me to handle by myself.

The dresser fits perfectly next to the vanity table that I’ve repurposed into a sewing table. The pieces look like they were designed together.

The bookcase is ½” too big to fit on top of the dresser, so I put it in the living room, behind one of the wingback chairs, and am still using it for craft supplies and ribbons.

Tufts sent my mom a bill for her insurance premium, even though they dropped her. They can take that bill and shove it right up their collective asses.

Started reading the next book for review. Not thrilled with it. Switched and read the next Wonky Inn book instead, which was fun.

The Goddess Provisions box arrived, early. It had a tarot deck included. It’s not a deck I would have chosen for myself, but I like its gentle energy. I look forward to working with it.

I had tried to get information on a sister Women’s March around here, and couldn’t find anything to which I could get to, was uncomfortable with being around that many people in a pandemic when I just spent a year fighting cancer, and angry that no one is funding transportation for people who want to attend these marches, but can’t get there on their own. If the wife of a Supreme Court justice can fund buses to bring insurrectionists to DC to overthrow the government, pro-choice organizations can damn well fund buses to protect Roe. The people most affected by this are the ones who don’t have the resources to get there on their own.

Tessa was at it again on Sunday morning, way too early. Not happy about it.

Changed all the beds (usually a Saturday chore, but we did it on Sunday). Charlotte got shut in the linen cupboard, which could have had tragic results. But Willa was running around, agitated, going in and out of the laundry room, and when I realized I couldn’t find Charlotte, I opened the door, and there she was. She was only in there a few minutes, but still. I need to be more careful. I thought she was asleep on my bed. I should have checked all the shelves before closing the cupboard.

This is why we always do a kitty headcount before we leave the house.

Chocolate chip brioche for breakfast. It was really good, but store-bought, so I guess I’m learning how to make brioche.

Headed to Lenox. Made a stop at Yankee Candle, to take advantage of their sale and the coupons they sent. Got some great stuff, and, except for bayberry candles for the holidays, I think I’m set until spring.

Then headed down to Chocolate Springs Café, where a local chocolatier creates all kinds of stuff. Bought a few things and ordered hot chocolate to go. All delicious. We will stop there when we are in that area.

On the way back, stopped at The Cook’s Resource, and I was in heaven. I bought a couple of things (including a fish spatula), and signed up for the rewards program. I might start slowly replacing our ancient pans with some top-of-the-line ones.

We were comfortable with the shopping, because masks were required everywhere. And, people were respectful about distancing (not that anything was crowded).

Stopped at a Chinese takeout in Williamstown. It was really good, and we’ll definitely get takeout from them again.

There was a parade down Main Street, which we circumnavigated. While it would have been nice to watch the parade, we’re still not people-ing in a pandemic.

Got everything upstairs, ate. The computer was being cranky.

And then. . .turns out the floats and a lot of the marchers from the parade came down our little street after finishing the parade route. We could sit on the front porch and see them. It was delightful. Floats and marching band and people in costume. So much fun. We got to enjoy the parade without being at risk.

Got the computer going again.

Read four scripts and wrote up a rush coverage on one. Finished reading the book for review, which got better as it continued, but I don’t know how many people will stay with it until it does so.

Monday morning, Tessa started at 3:20 AM. I refused to feed them that early, but I took the feather bed and moved to the couch. She settled down, and I fell asleep again, and overslept.

But I got going, slowly. Day before dark moon is always my lowest energy day of the month.

They fixed the heat in the morning, which was nice. I hadn’t expected it until the end of the week. Takes the damp and the chill out.

Wrote up script coverage, caught up on email, got some LOIs out. Got ahead on some blog posts. Spent a couple of hours scheduling posts for 30 Tips for 30 Days, so that people can find out about it/access it up through the first week of Nano.

Read four scripts.

FB/Instagram/WhatsApp being down didn’t affect me. We lived perfectly well before they were invented. Before people carry on about how WhatsApp is the only way most people have to communicate, my response is, “What the fuck did you think would happen if you let your life be dictated by an app?” People have tried to bully me into using WhatsApp and I DON’T WANT TO. Therefore, I don’t.

