Thurs. Sept. 15, 2022: Organization is Key

image courtesy of Karolina Grabowka via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Waning Moon

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

Sunny and cooler

It’s finally starting to feel like autumn. Doesn’t quite smell like it, though. There’s a post on Gratitude and Growth about the garden.

We went over early to Stop & Shop for my mother’s bivalent booster. Good thing we did, because they claimed they “only got the first page of the paperwork” and we had to fill it all out again. So sick of filling out forms.

While my mom got her shot, I picked up a few things we needed. She didn’t have to sit and wait for 15 minutes, like we had to for the other shots. It was stab and go.

She had zero side effects yesterday at all, to the point where she worried she’d gotten a placebo. This morning, she has a little soreness n the arm. That’s it.

I finished reading a second book for review. I will write and submit both reviews today, submit my invoice, and ask for my next assignment.

I spent way too much time building my profile on Creative Ground, but it needed to get done, since the launch party is tonight (virtually), and I’m invited.

I set up an appointment at the law library next Tuesday to do the research on banking laws here in MA in 1957, for the retro mystery that will be drafted during Nano this year. The librarian is looking forward to it (and so am I). Since the state banking association and the banks themselves refuse to answer my questions. I’m batting around potential titles with some trusted friends, and realizing just how much I need to get back to the outline, so it’s ready to go before November 1. I have character sketches, locations, situations, but I need to, you know, actually plot the murders and the rest of the book.

Did some research on local radio stations, and on the community television/radio station that’s here in North Adams. I might need to make an appointment to go and check out the facilities.

Got my instructions for next week’s conference sessions down in Lenox. I’m worried that people won’t be responsible about masking; if that is the case, I will get up and leave the session. Not taking the risks.

WAM’s next show is in October, and tickets are available. I’m not going in person, since their audience already proven they won’t keep up their end of the masking bargain (even though a caveat of ticket purchase is to remain masked). I may buy a ticket for the virtual performance. At least they have that option, and I know their work is excellent.

Starting to figure out the autumn into winter schedule, which looks to be intense. I have 4 radio plays to write, for specific producers; I have to write the next 2 arcs of LEGERDEMAIN, polish them, and get them up; I need to revise “The Little Woman” and “Inspired By” so they can go out the door when appropriate calls open up; I have a handful of short stories with which I’m noodling; I need to outline the retro mystery so it’s set to go for Nano; once the first draft of that is finished, I need to draft THE KRINGLE CALAMITY and then the third book of the Hearthstone Mysteries, so that all three of those are ready to go out the door by early summer. And I need to do the first draft of the full-length play FALL FOREVER. I’d like to get ANGEL HUNT finished and broken down into episodes, so that can launch in January.

Which of course means having to keep up the content calendar on LEGERDEMAIN, the Topic Workbooks, and, if ANGEL HUNT goes live, the ANGEL HUNT content calendar, and it’s a lot.

Plus, you know, client work and script coverage, and next year’s contest entries will start arriving before the end of the year.

So I guess it can snow, because there’s plenty to do at home!

But it’s nice to feel creative again. In late winter, early spring, decisions will be made on the current series, as to whether I feel up to starting up again, and if my publisher wants to keep carrying them.

I haven’t spent the time on the Cerridwen’s Cottage website that it needs, so that has to be folded in there somehow, too. Plus organizing the almanac articles whose rights have reverted, so I can turn those into eBooks and sell them.

I might need a larger desk blotter calendar!

Anyway, I have meditation this morning, and then getting the reviews done and out, and invoicing. I have to pay my quarterly taxes today (argh), get everything to the post office, pick up my mom’s prescriptions, take a couple of checks to the bank. This afternoon, I have two more scripts to cover, finishing out the pay period, not terribly, but still below what I’d hoped.

What I do hope is that my bivalent booster tomorrow won’t take me out. I’ve blocked off the weekend to rest. If I feel up to it, I’ll do some work on LEGERDEMAIN, and maybe turn over the closet from summer to winter. Otherwise, I’ll stay in bed, or read on the couch.

