Tues. Sept. 27, 2022: Walking the Project Talk

image courtesy of Rafal Chudoba via pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Waxing Moon

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

Cloudy, mild, humid

Pour yourself a favorite beverage and settle in for a natter. This weekend had a lot going on.

I’ve posted the questions to help you create and plan your 2023 over on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site.

I managed to get them up early this year. I don’t know about you, but I already have the urge to plan next year, process this year, and build on it. We’ll ponder the questions between now and the end of the year, and then post what we’re comfortable sharing in January over on the GDR site.

Friday felt like a lost day, even though it wasn’t. I mean, I did stuff, it just wasn’t what I’d hoped to get done. I scheduled the episode ad postings on the LEGERDEMAIN site to release all the way through October. I still have to add some content to the site before I’m comfortable with it going live, but that should happen this week, so next week, I can start promoting the site.

Newsletter subscribers will get the link early, when the newsletter goes out later this week. Have you subscribed to my quarterly newsletter yet? If not, you can do so here.

I did some work on the Topic Workbook graphic, and I’m still not happy with it. I need to play some more. I also started the media kit for the Topic Workbook, and I’m pondering the media kit for LEGERDEMAIN.

I looked at running ads on Amazon for LEGERDEMAIN, and the prices are just way out of my budget at the moment.

I ordered a set of signed books by an author whose work I adore for a friend I think would really love them. I bought them directly from the author, and she already shipped them to my friend, and I am so excited.

I covered two scripts in the afternoon. I should have done three, but I was just too tired. And, when I cover the script, I want to give good, focused attention to the writer. That is the respect each writer deserves.

Canva won’t let me design a bookmark that’s horizontal instead of vertical, and I don’t like the way the verticals look. However, the print store I want to try out lets me design horizontally on their site, and I think I will do that. I will initially order a small batch; if they look good, I’ll order more. I may have them do my direct mail postcards, too, if I can ever get a design on those I can stand.

The Fresh Grass Music Festival was over at MassMOCA this weekend. Can you say super-spreader much? Especially now that Rochelle Wollensky of the CDC has gone full genocidal eugenics on the country. She needs to be removed. And yes, I contacted both my Senators and my Representative yesterday so to do.

But the upside of the music festival is that, at night, when the wind is right, I can hear some of it. Which is kind of cool. The venue is only 5 blocks away, so it makes sense.

Had kind of a slow start Saturday morning. We ended up putting on the heat on Friday – I’m already cringing, because not only has the gas company jacked up my bill over the summer, here in this state, they are telling us to expect a 64% increase. My income hasn’t increased 64%, so why are they allowed to do this?

Yes, that was another set of contacts to the Senators and Reps, on both federal and state levels.

I did not go to the market, or even the grocery store, because with all these people in for the festival, ewww, germy strangers probably not masking shedding virus. Nope.

Played with some ideas for upcoming Ink-Dipped Advice posts, and hope to write them up and schedule them to post this week.

I’ve basically given up on all the short stories I’d hoped to write the second half of September. I need to focus on other work first. Some of the ideas I might still play with and write, and look for other markets. But I can’t look at Sept. 30 deadlines for anything right now, other than already contracted work.

I did rough out a short story outline that was inspired by a call to submission, but they wanted flash fiction and this will be 3-5K. But I love the idea, and it will be fun to spin out.

So, yeah, not given up on the short stories, just on the deadlined submission calls!

It’s been dipping down into the low 40’s,/high 30’s F at night, so it’s time to take in the plants. We took in a bunch, some inside for good, some to the front porch. I will go into that in detail on Thursday’s garden post.

Once that was done, the light was good enough so that I could sew the October-themed curtain for the Kitchen Island Cart from Hell. Willa, who hardly ever comes on the couch, sat along the back of it, alternating watching me sew and looking out the window. I did this, too, by hand.

In the afternoon, I turned around the script coverage.