Charlotte and Tessa woke up at 2 AM this morning. First, I kicked Charlotte out of the bedroom and brought Tessa in. She settled on the bed, and we were all fine, until Charlotte started banging on the door. Then, Tessa found a ball with a bell in it. Anyone who has a cat knows what a cat finding a toy with a bell in it during the night means. Yup. Suddenly, all she wanted to do was play with the toy with the bell. Kicked her out of the room.

She started howling.

I grabbed the featherbed and settled on the guest bed in the sewing room. Charlotte joined me, and Tessa could see me from the couch, so we settled down and I dozed off again, until the alarm went off at 5, and Tessa started howling for breakfast.

Fed everybody, got the laundry sorted out, and headed to the laundromat. Got three loads of sheets, towels, and dishtowels done in just over an hour.

Today, we have to go to Williamstown and shut down our TD Bank account (finally). I need to pay some bills; we need to get our library cards off the temporary “probation” and into permanent cards; I need to go to the grocery stores. On the way back, we’ll pick up takeout from the Korean restaurant.

I have a lot of script coverage to write up, three more scripts to read, a book review to write, and short articles on which to work.

Later tonight, we have Knowledge Unicorns.

Guess I better get going, huh? Somewhere in there, I have to do more unpacking, especially when it comes to putting fabric in the new dresser.

Have a good one.

Wed. Nov. 14, 2018: Dancing in the Kitchen & Creative Synchronicity

Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for the latest on why word choice matters.

Heads up: Venus goes direct on Friday WHILE Mercury turns retrograde. In other words, that’ll be one messed up day. And then I’ll have to spend the next three weeks keeping my mouth shut!

30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS is up as a free download (how’s that for contradictory language?) here. Although originally geared to National Novel Writing Month, you can decide any day is “Day 1” and go for it. I’m committed to keeping it free, since Nano is free, and that was the catalyst for it.

I got the center front yard raked on Monday afternoon, before the storm started. Tuesday was nasty; I’m hoping to get all those bags of leaves (nearly 800 gallons’ worth) to the dump (excuse me, transfer station) either today or tomorrow. And then get some more raking in before Friday’s storm hits.

Steady work on DAVY JONES DHARMA, although slower than I’d like or need. I’m not sure how to step it up. I need to push harder, but right now, the tank on that project is pretty low. Truly, I’m trying to make like a hockey player and dig deeper, but I’m struggling!

Drafted about half of a short story, inspired by a conversation I had over Veteran’s Day weekend and some of my own experiences back when I did a lot of work with Vietnam vets. There’s a lot of pain in the story, but it’s in subtext, not text. That means each word has to be chosen even more carefully than in a typical short story. There’s also a twist in the last couple of lines that I hope I don’t foreshadow too directly, but I want readers to be hit with it, then go back and not feel cheated. It’s a good craft stretch for me.

Tuesday was a day onsite with a client, and today will be the same.

Looks like the Democrats picked up another Senate seat in Arizona. Maybe the gap in the Senate will be closer than predicted, even with Heitkamp and McCaskill losing.

Meanwhile, the Narcissistic Sociopath continues to be a corrupt embarrassment to the office and the country.

And California continues to burn.

Took a look at two projects I’d worked on a few years back and put aside. They’ve got a good foundation, great characters. I need to think about when I can get them back into the writing queue. They have temporary end points, so they wouldn’t drain creative energy. But I really like what I’m trying to say in them.

While doing some research for one of my projects, the song from 1984, “Obsession” by Animatron, started running through my head. I found the video and watched it — I don’t remember ever seeing it. But then, I don’t remember plenty of things from the 80s. I do remember having a lot of fun to that song and others when I lived on the West coast during that time. I’m grateful it was before the time when going out to blow off steam meant it showed up on social media. In the context of the time, I wasn’t particularly wild, but when I tell stories from those days, people around here seem to think I was. I was passionate and determined, and seized life for everything it had. I have no regrets.

