Thurs. Oct. 15, 2020: Die For Your Employer Day 148 — Peace By Catnip Banana

catnip banana photo by author

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Dark Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mercury, Mars Retrograde

Cloudy and pleasant

We have achieved peace by catnip banana.

Chewy got the package here by yesterday (I wasn’t expecting it until today). I unpacked it, and put the box itself in quarantine, and now every cat has her own banana. They drag them around, grab and kick, roll on them. And don’t fuss at each other.

If only all peace accords were that simple!

There’s a short post up on Gratitude and Growth about the garden.

Yesterday was fine. Got some writing done, headed off to work onsite at a client’s. I was there on my own for the first few hours and got a lot done. The other colleagues filtered in and we only overlapped for about an hour, with everyone following protocols, so it was fine. People were in good spirits,

I was still glad to get out of there, and do the curbside drop-off/pickup at the library and get home. Found the box from Chewy, did the full decontamination process, slid into Remote Chat a few minutes late.

The chat was fun, as always.

I took my afternoon time with Tessa – I spend some time upstairs to play with her and to rest on the acupressure mat every afternoon. Since I’m up between 4 & 5 AM every day, by early-midafternoon, I need a real break.

I’m trying to add in some Yoga Nidra to my practice. One hour of Yoga Nidra is supposedly as restorative as four hours of sleep. With my sleep patterns so disrupted, I want to try it.

I also came up with titles 3 & 4 for the Nautical Namaste Mysteries, which will be useful once Book 2 is rewritten properly and off.

Watched Keith Olbermann’s daily commentary, as always. He’s right on point.

Attended a Zoom session from the O’Neill Center, part of their Plays to Progress series. Tonight’s focused on HOW WE GOT ON, by Idris Goodwin. Paige Hernandez, Malik Work, and Brian Quijada were also on the panel, and actors (Deona Bouye, Holden Harris, Jamal Covin, and Miranda Holliday) read a scene from the play.

Something Goodwin said really resonated – that he will never write anything with that purity again (it was his first play). Yes, he’s learned a lot about the craft and structure and all that, but that first play had a purity about it. Patrese McClain, the moderator, pointed out that one can learn the rules and then how to break them to make the work sing and create new forms (something I deeply believe). But he’s also right – that passion and place in the soul where the first play comes from can never be replicated.

The conversation about inclusion and support for artists was very important, collaboration, and lifting up each other’s work, especially in these times. Breaking down structures that don’t work and rebuilding something better.

As someone who has been screaming that we were headed down a dark path since Reagan, told I was being ridiculous, and now, here we are, it was affirming that there are people and artists who are willing to work for change through art.

Goodwin talked about the plays he’s written since March, how they’re different, how they’re using what we’re going through to make art that not only gets us through it, but helps make the world a better place beyond it.

What a contrast to the (mostly white) novelists, especially in cozy mystery and contemporary romance, who are ignoring it. The whole “I don’t do politics” thing. The deep-rooted privilege of it bothers me.

Anyway, it was a terrific evening and gave me hope.

Up early this morning – I actually slept through the night, imagine that. Hope allows room for rest.

Getting some writing done. Then I have the online meditation session with Concord Library (it’s such a great group). After that, a quick run to Trader Joe’s and maybe Target to replenish supplies.

Once I decontaminate from that, I have to pull up the different drafts of the play and radio play I’m using in my article and tackle the rest of the piece, working through the confusion between different drafts. I need to get this article finished, polished, and out the door.

Then, I need to work on the pitches for the other editor. I’d like to get them out later today or early tomorrow. One of my original ideas is morphing, so I have to decide if I want to pitch it as two articles, or drop the first idea and form the second better.

I need to check a few details on the Susanna Centlivre notes. I’ll be ready to start writing the play this weekend.

Plus, get back to work on the novel revisions.

So goes the writer’s life.

Have a good one, friends.

Wed. Oct. 7, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 140 — Creativity & Productivity (Finally)

image courtesy of Colin Behrens via pixabay.com

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Waning Moon

Neptune, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

It’s nice to have only three retrogrades for a few days, even though there’s a difficult square today.

I have a post up on Ink-Dipped Advice about reshaping one’s career.

Yesterday felt more like a productive, typical day, and that was nice.

To Trader Joe’s early for the Big Grocery Shop. And yes, it was a big one. I still forgot a few things. I have to decide if I want to risk going back later this week, or substitute, or wait until more things run out. They sold through their fresh figs, which was a shame; I’d forgotten them in the last Big Shop, and hoped to get some this time.