Episode 16 of LEGERDEMAIN drops today.

The next two weeks are busy, but filled with good stuff.

Peace my friends, and enjoy!

Wed. Aug. 23, 2022: Real Calendars Are Still Best

image courtesy of Open ClipArt Vectors via pixabay.com

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Waning Moon

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

Cloudy, warm, humid

Uranus goes retrograde today, so now we’ve got six retrogrades, with the next Mercury Retrograde looming over us.

Got some work done on the new Episode 32 and on Episode 33, along with some admin. Made a curried chicken salad, and used the leftover cilantro to make cilantro pesto, using the method Jeremy Rock Smith taught us a few weeks back.

My 1 PM meeting cancelled, so I then kept working on LEGERDEMAIN, revising episodes 34 & 35, and working on script coverage. I also put in a slide show on the landing page of the Legerdemain site, with the ads for all the episodes released so far, and will update that slide show with the new episode ads every few weeks. I started a slideshow on the businesses and the fun little quirky ads, which I will do on the business page, but ran out of time.

Had a good conversation with an editor about something I was worried about, and wanted to run past her before submitting. It’s all set now, and I can do that this morning.

Ordered pizza for dinner, kept working on the script coverage. The script I read last night is good, but it’s a 1400-word coverage, and I didn’t get it finished last night. I will finish it this morning (I’m fine, deadline-wise).

Yesterday’s meeting is moved to this afternoon, which is fine, but I have to spend less time on it. I have another coverage to turn around today/tonight, but the report is shorter.

Six more episodes to revise on LEGERDEMAIN, and this first big arc will be uploaded and scheduled. These are tricky episodes to revise and structure, because there are certain plotlines that have to be resolved, while others that were planted for future arcs have to be brought forward, so it’s clear where things are headed.

I did some promo on the episode that dropped yesterday, in addition to the promos already scheduled. I’m considering doing a giveaway package of weird, fun little stuff connected to LEGERDEMAIN in late September or early October, and playing with ideas for that. I may do it on Google Docs, but I put out a question to see how complicated it is. It’s always been easy as a contestant, but I want to hear from people on the other side of the table. So far, I have ideas for three little fun pieces; I want to come up with six or seven, put in a nice presentation, and then use it as a way to drive traffic to the Kindle Vella page. Contestants have to answer questions that are tied to details in each of the first three episodes (which will then get those numbers up, and help my algorithm. Amazon, of course, makes it as difficult as possible to actually market the serial. But I’m trying. I wanted to buy a bunch of tokens and add them to the giveaway, but Amazon doesn’t allow tokens as a gift. Gift cards can’t be used, either. Both of which suck, but hey, it’s Amazon, not at all unexpected.

I sent an email off to the artists’ working group, to make sure they are actually meeting tomorrow, and find out where. I have a few ideas (because, of course I do).

I actually slept pretty well, in spite of the humidity. I’m doing some work on LEGERDEMAIN this morning, and do a few other things before the afternoon meeting. Then, it’s script coverage. The next few days will be a mix of errands, LEGERDEMAIN, script coverage, and rearranging a few things in the house with the inspector coming next week.

Next week is crazy busy, and then, I am looking forward to the holiday weekend.

I also have to get ahead on some of the blogs that are starting up again after the long holiday weekend. I want to brainstorm topics, and always try to stay a little ahead.

The content calendar – the print version – is saving my ass daily. I’m finding the online project management tools, like Asana, Todoist, ClickUp and more, add several extra steps to everything, instead of streamlining. So I might delete Asana. Still on the fence about trying Hectic.

With my paper calendar, I write it down once, it’s there, I look at it, I do it. With an online project management tool, I have to:

Set up every project

Put in all the different steps

Tie them into the main calendar

Go back in every day after I’ve completed what’s to be done on that day’s list and mark it complete

Move the task to the complete column, because the platform doesn’t move it once it’s complete

With my big desktop blotter calendar, I just look at the calendar and know where I am. Much more efficient.

