Tues. June 20, 2017: Market Choice/Writing Choice

Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy, foggy, muggy

Today, I’m going to spend some time on choosing the right market, and then backtrack to the daily details of my constant striving (and strife) to balance the freelance writing life.

Last week, I struggled over an article, but was ultimately satisfied I’d done good work and sent it to a new-to-me market that pays fast. I specifically crafted an article I hoped would hit their sweet spot because they pay fast. I don’t like their style or their content. I don’t like writing on spec (and in many cases, I won’t). But I didn’t expect the piece to take as long as it did to write and research, and, as I’ve said numerous times, I liked the fact that they pay fast.

I woke up this morning to a rejection.

I knew it was well-written, carefully proofread. The fact checking sheet was solid, with reliable sources. But they wanted more National Enquirer and less New Yorker. Basically, I hadn’t dumbed it down enough for their readership. I’d hoped I’d mimicked their style; I’d tried to mirror it as much as possible, without making myself throw up. I cared about the topic, and wanted to do it justice. I had hoped to find a balance between an interesting, well-written piece and the pandering they often do to their readership.

The market was the wrong choice for me. Does that mean I’m not “professional” enough to be able to write for them? Some would say yes. I say I wrote to the limit of pandering my gag reflex would allow, and hoped it would fit what they were looking for. It didn’t.

I should have stopped writing as soon as my gag reflex engaged. Hey, it would be great to detach myself from the content and not give a damn. Write whatever the market wants, take the money and run. Well, if I turn down corporate gigs for companies whose missions I believe are unethical, and they are offering me enough so I could buy a house in a year, and I still say no, why would I do the same for an okay-but-not-brilliant rate? There was only so far I could go.

I’ve worked hard on my author’s voice; I’ve worked hard so that when I ghost, I can mimic the “author’s” voice. I’ve worked hard building craft over a long period of years. Perhaps that means I should be able to bend the craft to fit any market; or perhaps I should just write for those markets I respect.

I liked the idea of the piece. In fact, I loved it — the topic was something I cared about. The research was interesting, and I was sorry I had to distill the piece down as much as I did to fit the market’s parameters.

The topic was part of the problem. Although it was, technically, in one of the arenas the publication claimed it wanted, it was something that would appeal more to the literate than the reality-show crowd.

Basically, I attempted it to appeal to a wider audience, when the market appeals to a narrow (and often narrow-minded) audience. Once I knew the idea was for a literate audience, I should have re-slanted it and aimed it at a different publication.

I followed the formatting guidelines exactly. I had the proofreading, the links, the format — exactly. But the content was off.

In my classes and in the Topic Workbooks, I harp on the necessity of following submission guidelines EXACTLY. An acquaintance of mine is handles submissions for a monthly publication; they get between 800-1000 submissions per week. 85% of them are pitched unread because they don’t follow submission guidelines. Of the other 15%, 75% are then rejected because of sloppy writing and lack of proofreading to such an extent that it would take the editors too long to fix the errors. Massive editing doesn’t fit the production schedule of the publication. 10% don’t fit the focus of the publication (probably a great many of the 85% that were rejected also did not fit the publication, but they never got that far). The remaining submissions make it to the editorial meeting for possible inclusion.

So, let’s say, that particular week, they got 1000 submissions. 850 are chucked out for not following guidelines. That leaves 150 — not too shabby. 75% of those are so badly written, they’re out. That’s 113 badly written pieces that are chucked, and another 15 that don’t fit. That leaves 22 possible pieces. Not bad.

This is when it gets really competitive. 22 viable pieces come in once a week for a limited number of slots free every month. 22 pieces a week x 4 weeks — 88 pieces per month when there are probably only 20-30 slots available.

The competition is keen.

From what my rejection letter stated, it looks like I at least made it to the round where it passed guidelines, format, and craft, but they felt it didn’t fit their focus. In other words, it was one of the 10% chucked out for not fitting the publication neatly enough. Which is a perfectly legitimate reason for it to be rejected.

I knew the finished article was a risk, because it wound up being more “literary” than I expected. At that point, I could have decided not to submit. But, I decided to take the risk, just in case they’d pick an occasional piece that was a bit more literary.