Decontaminated everything and put it away, then down to the library for curbside pickup. People coming in are getting lax about mask wearing. I won’t go near the table unless no one is there, or the people hovering are wearing masks.

Came home, decontaminated myself.

Sent out three article pitches to the person who’d asked me for something the day prior, and an article pitch to an editor to whom I’d originally pitched the radio piece, but the publication wasn’t paying at the time. Now it does; not only did she accept the article and we got the contract signed, she asked me if I’d like to write more, in the future, about playwrighting. I’m thrilled. Plus, the person to whom I sent three articles took two of them – paid.

So I know what I’ll be doing early next week, once I get the changes into SERENE AND DETERMINED and that out.

Heard from the company to whom I sent JUST A DROP. They got more submissions than expected, and need an extra week before they make decisions. Very kind of them to let us know; although that means less likelihood that my script will be one of those chosen. But that’s okay. At least I tried, and now the script is in decent enough shape to submit elsewhere, if they don’t choose it.

Did some client work, got some LOIs out. Got some reading.

We fussed over Willa yesterday, since it was her first anniversary here. She loved it. We fussed over all three of them, so no one would feel left out. Charlotte was anxious again yesterday, almost like she had sense memory from how she felt when she arrived a year ago (her anniversary is tomorrow).

So the Sociopath “has no symptoms”? Of course he didn’t. He’s was never sick (with the virus, anyway).

I can’t be bothered to spare a thought or a wish for anyone in that circle who’s actually getting sick. They couldn’t be spared a thought for us.

Now he’s stopped any possibility of a new stimulus package? It’s not up to him. If we had a functioning Congress, they’d pass one anyway. But we don’t.

Get rid of them all. And Democrats need to grow some balls and do whatever is necessary to stop this SCOTUS pick.

Knowledge Unicorns was fun last night. In addition to regular home work, and a discussion of what will happen if this batshit crazy (pun intended) SCOTUS pick is seated, we went to the Smithsonian’s page on The Art and Science of Bats. I had no idea there were 140,000 specimens in that museum. Wow.

I was too tired afterwards to do more than read. I’m reading Rachel Caine’s PAPER AND FIRE, always aware of reading it as she’s in hospice, which is heartbreaking. Her talent is not one we can afford to lose.

Today, I have to go onsite, which will be difficult for a number of reasons. Then, it’s back, decontamination, remote chat, and back to SERENE AND DETERMINED.

Peace, friends.

Tues. Jan. 21, 2020: Character Cross Purposes

Tuesday, January 21, 2020
Waning Moon

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise, where I talk about books that had a strong impact on me in 2019.

It was a rather frustrating weekend, at least as far as productive writing. I’m still struggling with the end of “Trust.” I worked on, but did not finish the Kate Warne curtain raiser. I am at a crossroads with the scene on which I’m working. I don’t want to add characters this late into the play, nor do I want to have the climax of the play happen offstage.

I got an idea for two more comic mystery radio plays: one a steampunk, and one set against a vintage circus. I wrote the first eleven pages of the steampunk. I had to re-figure the plot once when I changed direction on one of the characters; then again, when I realized that some of the tropes I’m playing with could come across as offensive, and, within the restrictions of time and number of characters, I couldn’t do enough to turn those tropes inside out so using them wouldn’t be offensive. I’d need it to be a full-length evening in order to do that. Maybe I should make it into a two-parter? I’m confused. I have to think about it. There are already a few identity switches, but now I might have to add a character who is only referenced and do another mistaken identity. Or, or, I could enter this character and make this character the Big Bad. Because right now, the Big Bad is never in the script, and I feel that lets the audience down. The characters are all at odds with each other. Or do I want this as part of a series, like I did with the Frieda and Lazarus plays, and have the big reveal in the third play?

I don’t know yet.

I had a question from the director of “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” from one of the actors. I think I’ve fixed it in a single line. Fingers crossed.

Discouraged about the LOIs and the article pitches. I’m tired of companies lying about what they want in a certain role. That’s what it all is — lies, to get someone cheap instead of skilled, frightened instead of an independent thinker, and to force them to go beyond the scope of what drew them to the company in the first place — and not beyond the scope in a good way. Not a stretch, but a diminishment.