None of the “systems” out there have the flexibility I need for the range of projects, services, and mediums in which I work.

I do want to look into a social media scheduling tool that isn’t a kazillion dollars that lets me upload my content once and then schedule it across multiple platforms, not have to upload/schedule each day separately. I want to upload the content and be able to set different dates/times AND different platforms, all in one go, not separately.

Old-school desk blotter calendar works better! So be it. I need more ink for the printer; maybe I’ll go down to Staples tomorrow in person to pick up the ink, get more notebooks for the back-to-school sale, and get next year’s desk blotter calendar.

Have a good one!

Wed. Aug. 3, 2022: Switching Between Types of Creativity

image courtesy of Darkmoon Art via pixabay.com

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Sunny and hot

The SERIES BIBLE Topic Workbook releases today. This edition has information on the use of Tracking Sheets and Style Sheets. I hope you like it.

I uploaded and scheduled the content calendar for it yesterday. I updated the websites with the individual buy links across a bunch of the Topic Workbooks, and will have to do so for the next few weeks, as more links, international links, and library links go live. I haven’t yet updated the Topic Workbook page on this blog site, but I will next week.

Then I did the rounds of the channels where I couldn’t schedule content, to push Episode 3 of LEGERDEMAIN, which dropped yesterday.

Once that was all taken care of, I started converting the most important points and exercises for the upcoming DEVELOPING THE SERIES Workbook for Saturday’s class.

By that time, I had to do a library run, and I picked up bagels and smoked salmon for lunch. I had a great converation about poetry, Thomas Lynch, and John Milton with one of my favorite librarians.

After lunch, it was time to turn my attention to the script coverage. I only got one script covered in the afternoon (it was a longer coverage than I expected). I took a shower and then participated via Zoom with Chef Jeremy’s cooking class at Kripalu. It was wonderful. He’s such a great teacher, and he’s so much about encouraging people to make substitutions in recipes based on what they like, and learn from it. He also encourages people to try new things, like unusual vegetables at the market, and just play. He’s very much about playing and learning and expanding. It was a great class, and I learned a lot.

I’ve been invited to attend the rehearsal of one of my radio plays next week via Zoom, right after the next class with Chef Jeremy, so that’s great. I’m looking forward to that.

Turned around another coverage after dinner, and then I was too tired to get the third one in, so that means I have to turn around 4 today, not three.

This morning, I was up early and at the laundromat when I opened. I got a good chunk of edits done on upcoming LEGERDEMAIN episodes while I was there.

When I came back, I found that Tessa had pulled the pants I’d worn to my friend’s place out of the laundry and was dragging them around (because they smelled of Ben, no doubt). We had some plant kerflamma on the front porch – something made several of the plants sick. We cut them back and isolated them; hopefully, we’ve stopped it from spreading to everything out there. I would be sad to lose all the plants. I don’t think we can save the impatiens. I think they’re gone. Anyway, that, and the hole the squirrel tore in the kitchen screen before Willa chased him away will be detailed in tomorrow’s garden post.

I was so pleased that Jon Stewart managed to shame the Republicans into mostly voting for the PACT Act to provide veterans with health care. It takes a lot to shame Republicans – basically they can’t be shamed; they can only be afraid their wallets get thinner. And Kansas voted to protect abortion rights. Good.

I’m tired, but there’s a lot to do this morning. I have to work on the SUBMISSIONS SYSTEM Topic Workbook, and finish the slides for the class. I have to do a run out to the market for coffee and oat milk. I hope to do a little bit of work on my poem, but that might have to wait until Friday.

This afternoon is all about script coverage.

It’s supposed to be brutally hot today, and, especially tomorrow. We may have to move camp to the Williamstown Library for the afternoon on both days.

Stay well and happy, my friends.

Published in: on August 3, 2022 at 8:06 am  Comments Off on Wed. Aug. 3, 2022: Switching Between Types of Creativity  
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Tues. Aug. 2, 2022: Creative Busy-ness

image courtesy of Hans via pixabay.com

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter Retrograde

Sunny, hazy, humid

The weekend was kind of all over the place.