I wanted the money. Nothing wrong with that.

They didn’t want the piece. As is their right.

Now what?

I still like the piece. What I’m going to do is reformat it and re-slant it a bit. Some of the fact-check links that the original market demanded will be transformed into a sidebar for additional information. I’m going to re-shape some of it and add some of the content I liked, but knew I had to cut for the particular market (both word count and content restrictions). And I’ll pitch it to a different publication. A publication that wants more New Yorker than National Enquirer.

It also means that two other articles I have pending with this publication will probably be rejected for the same reason. In which case, I won’t keep submitting, quick pay or no, because my time is better spent working on pitches to publications that pay $1/word, where I like their content and they like mine.

It was a gamble that didn’t pay off. I submitted to a publication that left a bad taste in my mouth, whose work I don’t like, and I wasn’t willing to match enough of their writing style to get in. Some would say that means I’m not “professional” enough, not detached enough. Definitely not detached enough. Others would say I’m not a “hack”, and I shouldn’t have tried hack writing. I don’t happen to think there’s anything wrong with hack writing. Many a writer who went on to public works we still read was known as a hack in their own time, churning out stories for pulps, and articles and reviews for anyone who would pay them enough to keep a roof over their heads.

“Writing to market” is an important part of selling one’s work. Since this is my business, not my hobby, I better write material that sells. I better also choose my markets by what they actually publish, instead of what I think they should publish.

So, onward.

Yesterday was one of those days that no matter where I worked, the work didn’t flow well. My hyperaccusis/misophonia was bad (as it is when I’m under severe stress) and almost any sound caused pain.

I took my mom in to the doctor, and she had a biopsy. Fingers crossed it turns out well. I had trouble writing anything by the time we got back. I tried working at the library, but it was too noisy. I came home and did some research and noodled with a few ideas.

I sent off my requested revisions to my new editor, explaining nicely that if he wanted something first thing Monday, it needed to be on my desk before noon on Friday, not at 9 AM Sunday morning. If I get fired for that, so be it. They don’t pay enough for me to compromise my Day of Disconnect.

I will have quite a bit to say tomorrow on the Shakespeare idiocy that the ignorant and stupid are currently engaging in (since most of them seem to think he’s alive and can be bullied). But that’s another piece for another day.

Today, I have errands to run, and I’ll try to work at the library for a bit. I’m having trouble finishing the short stories that need to go out, but I just have to buckle down and do them. I have some more article pitches to send out, and others to work on and/or follow up.

And I can’t neglect the longer fiction, which has gotten the short shrift the last few weeks, replaced by articles that are on a quicker pay cycle.

Tomorrow, the weather’s supposed to be clear, so I have to get back to work mowing (the terrace is looking like a vacant lot again). I also have a project meeting way down the other end of the Cape that I’m looking forward to. I don’t want to get my hopes up, and it’s out of my usual client range, but I like the company, and I like the person I dealt with so far, so fingers crossed it will all be good.

Tomorrow is also the Solstice, and I have to get ready for that celebration. I’m not feeling much like celebrating, but it will make me feel better.

Back to the page.

Fri. June 16, 2017: Just Keep Writing

Friday, June 16, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

I finally got the article I’d been working on all week out the door; still waiting to hear back from a pitch I’d hoped was a quick turnaround. Got a few other pitches out.

Consultations on the new cover for “The Ramsey Chase”. There were two possibilities, both eye-catching, but I chose the one set in the graveyard, because the denouement is set in a graveyard. It’s not quite as spooky as the original cover, but I like the image. The byline might be enlarged just a point in the font, but, other than that, I’m happy with it.

I played with some ideas for the next story in the series, and I’ve got a few ideas spinning. We’ll see which ones actually work. I’ll have to write at least the opening scene soon, so it can go in with “Ramsey”. The re-read and the proof-read I need to do on it should help me regain the tone.

It was actually too cool to work outside on the deck yesterday afternoon; I only managed a few minutes. But, I roughed out some article ideas that I will now formulate into pitches, and also found the premise of what could be an intriguing piece of fiction. I need to play with it for a bit. The contrasting POVs would be fascinating to explore.