As far as article pitches, I’m discouraged with myself for not getting them drafted, polished, and out fast enough. I managed to finally get one pitch, for a publication with whom I really want to work for, polished, and sent it off yesterday. Fingers crossed.

Did laundry, worked with the cats a lot, cooked, baked, worked on contest entries and the book for review. Finished the book, wrote the review, sent it off.

We had a snowstorm on Saturday night into Sunday which we needed, but it changed over into rain overnight. We need some steady snow cover, or the tick and bug problem will be out of control and the growing season will be challenging. We had snow flurries on Monday morning, but nothing substantial.

Worked on site with a client, in spite of the holiday. No meditation, so I sat on my own in the afternoon.

Onsite today with a client, and then some work at the library. Video conference with London with a different client, before I go onsite.

Just feel disappointed and discouraged all around. Let’s hope I can shift that this week.

Published in: on January 21, 2020 at 7:10 am  Comments Off on Tues. Jan. 21, 2020: Character Cross Purposes  
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Thurs. Jan. 9, 2020: Frustrations and Creativity

Thursday, January 9, 2020
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and cold

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

Yesterday was exhausting. I was plugging away at my client’s when one of the reps needed an email blast sent out immediately. Of course, it was near the end of my workday. Then, when I logged onto Robly, the platform we use — they changed everything on their dashboard. So there I was, under time pressure, and they’ve made everything awful.

For the past three years, I’ve loved Robly and recommended it to everyone above Constant Contact and MailChimp. Now, without any warning, they’ve stripped everything that made them unique and versatile out of the platform. I can’t build a campaign from scratch anymore. I’m FORCED to choose one of THEIR templates, then have to dismantle it in order to rebuild it the way I need. Instead of being able to choose a blank template and building it the way I want. Everything that took one step now takes five. I’m being forced into setting up for metrics that my clients don’t want or need. Support had to work with me through live chat so I could send out a basic, simple email because the platform tried to force me into A/B testing of two different emails. I don’t want or need that for that particular blast. Don’t force me into doing extra work when I’m on time pressure for things I don’t want or need. No. YOU are supposed to serve MY needs, not the other way around.

So, no more Robly for me. I know there’s one particular client who won’t move platforms, but everyone else will, once I recommend it, will move. And I sure as hell won’t be recommending them to ANYONE again.

Way to lose customers, Robly.

Remote chat was okay, but I got in late and was upset, and had to work to catch up.

Stopped at the store on the way home to pick up a few things.

Charlotte was in meltdown mode when I got home, having an anxiety attack where she also got aggressive. She didn’t like the boundaries set while I was gone (that she couldn’t go up and bother Tessa). So she got hissy and spitty and aggressive. Then, she heard people talking outside and some idiot idling their engine for a good half hour and freaked out. I suspect that was the pattern when she was moved around — she had anxiety and got aggressive, there were loud voices, a car engine started up, and she was moved to the next location.

I coaxed her into my lap and soothed her. As soon as the truck drove off and there were no more voices, AND SHE WAS STILL HOME, she calmed down and was fine.

She has to learn boundaries. And she needs to learn that having to stay within certain boundaries (and there aren’t a lot: no aggression to the humans or cats in the household; stay off the counters) doesn’t mean she’s given away.

Time and patience. That’s all she needs. Time and patience. And consistency.

Worked on the Winter Solstice romance this morning. Will finish the draft of “Trust” this afternoon, and wash the holiday fabric, so it can be put away until next year. Have to get some wax out of a few pieces. That’s where the iron and the butcher paper come in handy. I can lift off the wax using butcher paper without hurting the iron or the fabric.

Will clean out some boxes from the basement this weekend, maybe get in some yard work, do research, write, work on the books for review.

Hopefully, a lovely, creative weekend at home. I need some peace and quiet!

Difficult, when there’s a psychopath determined to get us all killed running the country. And Congress lets him.

An article pitch and an LOI bounced back. I found another submission address for the article pitch. The LOI — the company removed the listing, so that’s that. Working on a couple more article pitches and LOIs that will go out either later this week, or early next.

Back to the page.

 

Published in: on January 9, 2020 at 10:23 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Jan. 9, 2020: Frustrations and Creativity  
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Wed. Jan. 8, 2020: Just One Word After Another

Wednesday, January 8, 2020
Waxing Moon
Uranus Retrograde

Hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice, where I talk about clean slates.