The artists working group that I was told met Friday morning, of course, met Thursday morning. The organizers really need to get their communications cleaned up. Especially since I specifically contacted them to ask for clarification and they still gave me the wrong information.

I picked up a few things at Wild Oats market instead.

I spent Friday revising CREATIVE STIMULUS and THE SERIES BIBLE. I was behind where I wanted to be, but between the humidity and ongoing computer kerflamma, it was exhausting.

Attended an amazing yoga class on Friday night. It was a wonderful restorative class and I slept very, very well after.

Up early Saturday morning. Went to the market. Didn’t buy much. The lines were so long as some of the stalls, which is great for the farmers, but I didn’t have the energy to stand in the sun. Picked up my mom’s prescription at the nearby CVS and came home.

Should have done a lot of stuff, but I was hot and tired and didn’t. We did hang up some of the artwork, although we haven’t found the right spot for oh, too many things. But some digital artwork by a friend went up, and the mosaic by my uncle. I put up the sketch of Paris – which I bought on my first trip to Paris when I was 11 years old for 2 francs – but it’s not in the right spot. When I find the right spot for it, I will move it.

Read in the afternoon and just relaxed.

Up early on Sunday. Charlotte and Tessa were both being pills. Made biscuits. Sent off an LOI. Did some blog work. Finally got the materials for a magical journaling class I’m taking this week with the group with whom I did Expedition to the Soul last year.

Worked on my Llewellyn article and got it done. It took a good portion of the day, since it was 2800 words.

I’m reading the biography of Emily Mann. The first time I met her was when I was working at the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation, and she’d just been named the Artistic Director for the McCarter Theatre. I always admired her, and wish I’d gotten the chance to work closely with her.

Played with ideas for my poem, and for the story for the Shakespeare horror anthology. I want to keep my poem short, between a half a page to a page (even though I have a longer slot). I’m learning how to do this, and I’d rather keep it shorter and work on technique and rhythm and performance than use up the whole slot just to use it.

Monday, I was up and at it early. I made the social media rounds to thank those who participated in #31Prompts. Ello, by far, had the highest rate of engagement, both on and offline. Counter Social was second, by quite a big gap. Then, there was another big gap, and it was Twitter and then Facebook. Trailing the pack was Tumblr.

The metrics come from both engagement on the platform, and from contact individuals made with me privately about which prompts they liked and the types of pieces those prompts inspired. Because I don’t want anyone to post the actual work online and blow first rights.

I posted the July wrap up on the GDR site, and you can read it here. I had a pretty creative month.

I rewrote my Llewellyn article pretty extensively, and got it in to my editor. I still haven’t hit the sweet spot with it, except in word count, so I’m eager for her feedback.

I did the marketing content calendar for the CREATIVE STIMULUS Topic Workbook, which dropped yesterday, and got that uploaded and scheduled through the end of September.

Then, I tackled episodes 7-10 of LEGERDEMAIN. Even though I’d done a couple of revisions on them, they needed more. The world count is a little higher than I want for these episodes, but I had to set foundations for a few things, so there we were. The text got two pretty massive revisions, and then tweaks once it was uploaded and previewed. But I got them up and scheduled.

Then, I created episode loglines and episode-specific ads for them. I uploaded and scheduled those around the episode releases. I have to do the big weekend ad schedules, but I’ll do those in a day or two.

After that, I created three more quirky general ads (well, four, because I had an idea for something coming up, but it won’t release for a few more weeks). I got those designed, uploaded, and scheduled around the relevant episodes.

I read the revision of my friend’s radio play and it is wonderful! I love what she’s done. It’s so good, and such fun!