The exercise bicycle I picked up last week on craigslist is already having a positive effect. I’ve also finally lost the “library weight” I’d put on. Even though I’m sitting a lot for my work, I’m more active and I’m eating better. It seems all I crave lately are apples, cucumbers, peppers, parsley, and the like.

I’m hoping to have a solid writing weekend, although when it’s not raining, I’ll still have to mow. I got the side yard done yesterday morning, so it’s the terraced back area today, and then, tomorrow, back to the meadow. I also have to do some trimming in areas that the mower can’t reach.

Finished a short story that will go out today. I’m getting better at fiction that’s truly short. Which is a good thing, since there are markets for it. It’s also a good contrast to novel-length. I’m proud of myself, because the story came in only one word over the count, and I cut a qualifier, and there I was!

Started a short science fiction story, which is kind of fun. If it works, I should be able to have it submission-ready by Monday.

Still wrestling with the longer piece; I have to dig farther into the emotions, and rework the structure a bit. It should hit just over 3K when it’s done and revised. That needs to go out next week.

Started two more articles, with the basics that I’ll then fill in and use citations.

I have a project meeting set up for mid-week next week. Looking forward to meeting them – I think/hope we’d work well together.

I’d like to take some time off this weekend, but I also have to do the next section on THE FIX-IT GIRL revisions.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Fri. June 9, 2017: Sometimes Things Don’t Work Out

Friday, June 9, 2017
Full Moon
Jupiter Direct
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cool

I pitched five script jobs and an editing job yesterday morning, back-to-back, and was exhausted. Wasn’t able to do much in the afternoon; it felt like I ran out of words, although I got all the background research I needed for my article.

Managed to revise and put in the changes for the next three chapters of FIX IT GIRL. In the upcoming chapter, I have to add The First Big Love Scene of the book, which wasn’t in the original draft, so I’m turning over, in my mind, how to do that in a way that’s appropriate to the context and time period.

This morning, I put some fixes into a few scenes in the first part of PARALLEL-O-GAME, where I’d rushed things near the end. I also started Part II. I’d say I wrote close to ten pages.

Had my meeting. Love the project, the people, the organization. We can’t make the money work. I’m a little heartbroken. But, as is typical in this area, they don’t want to pay for hours worked or work done. So, no matter how much I like them, I’m not doing it.

Came home and cried.

Pulled myself together and got back to work on the article. I need to get it out today, and then figure out some more to pitch. Then, it’s back to FIX IT GIRL, and to the next assignment from my new editor.

I’m feeling about as creative as wilted lettuce right now, and the last thing I’m up for is crafting a romantic love scene, but too bad for me.

I hope you have a good weekend. I will be working.

Published in: on June 9, 2017 at 10:57 am  Leave a Comment  
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Thurs. June 8, 2017: When You Just Want to Slap the Bitch

Thursday, June 8, 2017
First Day of Full Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Well, yesterday was . . .challenging.

Wrote 13 pages on the teleplay, finishing the first part.

Managed to arrive at the arts center on time for the social hour. The exhibit currently up is terrific; the interpretations are engaging and unique. About forty or fifty people turned out, which, for a Cape event, is great. A friend of mine was in charge of it, one of the most positive people I know, so that was all good.

Ran into someone with whom I’d been involved in an organization for months, and even been to her home on numerous occasions. She had no idea who I was. Or chose to pretend that. Okay, fine.

We went down to the costume shop and met the designer of an upcoming show. Talk about familiar surroundings! The costume shop could have been in NYC or San Francisco or Edinburgh. Too funny.

However, one of the other attendees waxed on and on about how the people who work in the theatre “love what they do so much, just do it for the love of it, work so hard, and then get up and go to work the next morning.”

I wanted to slap that bitch.

Theatre is a viable profession. That ignorant dolt’s attitude reflects the attitude around here, that theatre isn’t a “real job” and something to be done “on the side.” Sorry, it’s not. It’s a profession.

I think they were hoping to get volunteers for the organization from the coffee. Good for them, but I am paid for my work. This is my PROFESSION, not my hobby.