After that, I downloaded the scriptwriting software DramaQueen (the company is based out of Germany). Right now, I can’t make the time to sit with Scrivener. I’ve tried Trelby and hated it. Eventually, I will invest in Final Draft again, but not right now.

It was kind of a PITA to download, but I have no doubt that’s more about my computer than their software. Once it was downloaded, though, and I started playing with it, it worked well.

I imported VISCERAL INVISIBLES into the software and started working on the new draft of that. This will be the 7th draft. Because I’m going to keep at it until it’s right before I submit. The import was wonky from PDF, but just fine out of .doc, so that’s good to know. The software wonked some of the formatting, but not badly, and it’s very easy to adjust with the highlight and tabs.  I later realized it was because I hadn’t used the standard Courier format, but whatever it was I drafted in, so when it converted to the correct format, some of it wonked.

So far, so good.

I rewrote the first 23 or so pages. I’m rearranging a few things, and deepening a few things. That’s what this draft is about. And then I’ll do another pass, and make cuts. According to the software, the page count is 120. However, I think some of that is format wonk, since none of my drafts were ever that long, page-wise. Once I do the rewrites and fix the wonks, I will check the page count (I expect it’s around 115) and then cut, because it needs to hit the sweet spot for the genre, and not be more than 110. So I’ll tighten and cut until I get there.

I knew I had another script I wanted to import – but I couldn’t find it on any of my drives. I nearly panicked, until I realized I’d sent it to my friend Paula for critique a couple of years back. I went back into the emails, found the attachment, downloaded it, and converted it to .doc. I tried importing the PDF version, but it wonked again, so I imported the .doc, and it looks okay.

On the fence about importing STALEMATE DEATH. It might be worthwhile for the portfolio, but I doubt it would go out often. I think it’s just about served its purpose. There’s also the pilot of THE BROWNSTONE and of TALENT. Those need to be reworked, and maybe put into the portfolio. I will use and apply what I’ve learned as a script analyst these past couple of years to make my own scripts stronger.

The one I really need to concentrate on this winter is the pilot for THE WOMEN’S PRECINCT. That’s the one I’m truly excited about, and need to get back to.

I also found a script roster of loglines and information on scripts that all sound good, but according to the document they are written and I look at them and don’t remember some of them. So I’m not sure if that’s a document I wrote as an exercise, or if there’s more spelunking to do in old flash drives.

All of the above is a combination of leaning into the energies of the retrogrades, which is about going back and reworking or finishing older projects, rather than starting something new. This is something I talk about and share techniques for in THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS.

Unfinished projects drain energy. I need to clear the decks to make room for new work. To do that, I have to decide which projects to revive, get into the schedule, and finish; which projects to put in stasis, because it doesn’t make creative or financial sense to deal with them right now; and which ones I need to retire.

That will make room for the new work. It’s also using the information and energy of the retrogrades as something positive, rather than using the retrogrades as an excuse.

I’ve made a rough plan for the marketing of the Topic Workbooks (and including 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS with Nano coming up soon) for October through December. If I can ever get the danged graphic right, I can upload and schedule that. I also figured out the next couple of months of the LEGERDEMAIN campaign, more than just the episode-specific ads. So all of that has to get uploaded and scheduled in the next couple of weeks, in an around all the other stuff.

I also saw that I need to update the buy links on several Topic Workbooks. I thought I’d kept up with that, and am annoyed with myself that I did not.

DramaQueen has several levels of software, but I think I’ll be okay with sticking with the free version. Anyway, so far, so good.

I’ve dumped all the “project management software” programs with which I experimented. None of them have the range I need. I do better with the old-fashioned desk blotter calendar and colored markers. I’ve also kept up with the Work Wins Daily Journal Challenge set out by a colleague. I’m learning that some of the categories he set up don’t work for me. That’s going to be the first October blog post for Ink-Dipped Advice – what I learned from this challenge, and what I’m changing to suit my needs. So much of all these tools and platforms and systems is about compartmentalizing instead of making it holistic. For what I do, that’s detrimental to my productivity, my creativity, and my mental health.