I did some work on the grant proposal. I need photographs. I’m not sure I have photographs of the relevant work, and I’m not sure I have it up here rather than in storage so I can take new photographs. I’ll cross that bridge next week,

I did my Italian lesson. I listened to the first session of a journal workshop on journaling with intent. I was put off by the way she was so condescending to a regular journal practice. As someone who has kept up a journal practice for FIFTY YEARS, and who has found the practice helped me navigate plenty of difficult stuff, I was annoyed by the attitude that a journal practice was “meaningless” and one just writes in a book and puts it away. Nope. Not the way I do it. This after the whole “I’ll never tell you that you HAVE to do something.” Yeah, but you’ll be patronizing when someone does something differently.  I was also annoyed by the whole “Oh, a bunch of us are doing a trip to Salem, so we won’t have live sessions for the next few days, just pre-recorded ones.” I don’t mind pre-recorded sessions, I don’t need to see the running comments in the live sessions. However, it’s kind of insulting when students have put aside the time to attend the workshop to blow them off. Just set it up so it’s “work at your own pace, here are the sessions.” I’m also really irritated at the pressure to download their app. I do not run my life from apps, nor do I want to.

My path is different, especially right now.

I was very tired by the end of the day. Between 2800K in revisions on the article, nearly 8K in the episodes, and then creating the ads, yup, I was tired. I also have 9 scripts in my queue, to read by the end of the week, so I have to push today and tomorrow, so that I’m not overwhelmed at the end of the week, before I teach.

Today’s priority is uploading and scheduling the content calendar for THE SERIES BIBLE Workbook, which drops tomorrow, and finish the revisions on SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSION SYSTEM. I also want to finish the slideshow for the class I’m teaching Saturday.

I think that’s all I can get in during the morning. In the afternoon/evening, I have to cover 3 scripts, and I’m taking a break in the evening to attend Chef Jeremy’s cooking workshop from Kripalu online. Plus the day’s Italian lesson and journal workshop. But it’s the right kind of busy.

I heard from a grant for which I’d applied that I’d made it to the next round. I’ve heard that from them before. I make it close to the end, then they give the grant to someone who never finishes anything and is never heard from again.  But they tell me to keep applying. I’d already decided that if I don’t get it this year, I’m done with them. Not worth the work putting together the grant, when all they do is string me along, and then give it to someone who doesn’t deliver. In the years I’ve applied, I went from never working in the genre to regularly publishing in it, so I guess I don’t need it. But it would sure give me some breathing room.

Anyway, back to the work that needs to be done. Hope you’re having a good start to the week.

Fri. July 22, 2022: Seasonal Summer Heat

image courtesy of jplenio via pixabay.com

Friday, July 22, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Hazy, hot, humid

It was difficult to settle into meditation yesterday, but I managed it.

Uploaded the content calendar for the ORGANIZE YOUR WRITING LIFE Topic Workbook release through the end of September. A content calendar is only useful if you follow through. I’ll do a post on that for Ink-Dipped Advice for September.

I had to run the repair on Word again in the morning. Getting tired of the constant problems with the computer, but that’s how it goes with PCs.

Plus, Windows 11 keeps changing things. What a lousy operating system.

Turned around my script coverage in the morning, before it got too hot and the computer really started suffering. I have a coverage to turn around today, for which I was requested, and another request just landed in my inbox that I will do on Sunday.

Freelance Chat was fun.

It was too hot to work upright in the afternoon. I spent most of it lying on the couch. I noodled with my article. I have to get the first 900-1000 words of It down on paper this morning, then another 900 tomorrow morning, then the final 900 on Sunday (it’s a 2800-word article). I want to revise it Monday and send it to my editor Tuesday, nearly a week early.

I also read a mystery, recommended by two writer friends, but I’m not enamored of this writer’s voice/style. It hits the genre conventions, but that’s about it.

Leftovers for dinner. We were promised a thunderstorm, which never materialized. Today and tomorrow will be hot. I’m worried about tomorrow afternoon’s performance. But I also trust the event organizers to take care of us.

The Jan. 6 Hearing last night simply confirmed that the Narcissistic Sociopath wanted a bloodbath. He should have been led away in cuffs the day after Biden’s inauguration. The fact that no one has been held accountable is unacceptable. And ALL the Republicans who voted against certifying the election need to be in prison.