I was pretty upset when I left. That anecdote reflects what’s a big part of my weighing whether or not I should leave this area. I worked too hard all my life, all the way up to Broadway, to have my profession insulted like that. It’s the same as telling a neurosurgeon he’s got a “cute little hobby, cutting open skulls and poking around.”

This misplaced notion in this area that the only “real” work is to take minimum wage jobs and never get ahead and only work on art “on the side” is everything I’ve rejected all my life. As someone who’s made my living in the arts since I was eighteen, it’s frustrating.

Came home, worked on a couple more pages of the teleplay, but I have to work out the opening scene to Part Two in my head a bit more.

Worked on my next article; I need to do some research today to finish it off and fact check some links.

Was told my next assignment on the new, supposedly long-term gig is on its way.

Found a batch of script jobs to which I want to pitch; I will do that today.

Revised the next three chapters of FIX IT GIRL, which was just over 6K, bringing my total revisions so far to just over 44K.

The weather’s better, so I’m going to start mowing the meadow today, then run some errands, then do the necessary research for the article, finish it, pitch to the script gigs, work on a couple of other pitches, and do my quota of pages on both the teleplay and the revisions of FIX IT GIRL. Then, I have to prep for tomorrow morning’s meeting.

I slept in until 7 this morning, so I feel like I’m a bit behind, time-wise. Still, since I’m making my own schedule, I’ll simply work until it’s all done.

I can’t believe we’re in June and it’s still so damn cold.

Mon. May 22, 2017: Getting Back into Gear

Monday, May 22, 2017
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Not the productive weekend I’d hoped for, unfortunately.

The stress of the personal issues I’m dealing with hit like a hammer, and it was difficult for me to get anything else done. I managed a little yard work, but not like the marathon hours that my neighbors did. Their lawns are pristine; my mower still isn’t working. I’m hoping the replacement of a simple part or two will do the trick.

I got a little work done on the play proposal, and some plotting work done on the radio play. I need to gear up and get those out the door this week.

On the upside, I re-read Arlene Kay’s Boston Uncommons mysteries, and enjoyed them. I drafted up some reviews I’ll leave for them. I also read a couple of her earlier books, one-offs, which were also fun.

STILL waiting for my first assignment from that editor who, weeks ago, said I was hired. I could have done THREE assignments (and been paid) in this time frame. I’m irritated. Perhaps it’s time to move on and take other work instead. IF I’m ever contacted, I’ll see what my schedule is, or I’ll bow out. If you’re “constantly” adding people to the team and promising “steady” work, it doesn’t take three weeks to make the first assignment.

Drafting a short article and an article pitch that need to go out today. Also want to tackle the short story — I’d like to get that out by the end of this week. I need to do some reformatting on the Topic Workbooks for an additional release venue, and get back to work on the next Topic Workbook. I’m going to try to release one every three months.

I re-read TIE CUTTER, which needs to get back into the writing mix in the next few months, and also did some more research for the next section of FIX IT GIRL revisions. The revision process on this novel is different than my usual, but it’s working for the particular novel, so I’m going with it.

Managed to get in a bit of yard work this morning before the rain started, although I was bitten several times. I hate ants. I’m in full out war with the ants. I know, I should appreciate them and all they stand for, but they’re not keeping their part of the bargain.

I have errands to run this morning, some things to do at the library, and then, hopefully, I can get back to the page. This week will be very stressful, on multiple fronts, and I’m trying to prepare myself, both mentally and physically.

Published in: on May 22, 2017 at 9:02 am  Comments Off on Mon. May 22, 2017: Getting Back into Gear  
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Mon. Jan. 20, 2014: Opportunities — Some Grabbed, Some Not

Monday, January 20, 2014
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold
Martin Luther King Day

Busy weekend. Friday, I dug in and did a lot of work for my new editing client, prepped for my new article gig (we’re trying each other out on a paid assignment), finished the revisions on the second teleplay, worked with students, and roughed out a couple of press releases. I also did some work on the novella, falling in love with it again.