Later that night, I put on the iPod and started dancing around the kitchen, just blowing off some steam. Hadn’t done that in awhile. Tessa, the older cat, looked at me, rolled her eyes (as only a feline can), and stalked out. Lucy, the newer rescue, was terrified and ran away. It was pretty funny.

I want to weave more dancing into some of my projects. I haven’t had the chance to go out dancing much here. Of course, when I worked on Broadway, we made our own dance parties regularly. Anywhere we went had potential to turn into a dance party.

In one of those weird creative synchronicity things, when I checked my Twitter feed the next morning, one of my Twitter pals had posted a video of him dancing in his kitchen. It was wonderful! Made me smile and reminded me that happiness is contagious.

He’s invited his followers to shoot videos dancing in their kitchens and will edit it together. Since I don’t do on-camera stuff, I won’t shoot one, but I’ll sure as hell enjoy watching what he compiles. He’s wildly creative, and I’m sure it will be a blast.

Back to the page.

Published in: on November 14, 2018 at 6:03 am  Comments Off on Wed. Nov. 14, 2018: Dancing in the Kitchen & Creative Synchronicity  
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Wed. Nov. 7, 2018: Post-Election

Wednesday, November 7, 2018
New Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Sunny and mild

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice to read about the poorly-organized event I worked with one of my clients last week.

Yesterday was a long damn day. I worked with my client, then worked on getting the 30 Tips for 30 Days book uploaded and out — only the channels aren’t accepting it, even though it’s free. I might just convert it to PDF and keep it perpetually on my own sites. There’s all this demand for free content, and now that I have something I’m willing to offer for free, I’m getting pushback.

It also doesn’t bode well for switching over the Topic Workbooks from their current platform to the new one.

I have some good news — a Boston-based radio company is going to produce my radio drama about Kate Warne in the spring! It seems they’d tried to contact me a few weeks ago, only all the emails showed up in a lump yesterday. I sent them the full script, and we’ll go from there. As soon as I have all the details and am allowed to share them, I will. That was a bright spot yesterday.

Didn’t get much work done on either PREVENTATIVE MEASURES or DAVY JONES DHARMA. Although I did some plotting on PREVENTATIVE MEASURES. There are a few characters who will complicate my two protagonists’ journey to each other.

Most of the day and night was spent worrying about the election. I am disappointed in the results. I think there are some great new faces in the House — and even in the Senate. But how anyone could pick Ted Cruz over Beto O’Rourke shows the level of racism and stupidity there, and, as usual Florida is an embarrassment. And what happened in Georgia is criminal. But NONE of the races, in an enlightened society, should have even been close. It should have been a clean sweep throughout Congress. “Voter suppression” — which needs to be dealt with and prosecuted — isn’t enough of an excuse. The racism is far too ingrained in this country, and that has to change.

It’s about time we had some Native Americans in Congress, and I’m glad they’re women. I’m proud of New York; I’m mostly proud of MA. But it wasn’t enough.

Now that the Dems have the House back, they better take decisive action, instead of continuing to let the Repubs do whatever they want. We will not make progress being civil.

And the Repubs can still cause a lot of damage between now and January.

Frankly, I think the Dems should be quiet until they’re sworn in. Don’t signal the plans. Just state that they plan to take action. Get sworn in, and then move.

The Boston radio station, WBZ, which is supposed to be a CBS affiliate, was so right-wing partisan biased that I turned it off by nine in the morning and didn’t listen again. They’ve been more and more biased since we moved here; at this point, they don’t even pretend to have objective coverage. CBS should cut ties with them.

I’d suggest boycotting the advertisers, but the advertisers are so sleazy to begin with, there’s no one with whom I’d do business.

Didn’t sleep well; am tired and cranky this morning. Have to work with a client, then drop some stuff off at the library. Tomorrow, I will post late, because I have an early morning coffee meeting.

I need to turn my attention to my own work for the rest of the week, take a break from politics, and then get back into the fray.