Sunday, I was up at a reasonable time and baked biscuits.

I’d hoped to get the history of Legerdemain written and up on the website, but I don’t know what made me think I could create two thousand years’ worth of a country’s history in a couple of hours. So that’s taking longer than I planned.

In the afternoon, I switched over to plotting and working on my Writers’ Rough outline for the Retro Mystery. I had to keep stopping to look things up, which was frustrating, but better to have that happen now and jot down those details, than to get stuck when I have to draft at speed in November.

So neither project was finished, which left me frustrated.

I created an ad for 30 Tips for 30 Days, and got it uploaded/scheduled through October. November needs a slightly different take; I will either upload/schedule half the month today and half tomorrow, or all today and December tomorrow. Probably half today/half tomorrow and then December on Wednesday. Each month needs a slightly different slant, and there’s a lot to do this week.

I actually did a To Do list for the week, which sets my teeth on edge. To Do lists make me feel constrained, and then I sabotage myself, but there was simply too much for me to be able to look at the calendar and get it done. Urgh.

Read a book on Sunday by a well-known author which came highly recommended, and I was left with “meh.” I am glad to see the author try to tackle social inequity, racism, and domestic abuse in a genre that usually ignores it. But in so doing, she flattened out her central protagonists to make sure they were righteous, and that didn’t quite work. But at least she’s trying, in this genre, which is more than most attempt or fight to do.

Up at a reasonable hour on Monday morning. Good journal, yoga, meditation, and tarot sessions. Came up with a mantra for my intent for the week: “I thrive in situations where my work is respected. I remove myself from situations where it is not.” I will use that this week.

Posted the blogs, posted in the Marketing Game, made the social media rounds. Drafted Episode 42 of LEGERDEMAIN, which came in just under 1300 words, and was more fun than I expected.

Did the rounds of the library, the grocery store, the liquor store.

Adapted Chapter 4 of the third draft of ANGEL HUNT into 7 serial episodes, and smoothed out a few things. The chapter was 6500 words. So that was a lot of words handled, all told, yesterday.

Turned around 3 script coverages. One is missing a piece, and I sent in the information. I read what I had, and commented; I just need the missing piece to finish it.

Made turkey Bolognese for dinner, a different recipe than I’ve used before; I like it a lot.

Tired. Tired, tired, tired.

Woke up 2 minutes before the alarm went off, did the morning routine, and was out the door before 6 AM and over to the laundromat when it opened. Back by about 7:30. Still have to finish folding the sheets and put them away.

I did a few chapters of the multi-colored draft of CAST IRON MURDER. The book is good. I just wish publishers and agents weren’t so determined to ignore the pandemic and racism, which are two very important themes in the book.

I’m going to work on Episode 43 of LEGERDEMAIN. I have to be at the TV station across town by 11 AM, so I have to pull myself together for that. But I’m looking forward to seeing the facility and percolating ideas.

Williams College music department has tightened up the COVID protocols for their performances – proof of vaccinations and masking are again required. So maybe, just maybe, I’ll get to go and listen to some music over the coming months!

There’s a big push in the area to get everyone boosted with the bivalent formula. They’re setting up a lot of free clinics all over the place this week. That, too, makes me feel better. You can tell the tourists have left, because almost everyone in the grocery store yesterday masked.

Off to folding laundry and back to the page.

Episode 19 of LEGERDEMAIN drops today. Enjoy!

Have a good one, friends!

Tues. April 6, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 319 — Trudging Along

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Waning Moon

No idea about the weather; it’s still dark out.

No graphic today. There’s nothing that encapsulates the combination of determination and despair I feel.

Busy weekend.