A potential new client who’d been at me about a big “emergency” project that I HAD to start immediately has been dragging his feet about a deposit and a contract. I stood firm in refusing to do the work until both were in place, in spite of the continuous whine of “but it’s an emergency!” If it’s so important, put the deposit in my Paypal account, sign the contract, scan it, email it back, and I’ll get started. But I am NOT doing the work for someone I know nothing about and have no reason to trust without all that in place. Back and forth all day. Finally, I told them to talk to someone else; I have too much on my plate right now to play this game. I told you repeatedly what needed to happen for the work to get done within the time frame you claim to need it; if you’re not willing to do that, I am not the person for the assignment.

I have no doubt they were hoping to get me to do the work, and then find a reason not to pay me. I didn’t just fall of the turnip truck. Professionals work with deposits and contracts, and professional clients understand and respect that. Buh-bye.

Disorganization on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part. Especially when you haven’t shown any inclination to pay me to fix the emergency.

There’s a new post up on Gratitude and Growth about the too-early planting I’m doing, which I hope won’t come back around and bite me in the butt.

I read two very well-written books over the weekend, DELIA’S SHADOW by Jaime Lee Moyer, and THE BONES OF PARIS by Laurie R. King.

Saturday, I was out of words. I was tired and unable to really focus. I did some work in the morning, but then gave myself the rest of the day off. I did things like grocery shop. I managed to do some research for the Eliot-Stowe-Bronte project.

Sunday was better. Got the changes into the teleplay, worked on the novella a bit, did some more work for the editing client. A company I’d pitched to about a month ago contacted me in a frenzy, wanting 10 press releases by this morning. TEN. Of course they balked at the rate, the deposit, and the rush fee. Sweetie, if you need TEN press releases by Monday, why are you waiting to contact someone on Sunday and then expect the releases to cost no more that $15 each? Without deposit or rush fee? Oh, right, you must be used to working with content-mill-level writers. Sorry, not me. You want my time and level of experience, you pay my rates.

Roasted a chicken for dinner, then cooked down the bones to make soup. Yum! Labor-intensive, but yum!

I’ve got the article to prep, work to do for my editing client, work with students, press releases (for a regular client and on some of my own upcoming events) to draft. I signed some exciting contracts this morning and am sending them back — will be able to make an official announcement soon!

Had to turn down a theatre opportunity because it conflicts with the new play, the NECRWA conference, and the two projects whose contracts I signed this morning. Maybe some other year I’ll be under consideration again and can go for it.

Two screenplay ideas are swirling in my head (loglines already done; they’re for the packet going out March 4), and I’ve got a LOT to get done today, along with picking up a few things before tomorrow’s snowstorm hits — we’re supposed to get eight inches.

To the page!

Devon

Published in: on January 20, 2014 at 8:33 am  Comments (1)  
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Thurs. June 13, 2013: Good Workday and Eager for Conference

Thursday, June 13, 2013
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

I was productive yesterday. Got out my review (last for this editor, whaaa — but I’m excited for his new opportunities). Wrote a press release and a blurb for the previous day’s committee meeting, per what I promised and am waiting for feedback. Worked with private students and the Supporting Characters students. Wrote an article. Roughed out a second article. Did some research on Venetian painting (I could have spent all day on that — delightful). Realized I had to return books, so I pulled one of them (that I can’t renew any more) and took the notes I needed before making the trip.

You know you spend a lot of time in local libraries when the librarian greets you by name as you walk in and brings over the next stack of books put aside! Cape Cod has some of the best libraries and best librarians ever. I am truly blessed.

Watched lectures for both my Climate Literacy class and the Archaeology class. Interesting how some of the issues intersect.

Worked up general notes for a new series and started outlining the opening of the first book. This is in an historical context, which means I get to do a whole lot of fun things with it!

Prepped for the conference I’m attending today and tomorrow. It’s about Cape Cod’s changing coast — feeds directly into the climate literacy class, and I expect that information here and from my friend at NMLC will give me the background I need for my first climate literacy paper.

I’m going to try to work with some students now, before I leave for the conference (yes, it’s just after 6 AM — the beauty of an online course).

I’m in my Annabel Aidan persona over on the Writers Vineyard, talking about trusting your creative subconscious here.

