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

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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.

 

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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Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 5: Keep Ahead of the Pace

I got some scribbling done in the notebook, and because I got ahead of myself this week, I could ease up today and not worry about a slower pace due to physical and mental fatigue.

So, whenever you have a chance to do a few pages or even more words than your daily goal, grasp it and build yourself a cushion for the days when life gets in the way.

My personal goal one year was to hit 12,500 words by today, and I passed it. I’m going to push hard again on as many days as possible this week, with a hope to hit 25,000 words by the 10th, the way I did on that particular year. Again, this is more than necessary, but it allows me to bank words. As long as you keep your minimum daily quota, you’re fine. If you’re having a good day, keep going as long as you can; if you’re having a bad day, push yourself to make the minimum.

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

Published in: on November 5, 2015 at 5:00 am  Comments Off on Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 5: Keep Ahead of the Pace  
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Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 4: Discovery

The first draft is always a discovery of the creative process for me – and sometimes it has nothing to do with the current manuscript!

Notice techniques this month, both that work and don’t work for you, and see how you can apply them to your other writing.

One of the great things about the first draft is how much you learn about your characters, your plot, your setting, yourself. Even if you have a very detailed outline, discoveries will crop up. It’s part of the joy of the first draft process.

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

Published in: on November 4, 2015 at 5:00 am  Comments (1)  
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Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days: Day 3: Distractions

Click, click, click go the typewriter keys. Scratch, scratch, scratch goes the pen on the paper, when I’m writing away from my desk.

Somehow, we move forward.

Now, my big challenge is not to get distracted by interesting secondary characters. I like large, ensemble casts. But some pieces need to keep a tight focus. Sometimes, it doesn’t think it will work if I sprawl and then cut back.

And today’s biggest challenge was to keep the internal editor from banging down the door. Every few sentences, I kept thinking, “I’m going to have to change this.” But I kept going, because it’s the polish that the changes will add, not the basic plot and character development.

When the internal editor starts annoying me, I send her on vacation to Tahiti for the month, promising we’ll do good work together when she returns in a few months. If she bothers me during the month, I say, “Aren’t you supposed to be on a beach in Tahiti? See you later!”

Having that conversation with that other part of my psyche helps me keep the focus where it needs to be for these thirty days – on the writing.

If you get a “great idea” for something else – take a moment, jot it down, but get back to what you’re working on NOW. Don’t keep getting distracted by the shiny. Stay focused. Very often “great ideas” are only other forms of self-sabotage and procrastination. If they are truly “great”, they will still be there when you’re done with this draft.

Nano 30 Tips for 30 Days Day 2: Recover and Keep Going

Have you recovered from your first day?

I want to keep going, past that first chapter. When it goes well, I want to go with the flow, and “write myself out”. However, I don’t want burn out, so I make myself stop. Usually the most I’ll allow myself in a single day is 5K on one project (unless I’m behind on a deadline).

My goal is to do one chapter per day. It takes me between an hour and a half and two hours to do the pages for the day, so I’m factoring that in to my daily life.

I try to get a bit ahead in the early days to give myself some breathing room.

The point of a first draft is to keep moving forward. Track changes – either in your manuscript in a different color or in notes. That way, you don’t lose ideas, but you keep moving forward.

I catch myself in some of my usual bad first draft habits. I overuse the word “just”. I’m aware of it, but I’m not going to stress about it until the next draft, when out comes the Red Machete. If it’s important to a particular character’s speech pattern, I’ll leave it. Otherwise . . .out it goes. One year, I caught myself using the word “entice” a bit too much – time to get out the thesaurus!

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

Published in: on November 2, 2015 at 5:00 am  Comments (1)  
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Thurs. Oct. 8, 2015: Come Write In, 30 Tips, and Other Writing Misc.

Thursday, October 08, 2015
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cool

I am looking forward to Mercury going direct tomorrow!

So, the library is an official Come Write In! Center for Nano, which I think will be great fun. We will have drop-in writing hours on Tuesdays from 11-1 and Thursdays from 2-4 for the month. There are other Cape Cod Write-ins and events throughout the month – if you’ve signed up for Nano, go to the Cape Cod Region Forum, and you’ll find the information.

Also, I’m going to revive my “30 Tips for 30 Days” for Nano, and schedule one writing tip per day for the duration. It will be set apart from the daily blog post and clearly marked as a 30 Tips for 30 Days post. Basically, they’re cheerleading posts to help you get through the month.

I won’t be “doing” Nano per say, as in starting a new book on November 1 and writing it through November 30, because of my current deadlines and where I am with current projects. I don’t want to lose the current momentum on any of them.

However, I will be likely “writing along with” Nano, on my projects in process, to ride the enormous current of creative energy that Nano generates.

I’m not mentoring individuals this year, either – the 30 Tips posts will be used for that, but too often, the Mentees flake, and I don’t have time to waste on people who can’t commit to writing for one whole month every day. Harsh, blunt, true. My own work must come first.

Yesterday was a good, busy day. I was pretty tired when I came home. Watched KILL THE MESSENGER, which is a good film, although I would have restructured the opening a bit. Also started watching the first season of SCORPION, which I liked better than I expected.

Woke up extra early this morning, got in some decent writing on the contemporary piece. Yesterday and today I’ve been working on a couple of comic scenes that revolve around Hollywood pitch meetings, so revisiting those experiences and dramatizing them has been fun.

I have some proposal packages to work on this weekend, a house inspection to prepare for on Tuesday, and, of course, going through my uncle’s photos and documents.

Enjoy!

Devon

Published in: on October 8, 2015 at 8:41 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Oct. 8, 2015: Come Write In, 30 Tips, and Other Writing Misc.  
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