Friday was frustrating. I tried to book a vaccine appointment for this week. But, although, as of yesterday, I am eligible, the system did not update the eligibility categories for this week’s appointments. They’re not doing it until this week.

Which meant I wasn’t actually eligible, and, as usual, they lied.

So, no appointment for me this week. Hopefully, they’ll release more appointments on Thursday, and I can book something for next week.

Worked on Friday, then packed and worked on contest entries.

Did a dump run and a grocery run, decontaminated.

Responded to the friend of a friend of a friend’s email about her house; haven’t heard back yet, but, fingers crossed. Dealt with at least another dozen scams. The scams take so much time and energy.

Woke up Saturday morning to a sprinkling of snow on the roofs and the yard. Not much, quickly melted, but snow.

Saturday was about packing, laundry, and housework. I packed the built-in from my office – teapot collection, things I’ve collected through the years that I keep around to keep my spirits up.  Ordered a roll of bubble wrap and more tape, but also had to run out and buy another roll of bubble wrap. So I had to go through decontamination and all that, and it set me back.

Packed the gardening books and magazines. Tossed a lot of stuff I didn’t need.

Did the laundry, cleaned the house.

Client sent something around 5 PM Saturday that she wants done; I responded on Monday morning, assuring her it would go out that day. I am not on call, especially not on a holiday weekend.

Found out I didn’t get a fellowship for which I applied. Which is fine, because it was a long shot, and, at least I tried.

Easter Sunday, I packed up the cookbooks (except for one). The kitchen looks and feels totally different without the cookbooks. Packed some more decorations. Found a suitcase in the storage room full of clothes I’d never unpacked when we moved here. Sorted through it – stuff that still fits that I like, stuff that doesn’t, that I’ll give away. Repacked the suitcase with stuff from my closet.

Worked on contest entries. I’m through almost all the print books in the second category, and then I can finish the digital books. It will be hard to make the final choices. There’s quite a stack of really strong possibilities.

Looked at rental listings and got depressed.

Purged and tossed a bunch of stuff I don’t need. There’s another dump run coming up this week, or early next week, I think.

Worried about a good friend who has COVID.

Roasted a chicken for dinner, so that was good. The leftovers will make some good meals.

Had a few false starts on the article.

Up early on Monday.  Wasn’t feeling well at all. Managed a run to Trader Joe’s; home, decontaminated, turned around some client work. Sent out some LOIs. Worked on contest entries.

Rental listings depressing.

Fell asleep in the afternoon (I told you I wasn’t feeling well). Felt a little better after that.

Watched some short films written by Alan Bennett. Both funny and sad. In between the books I’m being paid to read, I’m still reading novels by Ovidia Yu, which I really enjoy. The series set in Singapore in 1936 is wonderful. I’m learning a lot about the history of the region, and she’s so skillful in the way she weaves it into the story.

Up early this morning. I have a lot of client work to get through today, and then I need to finish my article and send it to my editor.

Two companies responded to my LOIs with demands for unpaid, project-specific work samples, I sent them my contract for that. No doubt, I’ll never hear from either of them again, and that’s just fine with me. Ethical companies do not have unpaid labor as part of a hiring process. I have massive portfolio samples across a wide range of topics. Use critical reading skills. Or pay me for project-specific samples. Otherwise, we’re not a match.

Onward.

Published in: on April 6, 2021 at 5:02 am  Comments Off on Tues. April 6, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 319 — Trudging Along  
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Fri. April 2, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 315 — Keep On Keeping On

image courtesy of Daniel Reche via pixabay.com

Friday, April 2, 2021

Waning Moon

Cloudy and chilly

Yesterday was a busy day, but it was a good busy day. Meditation was good. I got out a bunch of LOIs. I got client work turned around. I need a client to get something back to me today and I GUARANTEE the request will be ignored.

The editor sent me the article revisions – the second version this time, not the one I spent all the time working on yesterday. But it was two minor tweaks (because, in this version, I’d already dealt with some of the issues). So, although we’ve had a lot of back-and-forth, it got done, it got done on time, and no worries.