Looking forward to the day — in spite of the nor’easter heading our way!

Devon

Thurs. Oct. 4: Exciting Times and Time to Go Home!

Thursday, October 4, 2012
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and warm

Worked with my students yesterday, got some good work done on a few other projects. Got an apology from the slow-paying client with a promise to “pay next week”. We’ll see if that happens. Watched several of my Sustainability video lectures, and several of the World History lectures, and took the quizzes. This week’s lectures are useful in terms of my flood/drought project. I also did an email interview promoting both the Jain Lazarus books and ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT that will go up in late November.

Tessa is sulky and upset. She got out of the house and was difficult to catch yesterday, poor little thing. Hopefully, she will be glad to see me when I get home, and not act like Violet. Violet always does “talk to the tail” for three days before she forgives me.

I’m over at the Writers Vineyard today in my Annabel Aidan persona, giving thanks for this year’s Writing Harvest.

It’s more stressful here than it needs to be; I will be glad to go home. Although “home” will be chaotic for the next few weeks — the owner decided the outside of the house needs to be painted and a new roof put on.

I had a lovely meeting with an agent last night, and we had a good chat that ranged over many topics. We brainstormed some ideas, and now it’s up to me to see if I can come up with proposals that fulfill what we discussed. Excited about it.

I want to get the revisions on the article done before I head back today, and will try to get as much schoolwork done as possible. Well, I’d LIKE to curl up and read a good book, but that is not going to be an option until about Sunday! And that book will be something I’m reviewing!

Quick reminder — I’m over at the Muse Online Conference next Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, teaching my Supporting Characters workshop. Hope to see you there!

Off we go — I hope the drive back won’t be bad this afternoon. I’m tired of driving in bad weather and dense traffic.

Devon

Wed. Sept. 19, 2012: New Article Up & Television Musings

Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and warm

In spite of the migraine, I had a very good day of edits on OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK. I’m starting to feel good about the book and how it sets up the rest of the series, as well as standing on its own.

Also did some notes to shut up a character who’s been yapping at me the past few days, in a built world. I’ll be writing from a male POV, I think, this time,which will be fun.

Got work done on the opening of the marine life mystery.

Re-sent some invoices — I want to wind up completely with one client and be done, buh-bye, and the other wants more work from me, but the payments have to be on time, or it simply won’t happen.

My article on “The Renaissance Writer” is up on WOW-Women on Writing here. It was a lot of fun to write, and I hope you enjoy reading it.

Didn’t get enough housecleaning done yesterday, so I’ll have to make up for it today.

Planning on staying in today, writing, writing, writing.

Forgot to mention that I watched the pilot of REVOLUTION on Monday. I hadn’t particularly liked the promos –to me, they came across as jumping on THE HUNGER GAMES bandwagon. But Billy Burke has one of the leads, and I like his work (although I had no idea he was involved in the TWILIGHT franchise, because I haven’t bothered with the movies). I also wanted to see Giancarlo Esposito’s work — I liked him a lot in both BREAKING BAD and ONCE UPON A TIME.

I was pleasantly surprised. I LOVE the production design — sets, costumes, et al. The attention to detail is great. Again, though, I’m glad not to be doing wardrobe on it, because they’re outside a lot! Continuity with dirt is not easy! It uses archetypes from the Hero’s Journey nicely, although I hope they deal with the fact that one of the lead characters is a young woman. The heroine’s journey is, by nature, different. The writing was much better than I expected, and I thought the actors committed fully in a really wonderful way. One of the reasons I like Billy Burke’s work so much is that he is such an active listener. He is unafraid of stillness, and he listens completely and responds to what is actually said and done in the moment. He does that in interviews, too — there’s never a sense that he’s skipping ahead, thinking about what HE will say next. He’s very much a partner in whatever scene he’s in, not trying to take all the focus with the underlying, “Look at ME!” that so many actors (especially in leading TV roles) insist on. I’m interested in seeing how the show evolves.
However, if it starts messing with the audience just to mess with them, the way I felt LOST often did — I’m outta there.