But it makes the projects I’m developing in Women Write Change more relevant than ever.

So I return to the page.

Published in: on November 7, 2018 at 10:13 am  Comments Off on Wed. Nov. 7, 2018: Post-Election  
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Fri. Nov. 2, 2018: Survival and the Beginning of Women Write Change, My Alt-Nano

Relics 4

Friday, November 2, 2018
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Rainy and mild

Busy week.

RELICS & REQUIEM is out; if you haven’t yet bought a copy, I hope you do! As I’ve said a million times, I’m very fond of Amanda and Phineas.

There’s an article about cabinets of curiosities that’s only available in the book, and the first chapter of the fourth book, GRAVE REACH, which comes out next October. That book is Lesley and Sam’s.

Monday was caught up with my mom’s health issues. Tuesday, I was back onsite with a client, and also got some decent work on DAVY JONES DHARMA. Plus, doing some interaction on the Women Write Change forum.

I also got an idea for a new novel — something I don’t need right now. But the characters are insistent, and it was sparked by something I experienced this week. I’ve been playing with it, in and around other projects. I love my two protagonists. It deals with both gun violence and the opiod crisis, which means it could fit as something that can be developed in the Women Write Change project. Along with the other stuff I’m doing there. I just feel like I need to blow off some steam with this project.

Wednesday was a crazy-making day, having to run around and do errands at 7 AM, meet my client early to load up the vehicle for Thursday’s event, work onsite, and then get home and finish the prep for the holiday.

I picked up extra candy, and I’m glad I did, because we had more kids this year than we’ve ever had — around 30. We had two little ones early on, and I was worried they would be the only ones who showed up. But the rest came in large groups, later in the evening, much later than usual. There were some teenagers, and they seemed worried that they’d get flack for being out. But they had creative costumes and were interesting people, so I chatted with them for a bit and sent them on their way. There was also a flatbed truck, filled with about a dozen kids from toddler to about eight. The truck parked at the top of the street, and the kids went from house to house, then climbed back in and sang their way to the next street. It was adorable. And what a great idea!

I have to say, the fathers stepped up this year. I’m guessing the moms stayed home to hand out candy and the dads went out with the kids. Made me wish I’d prepped a pot of coffee or batch of hot chocolate in take-out cups for them.

Anyway, it was very cute.

And it turns out Lucy, our newish rescue cat, loves trick-or-treaters and they loved her! She wasn’t scared at all. She wanted to meet everyone. Tessa, my black cat, kept herding her away from the door.

Now that Lucy’s not afraid all the time, she’s starting to understand more and explore her freedoms. And she’s starting to understand us more when we talk to her. She and Tessa aren’t snuggling up together yet, but they’d rather be near each other than apart.

Samhain ritual was good. I kept it simple this year, and had done part of it earlier in the afternoon, and then the rest of it late at night. The next few nights are ceremonies for the dead.

Thursday was a long day. The cats got me up early. We had our morning routine, I remembered to put on the new registration sticker on the car and the new insurance cards in the glove compartment.

Then, I wrote. I worked on a new edition of 30 Tips for 30 Days, which I think I will release as a permanently free book via Draft2Digital. I need a new cover and maybe some graphics, but it could be a good tool. Since Nano is free, I wouldn’t feel right charging for anything that talked about Nano.

Thursday afternoon, I met my client, and we set up for the big event. I have to say, it was one of the worst organized events I have ever been involved with. That was not on my client – we were participating vendors. It was on the organizers.

Basically, it was set up like a trailer park yard sale. If I’d been a ticket buyer, I would have demanded my money back.

As a vendor, we were promised a designated space. Even though we bought a middle tiered slot, we were put in the back corner, facing away from the bulk of the events. We took out the ugly accoutrements they had and put up our own displays. So at least we looked good.

Our entry fee was supposed to include dinner. When I asked about when we were supposed to eat, I was told, “oh, just go to the food table whenever and bring it back to your booth.”