Monday into Tuesday was chaotic. I didn’t sleep well, waking up every few hours and having trouble settling back in. I finally fell asleep around 4:30 and missed my alarm, getting up nearly an hour late. Plus, I had weird theatre dreams, about an actor trying to convince me how much better he was than the show I just saw him in.

Which meant yesterday morning was a scramble. I missed my first longhand writing session of the day (although I didn’t give up my morning yoga/meditation practice). I had also hoped to finish this draft of “Trust” yesterday morning, but I don’t think it will be done until tomorrow. Only four more pages to write, but it’s the climactic scene of the play, so it has to be right.

Worked on article pitches, and worked on an LOI for a British company that has an internationally-based workforce. I’d be an odd choice for them, but, again, my background in theatre, film, radio, and production make me a strong choice. All I can do is send it. Got the article pitches out in the morning, still need to massage the LOI a bit.

A company approached me to freelance for them, acting like they were oh, so generous. When I broke down the rate, it came down to 3 cents per word, or $3 per piece. No.

Another company felt me out about a staff job. When I told them it was $10K less than I’d be willing to consider, I got, “You have a good opinion of yourself.” To which I responded, “I know the value of my skills and experience. Why should I settle for someone who doesn’t value them?”

Come on, people. I am not twenty, looking for my first gig. I have decades of experience behind me. I’m not working for people who don’t value me. I’ve done that enough over the years.

Client work on Tuesday was what it was. I had the office to myself in the morning, which was good. Got some work done at the library later on, and then home.

Did an extra yoga session when I got back, for my back. Worked on the book for review.

This morning, I had a decent writing session. Off to work with my client again. Hopefully, I can participate in the Remote Chat.

Then, I’ll write at home and we’ll have pizza for dinner.

I could use a few weeks of calm, steady work.

 

Published in: on January 8, 2020 at 6:50 am  Comments (2)  
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Wed. June 7, 2017: A Day in the Life of A Writer

Wednesday, June 7, 2017
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cold

My brain was tired yesterday from all the script work. However, I pushed through and sent off a few more article pitches. One of them was accepted within 20 minutes. I’ve written most of the article in my head; I’ll set it to paper later today. I’m hoping I can get a quote from a source in time, but the turnaround is so tight, I don’t know if that’s possible.

Another article pitch that I sent off a few weeks ago was rejected, so I’m re-slanting it and sending it to a different market, and crafting a new pitch for the first market, which is a place I’m determined to crack.

Decided not to pitch to two markets, because they expect you to sign up and participate in the “community” in order to land a paid assignment. Sorry, as a professional, I am hired to write on my ability to deliver the particular assignment, not on spending hours of unpaid time toadying. Next!

Pitched to another gig that is in my wheelhouse and that I would like a lot provided the pay is right and they’re willing to work bi-coastally.

I wrote twenty more script pages on PARALLEL-O-GAME. Definitely a limited run series (which used to be called a mini-series). I’m writing the first draft as one long piece; in subsequent drafts, I will break it down into the correct act structure for each segment. However, while I’m writing, I’m also keeping the act structure — both for each segment, and for the overall piece, in the back of my head, so that most of it will already be inherent in the pace. That’s something that only comes from experience. I’ve outlined a good portion of the next section, and scratched some notes down, although not anywhere near as detailed as for what’s already written.

I managed to write 13 pages this morning, which brings me roughly to the end of Part One.

Still haven’t heard about the edits on the assignment from the other publication. The lag time they have between everything is irritating. I have serious doubts that we’ll have a long association. I want to give it a chance, see if it’s just a case of getting used to their rhythm, but I have my doubts.

Was asked to submit a play to a new works festival north of Boston; on the fence about it, since they didn’t take the last one I submitted. Not sure I want to simply submit so their numbers look good for funding. Their numbers this year must be low, or they wouldn’t have emailed me to ask me to submit.

The radio play was acknowledged; they make their decisions in early September.

I have a short story to finish that’s dragging; I need to get it done and out the door, once the article is done, because the market for that story, should I crack it, would be another solid source of steady work. Even though it’s fiction.

This morning, I’m headed over to Cotuit Center for the Arts for a coffee chat, a new program of theirs. Several people I know will be there, and the set and costume designers will be talking — always fun to talk to colleagues.

Friday morning, I have a meeting for a potential new project that would be a lot of fun. And local. Fingers crossed it goes well. I pitched to them yesterday morning and the interview was nailed down by the afternoon, which is always a good sign.
I hope this creative rhythm continues!