Going back to the active listening and partnership in a scene, I’m already struggling to continue watching a different show that an acquaintance of mine is on. I like HIS work a lot, and he’s good at the give-and-take, but he’s a second lead and the two lead actors are very much in the “I’m the show’s star” mode in a way I feel hurts the overall show. Sometimes it’s the number of close-ups; sometimes it’s screen time; sometimes it’s not letting one of the other actors have a moment that makes more logical and organic sense. I continue to watch because my acquaintance and I dissect every episode after, in terms of writing and character development, and I’m loyal to him; but I’m finding it more and more difficult to watch.

Okay, I need to get back to the page and get a bunch of other things done today, too. We had a bad storm last night — we didn’t have too much damage, other than overwhelmed plants.

Back to work!

Devon

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Rainy and cool
Veterans’ Day

Already have one load in the dryer and one in the washer of the four loads that need to get done today. I have to vacuum. I have to tidy up the living room and my office. I need to get some housework done today. I’ve been working so hard that it’s fallen by the wayside.

Yoga was great yesterday morning. Big class — nearly double the size as usual, but lots of fun. The teacher helped me with a problem I’ve been having with my left hip — which is usually the good hip. It’s much better and I’m going to keep doing those poses daily to keep it that way!

Pretty much just flat out worked yesterday. Just a couple more days on the Harry Potter workshop, and I’m done with deconstructions. I’m ready. They’re starting to interact on this one, and at least they really KNOW the material, but the ratio of prep time to payment just doesn’t make sense.

Knocked out an article due for Savvy Authors and have to change the date for a live chat, because it conflicts with something I’m doing with Cape Cod Writers’ Association.
I need to do some edits in a book before I send it out — I’ve decided that the prologue isn’t really a prologue, it’s the first chapter, so that means re-jiggling everything. Time-consuming, but necessary for it to go out. I’ve also got to get back to THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, which is the big plan for next week.

Everything had to stop mid-afternoon, because I did a test run of the lasagna I need to take to Maine in two weeks. There are usually about 60 people for Thanksgiving dinner, and everyone helps out. I always make a desert for the main dinner, but the last few years, it’s become my job to make the dinner for 6-12 people on Wednesday night. They’re the ones most involved in the planning and set-up of the space, and it takes some of the pressure off them. The request, this year, was for lasagna. I’ve only made it once before, about six years ago, and it was a disaster.

I tried it again, this time from a recipe in NEW BASICS. It was awesome! Truly, a wonderful recipe. So, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, I’ll cook all day — I’ve got two cakes to make (lemon for the Thanksgiving dinner, a pound cake for the Wednesday night dinner) and the lasagna. The latter is time intensive and labor intensive, but it’s worth it. I’ll prepare the elements for a salad and bring them up with me in separate bags, and mix the salad just before dinner.

This morning, I make an apple spice cake (different from the bread I often make). It turned out really well, but it would be too heavy paired with the lasagna.

If the weather dries up and I can get the lawnmower to cooperate, I need to get started on the back. The front is full of leaves again (they rained down more heavily than yesterday’s rain), but the front has had its last mow of the season, so it’s only raking from here on in.

The book is going well. A sequence I thought might be a tangent is turning out to be essential to the book. However, that means I have to end the first book of the trilogy earlier than I planned, or cut a few subplots that have become very important to the main plot.

I probably need to write the first draft of all three books and then see where it makes sense to end each one. I’m just over 70K, so I’m running out of words for book 1. For once, I’m happy with the job I did in complex plotting, but I still have to keep a reasonable word count.

Onward.

And don’t forget to take a few moments to give thanks to our Veterans.

Devon

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

Quick check-in before I head off to yoga. Spent the day working yesterday. Got the interview questions out for the NMLC article. Paced and muttered a lot as I worked on the article, and on other stuff for the ball. Spent too much time on Twitter, but some of it was legitimate promotion!

Did some tidying up, because a friend from NY will be here tomorrow. Not ready for ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST, but oh well.

My new yoga blanket and foam roller arrived, so I could roll out my hip and the tension in my neck, to help ease the migraine. Now on Day #3. It’s a little better, but it still sucks. I was doing better on migraines there for awhile. I have a feeling this is client-triggered.