First of all, we can’t eat in the booth. Around clothes. Second, even if there wasn’t danger to the clothes, it’s tacky and unprofessional to be chowing down in front of customers.

So we wound up not eating.

Ticket holders were annoyed because it was advertised as serving drinks as part of the ticket (nothing about cash bar). Not only was the bar cash, but it was, literally, cash only. No cards.

The carpeting in the “ballroom” was old and dirty and disgusting. They’d set up a speaker next to us and we couldn’t hear our customers, and they couldn’t hear us. When we asked them to turn it down, they turned it up.

We weren’t asked to participate in the “fashion” show – my client is a clothing designer, how is that appropriate? They had a few box stores participating. Although, when you saw how the models clomped around and didn’t even bother to stand straight, maybe it was a blessing in disguise.

The organizers were passive aggressive. Everyone was supposed to do a raffle. Every time, in the prep weeks, I’d asked about the raffle, I was told something different. When I went to have the winner announced over the speaker system, the organizers told me that wouldn’t happen and we had to “figure out how to get people back to your booth and do it there.” WTF?

I hunted down the DJ myself and asked nicely. He was lovely, and, of course, agreed to do it.

Fortunately, we loaded out in about ten minutes as soon as it was done.

Nightmare.

Not worth our time.

Anything this particular “media group” runs around here is trash.

Not only will I not work another of these, I will advise my clients not to waste their money participating.

Home, exhausted.

Up late this morning, which means I’m behind on everything.

I’m meeting a new contact for coffee, which should be fun. I need the break. Then some more running around in the afternoon, and then writing and working on a couple of things for Women Write Change.
Took down the exterior decorations before the heavy rain started. It will take most of the weekend to put away the interior decorations and get the curtains switched out from spiderwebs to the heavy winter curtains.

Onward.

 

Published in: on November 2, 2018 at 8:56 am  Comments Off on Fri. Nov. 2, 2018: Survival and the Beginning of Women Write Change, My Alt-Nano  
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Fri. Nov. 3,2017: Settling into New Schedules

Savasana at Sea Cover Choice 1

Savasana at Sea available for advance purchase.

Friday, November 3, 2017
First Day of Full Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Foggy and mild

I managed to get 1K written on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN yesterday morning.

I also updated 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS, the Nano cheerleading workbook. I tried to upload it to the Devon Ellington site, but Microsoft won’t let it then download when someone tries to click on it, calling it a “double escape” and citing “security” issues. Which is, of course, complete and utter crap. So it’s available on 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS.3rdEd. It is free — I hope it helps encourage those who are doing Nano.

Got some other work done as well, and then had yoga, which was bliss. I hadn’t realized how tight everything had gotten over these past two weeks. I also signed up for a crystal sound bowl meditation class on November 12 with the same teacher.

Took down the Samhain decorations, which included switching out the curtains from the black lace spiderweb curtains to the winter velour curtains.

My poor mother has another week of complicated dressing changes to go through before she gets her stitches out.

Somehow, I managed to injure my foot — blood everywhere, but I can’t find a cut. However, the toe in question is badly bruised and it’s difficult to put weight on it. Fun and games all around.

Today, I have work to do early on at one site, then three hours on site with a client, then possibly back to the first site.

My article on “Conference Follow-Up” is live at Authors Publish. I also have to prepare the clip and send it to those who allowed me to quote them in the article.

I have more client work to do this afternoon, plus finish a book for review (I want to get it out tomorrow). I have to set a couple of posts up on various blogs, and type up some material for a client.

In addition, I have to do one more pass on SAVASANA and get some other writing of my own done.

There’s a full moon meditation up on Cerridwen’s Cottage in honor of the full moon, and tomorrow, a new post will go up on Kemmyrk, that ties in.

Tomorrow, I’m going to Plymouth to support one of my clients who has a speaking engagement, and I also have to get in a lot of writing. If the weather cooperates, some yard work has to happen, too.
Never a dull moment, but that’s the way I like it.

Don’t forget! SAVASANA AT SEA is available for pre-release orders and PLAYING THE ANGLES is available for purchase.