I don’t know how I’m going to find a place to get my hair cut today.

I dreamed last night about one possible salon, that it was definitely the wrong place for me. In the dream, a friend told me that they were reasonably priced, but the quality was awful.

I had another dream where a Twitter acquaintance (who’s a lawyer out on the other coast) and I worked on a social justice performance piece. Weird dream.

Today will be another hot day. I’ll do as much as I can early on, and then stay quiet for the worst of it, and maybe do some work when it cools down again in the evening. That’s the joy of controlling my own schedule.

Tomorrow is all about Word X Word. I’m both excited and nervous. It will be an adventure, that’s for sure.

Have a great weekend! We’ll catch up next week.

Fri. July 15, 2022: Of Books and Cheese

collage by Devon Ellington from stock photos

Friday, July 15, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune Retrograde

Sunny, warm, and pleasant

Meditation was good yesterday morning. Charlotte enjoyed it, too!

Got the ads for THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS and THE COMPLEX ANTAGONIST scheduled to post/run through the end of September. Created the ads for the other five workbooks, so as soon as I have buy links going live, I can add them into the content calendar, and we’re good to go through August and September. In early September, I’ll decide what I want to do through the end of the year.

I might put some of those ads and some of the ads for The Big Project into an updated marketing portfolio, because they are fun. The ads for the Big Project, in particular, have a rather wacky sense of humor to them, which I think will engage readers.

Did a library run, and dashed into the grocery store to grab some Lysol spray since I can’t find ours. Really excited about some of the novels that arrived. I’m looking forward to reading them.

Spiro Squirrel climbed the kitchen window screen, trying to get in this morning. Willa chased him off. We’ve started closing the kitchen window at night. All we need is for him to figure out how to remove the screen and get inside.

Freelance Chat was fun.

Turned around two scripts in the afternoon.

Skipped Open Studios as MASSMoCA. I needed to focus on my work. Also, the though of getting dressed, putting on makeup, and pretending I wasn’t feral for a couple of hours was overwhelming yesterday. I’m not sure if masking is still required (the email was unclear), and if it’s not, I would have had to leave anyway, because they get crowded. I’m going to have to play each month by ear, and see how what they’re doing fits in with what I’m doing, and with what I need to do to keep us safe.

I’ve done more content calendars than I can count for clients over the years, but doing one for my own work has been invigorating. Having it all there on the calendar inspires me to get it done. It also helps to track the ebb and flow of projects, so I can see where I have room to do more, and where I can pull back a little and not overdo.

Buckle up, my lovely buttercups: The last week of July and the first week of August are going to have a lot of promotion going on!

A Twitter pal and her husband is taking their first ever trip to NYC for 5 days, and I sent them a boatload of suggestions for weird little fun stuff. I really love New York, and I’m so grateful I lived there the years I did. Even though it’s not where I need to be right now, I do love it.

The sentence about the children’s screams cut out from the Uvalde videos released will haunt me the rest of my days. For the parents, who are going through more pain than any of us can imagine, I hope this helps them (rather than insults them, and different parents will feel differently). For those who stood around and did NOTHING while those children were slaughtered, may they never be free from the screaming. May they be haunted the rest of their miserable lives for this, and may they suffer in eternity beyond their own deaths. May they never, ever rest in peace.

I intentionally cleared off the script reading early this week, because I wanted to have three days without it. I’m headed to Pittsfield to a book sale at the library this morning, then taking my mom over to Wild Oats, where the Von Trapp Farmstead is doing an event around their cheese. I never thought I would build time into my schedule focused on cheese, but there you have it. My mom loves cheese, so we are going.

Then it’s back to work, on The Topic Workbooks, and finished the first big arc of The Big Project, so that the next parts of the process can hum along on time, and I can actually make the Big Announcement and The Big Reveal next week, and all of this will make sense.

Then comes the Big Marketing Campaign, which will last for months, so. . .be warned!

Have a great weekend, and I’ll catch you on the other side! The weather has been just gorgeous here, and I hope it is where you are, too.