Kitties are working things out. Tessa is jumping on the others now, wanting to play, and they don’t like it very much. I’m trying to pet them when they’re all together so they associate Tessa with positive attention. I didn’t play with her enough yesterday, so she was quite the little monkey!

Imp Dog came dancing down the street yesterday morning, and the Big Black Maine Coon from across the street shot forward like a furry black cannonball, chased off Imp Dog, and then sauntered down the lawn, tail held high, to the rosebush.

Of course, yesterday, I get an email from the person who was supposed to get back to me on Saturday, saying they couldn’t find the blog post and could I send it again. What part of I am not available this month is not clear? I should have just ignored it and let it go — I sent it in TWO WEEKS ahead of time and it was acknowledged. If this was the first time it happened, I could let it go, things happen, but it’s EVERY time. I re-sent it, but who knows when the hell it will go up? Or if they’ll reschedule and then, two minutes before it’s supposed to go live, they’ve “lost it” again? I can’t sit by the computer every time something’s supposed to go up, waiting for them not to have something that was sent and acknowledged. It’s too frustrating, and blogging for them needs to go off my roster.

Speaking of blogging, though, I’m over on The Writers Vineyard, with my monthly post, this time about People and their work. Drop a comment, let me know you came by!

Off to yoga, and then back to the page for the day. I may have to run to the Marine Life Center to take some photographs from the article, but haven’t heard back, and I’m not going unless I know they’ll be there.

Can’t wait for this Mercury Retrograde to be DONE. It’s a rough one.

Devon

Published in: on August 11, 2011 at 5:17 am  Comments (4)  
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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Snowing

It’s snowing. Again. ‘Nuff said.

My article “Making the Leap: The Transition into Full Time Writing” is on WOW- Women on Writing, here. I’ve got some great experts weighing in on how to make the leap. I”m very grateful to them for taking the time to share their expertise (and am getting thank yous and links out to them).

Yesterday morning was spent in a flurry, getting blurbs for the deconstruction workshops out for fall (WATCHMEN the movie, HOGFATHER the novel, the Anita Blake Series, and the Harry Potter series both books and films), and setting dates for workshops as far as April of 2012 — an Advanced version of the Dialogue workshop in the fall, 5-in-10 from January through March, Sensory Perceptions in March, and One Story Many Voices in April. This is all 2012, mind you. I may be picking up another deconstruction workshop this May, along with teaching the Setting as Character Workshop. So dates, contracts, and the like all had to be sorted.

Everything I had for March 2011 is now cancelled, so I have to replace it.

Got the write up done for Confidential Job #1, out the door, and invoiced. Got out some correspondence. Started prepping interview questions for something that might or might not happen, but at least I’ll have the questions.

I’m trying to come up with a fun and unique “bonus” something-something for each of the deconstruction workshops. It’s not going to be advertised ahead of time; it will be different for each workshop; but I want to give the participants something unique. I figured out what I’d like it to be for one of them, and have started putting it into motion (it still might not happen), but now I need to figure out what to do with the others.

Some calls for submission crossed my desk. I matched one to something I had queued up to go out — in fact, they’ve published me before and indicated they wanted more work from me. Another, I haven’t found the right match — they seem more obsessed with word count than content, but that’s probably for the pages they have to fill. The third, I tossed. Not only do they pay a pittance, they expect me to reformat the piece in a way that isn’t useful to me in any other venue. In other words, the publisher – -whose job it is to put the magazine into production — expects the writer to do production work, but without pay. Sorry. I do my job. I’m not doing yours as well. NEXT.

It was a full ten and a half hours at the desk, flat out, still not getting everything done that I needed to. But it was a good day’s work, and I’m making progress.

Today: talk to HealthConnect about getting my own insurance sorted out before the cut-off; work on the essay; work on the short story; work on the book; write another review; mess around with matching the backlog of short stories to potential markets; get the link to my experts for the article, do the PDF of the article, etc.

Pancakes first, and then back to the page. At some point, I need to get to the post office to mail some bills, buy coffee (ack, I’m nearly out), and pack.

Devon

Published in: on February 8, 2011 at 8:42 am  Comments (6)  
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