Have a great weekend. I won’t be able to post on Monday — a post will go live on Tuesday, talking about the weekend and Monday.

Playing the Angles available now.

Playing The Angles Cover Sm

Published in: on November 3, 2017 at 9:00 am  Comments Off on Fri. Nov. 3,2017: Settling into New Schedules  
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Thurs. Nov. 2, 2017: Work Rhythm & Tips for Nano

Thursday, November 2, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and mild

30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS – a cheerleading workbook for Nano. Download 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS.3rdEd.

Tuesday was an intense day. Good, but intense. Helped me focus on certain things I want to accomplish on multiple levels in the coming year.

We only had two trick or treaters! But they were adorable. Most people on our street no longer decorate because we get so few, but I decorate for all of us, not just the trick or treaters.

I have a lot to clean up, though, from Monday’s storm. Some of it looked good for the holiday, but now it has to be cleaned up and the yard put to bed.

Yesterday, I was with a client for the bulk of the day. Got quite a bit done. Wiped out by the time I got home, though.

I’ve managed to write close to 1K in the mornings before I go to the client site, though, and this morning I wrote closer to 2K. Both on THE MARRIAGE GARDEN. I’ve finished Willow’s first winter section and started on Doug’s.

I’m working on a couple of articles, and on shaping some material for another client. I’ve got another pass to do on SAVASANA AT SEA — it releases on November 15, I’m getting excited. I also have another book to read in the next couple of days to review, and edits on a review to turn around. Plus, I need to get the edits turned around for TRACKING MEDUSA.

Yesterday, the To-Do List for November was posted on the GDR site. Today, there are questions to think about for 2018.

For those of you doing Nano, I have the 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS cheerleading booklet available as a free download 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS.3rdEd I hope it helps you, and I hope you have a wonderful Nano! I tried to offer it through the website, but Microsoft claims it’s a “double escape” and won’t allow access via the website, citing “security.” Because Microsoft sucks.

 

Published in: on November 2, 2017 at 9:46 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Nov. 2, 2017: Work Rhythm & Tips for Nano  
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Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 10: Daily Pace

“Comfortable” for me, is a steady pace of about 1500 words a day.

There are many days I struggle with it; there are days I flow far past it. But my daily quota must be hit in order for the day to be a “success.”

In order to achieve my goal during this month, I have to push myself. That’s good, because it makes you stretch and grow. It’s bad, because too many days in a row past the comfort zone can wear you out.

In daily life, beyond this month, find out what you feel is a comfortable pace, and set that as your goal every day. Whether it’s pages or word count, find your personal flow. Make that your commitment to yourself — you are going to write X pages per day. And do it. If the writing is going well, keep going. If it’s a struggle, work your way through the struggle and don’t give up until you reach the goal.

Don’t set “hours”. Although “stolen time” is often necessary in our overwhelmed lives, if you say, “I’ll write for three hours today”, you may spend two hours and 55 minutes of that time staring at a blank screen and only write three words. Set a word count or a page count. If you need to “steal time” to meet it, do so. But words and page goals will serve you better than time goals.

Come Write In! Tuesdays 11-1, Thursdays 2-4, Marstons Mills Public Library, 2160 Main St., Marstons Mills, MA

Published in: on November 10, 2015 at 5:00 am  Comments (2)  
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Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 9: Go With the Flow of Your Novel

So, we’re into week 2 now.

Hopefully, you’ve started trusting your characters, and you can keep self-doubt at bay. It’s a case of just sit down and do as many words as you can each day. Keep moving forward.

This is the point where, in one instance, my book switched genres.

Right now, I have to let the book be what it is. I have to trust in it, and in my subconscious. Yes, ultimately, we are the god in the process – we are the creative beings who manipulate and make the decisions in our fictional worlds. But when we consciously try to control too much, we often shoot ourselves in the foot (or in our collective feet).

Letting go, going with the flow, trusting the characters isn’t about losing creative control – it’s about getting in touch with the part of your subconscious that knows what will work better than you do.

So trust it.

Come Write In! Tuesdays 11-1, Thursdays 2-4, Marstons Mills Public Library, 2160 Main St., Marstons Mills, MA

Published in: on November 9, 2015 at 5:00 am  Comments Off on Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 9: Go With the Flow of Your Novel  
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Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 8: First Week/Inspiration for the Weary

This is the one-week point. You’ve survived an entire week! Woo-hoo! Congratulations! Have I told you recently how proud I am of you? I am – very, very proud.

The second week is difficult because that’s when you tend to hit a wall. The fresh bloom of love sometimes passes in the project, and it becomes hard work. And sometimes that’s what writing is – work. You push through the tough parts until you reach another place where it flows and you get that inky high again.

Here are some of my favorite books that I read over and over again when I start having trouble putting words on the page. I don’t use any of them as the be-all and end-all, but I use bits and pieces to help fuel me:

MAKING A LITERARY LIFE by Carolyn See
ESCAPING INTO THE OPEN by Elizabeth Berg
SOMETIMES THE MAGIC WORKS by Terry Brooks
WRITE AWAY by Elizabeth George (my process is soooo different, but she has some good ideas)
THE RIGHT TO WRITE by Julia Cameron (the only one of her books I like)
THUNDER AND LIGHTNING by Natalie Goldberg (the best of her writing books, in my opinion)
Any of the Paris Review interviews edited by George Plimpton

There are plenty of other writing books worth reading, but these are the ones I go back to, time and time again, when I get tired.

Come Write In! Tuesdays 11-1, Thursdays 2-4, Marstons Mills Public Library, 2160 Main St., Marstons Mills, MA

Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 7: Competition

The only person you’re in competition with is yourself.

Publishers, agents, and editors like to pit us against each other, but, in reality, we’re all in this together. Some of us will go farther because we bothered to learn the protocols and the grammar and the business side of it. Some of us will find mentors; some of us will work hard and combine talent AND business acumen; some of us will get a lucky break AND make the most of it. But all of us are in competition with ourselves to write the best book possible in our own vision.

Sometimes that’s difficult to remember when you look around and see higher word counts from other writers on blogs or websites or Facebook or Twitter or in sprints.

Good for them.

I like to get a good daily word count in there early because I’m well aware that, at any point, I could hit a wall.

And then I’ll have to figure out how to:
Climb over it
Burrow under it
Plow through it
Go around it
Blow it up

One of the most positive aspects you can take away from this experience, is that, for one month, you had enough self-respect for your writing to sit down every day and do something.

If you don’t respect your own writing time and writing, why would anyone else respect it either? It starts with you.

If you can take that beyond this month, you’ll have won, no matter what your final word count.

Come Write In! Tuesdays 11-1, Thursdays 2-4, Marstons Mills Public Library, 2160 Main St., Marstons Mills, MA

Published in: on November 7, 2015 at 5:00 am  Comments Off on Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 7: Competition  
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Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 6: Speed

Should you write fast?

1000 words per day is not fast. It’s steady. Some days you’ll do more; some days you’ll fight to reach your goal. But 1000 words per day is a steady, sane pace that will serve you well in most situations. If you fall behind and you have a hard deadline (such as a contract), you will have to compress your process and write faster. If you don’t have a hard deadline, you can slow down, but if you slow too far down, you run into the risk of stopping the daily writing and not finishing.

Once you get it down on paper, you can rearrange it and make it pretty. It’s good to sometimes push yourself. Challenge yourself. Go beyond your self-imposed limits. And just do it.

Thousands of people ran the New York City marathon. This is a marathon of words.

But doubt definitely lingers, and, at least once a day, I think to myself, “whatever am I going to do with this big fat mess?”

Shape something out of it, once all those words are vomited out.

There never will BE time. You MAKE it.

Come Write In! Tuesdays 11-1, Thursdays 2-4, Marstons Mills Public Library, 2160 Main St., Marstons Mills, MA

Published in: on November 6, 2015 at 5:00 am  Comments Off on Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 6: Speed  
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