I worked on updating my brochure. It still needs more work. Sigh. I’m doing it in Canva this time; it was better in Pages. I have to decide on graphics. The new logo is fine, but there need to be some more interesting visuals amongst the text. In the last brochure, I used my own photos, but not sure that’s relevant to this one. I have to think about it.

Worked on contest entries I’m making good progress on the second category.

Looked at real estate listings, which were all over the place. There are some interesting listings, and I’ll contact them for more information. A friend of a friend of a friend has a possibility, so I will contact that person today. I’m completely open to moving out of state – provided I can afford the moving costs. Staying in state would mean keeping my health insurance and a bunch of other paperwork, but I have to see what my options are and weigh out all the costs.

Freelance Chat was good and fun and interesting – about taxes. I realized where I’ve made a big mistake (no wonder I kept getting “adjustment” letters), and, starting with next year’s taxes (this year’s are filed), I can fix it. Also found out that one of the “you should” that kept being touted at local networking events doesn’t work the way the touters claimed it does, so I’m glad I never did it.

Found out a friend’s mother has COVID, and my friend might have it, too. Worried about them.

I got two emails from the County for appointments opening up at noon today for next week, and a message from my health care provider, too. So I have some options for vaccines in the coming weeks, and I’m going to go in and cage fight for an appointment, starting at noon. Wish me luck!

Knowledge Unicorns was fine. We are taking a break next week. For some reason, the Easter breaks are all over the place this year. Some were a couple of weeks back, some are a couple of weeks ahead. So we’re breaking this coming week, and then regrouping. The pressure on these families to go back in-person with rising case numbers is unfair and ridiculous. The families are standing firm in not sending them back this school year. Period.

This morning, I have to make another dump run, then do a quick grocery run, and a library curbside drop-off/pickup. I want to finish a draft of my article, let it sit over the weekend, and send it to my other editor on Monday. I want to pitch a couple of other articles. I also have a book to review – I want to get that done and out, so I can get my next assignments.

This weekend, I also have to make up for the lower amount of packing I’ve done this week. I have to rev back up packing, keep cleaning out the basement, and start on the garage.

I also want to work on a play over the weekend.

As I type this, some wild turkeys are taking a stroll down the middle of the street, looking here and there, taking their breakfast stroll. We’ve lost so much wildlife in the neighborhood the last few years, between people cutting down trees and overbuilding and using lawn chemicals. It’s nice that we haven’t lost it all.

Keep on keeping on, right?

Published in: on April 2, 2021 at 5:28 am  Comments Off on Fri. April 2, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 315 — Keep On Keeping On  
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Fri. July 10: Die for Tourist Dollars Day 52 – Dealing With The Inner Five Year Old

scream-1819736_1920
image by Mandyme via pixabay.com

Friday, July 10, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Foggy and humid

It’s getting hot and humid, although nowhere as bad as it could be.

I got the garbage to the dump yesterday; timed well, not a lot of people, everyone masked. Then went to a grocery store that few tourists visit. Few people, plenty of room, everyone masked. Not hard to get in and out quickly.

Of course, in the tourist-centric areas, they’re acting like college students from the 1980’s on spring break.

You know what these reckless, selfish twatwaffles remind me of? Back in the 1980’s, when the AIDS epidemic was in full swing, some straight men used to pressure women for unprotected sex as proof you loved them enough to risk getting AIDS. It was a badge of –something, it sure wasn’t ‘honor’ —  to see how many women they could put at risk.

It didn’t work on me, but plenty of women I knew succumbed. Several got sick and died.

Because, as women, too often we are told we should be willing to “die for love.”

There are plenty of ways I’d do just about anything in a mutually committed, passionate relationship, but risking AIDS (or risking COVID) aren’t on that list. Not to mention if the guy actually LOVED the woman, he wouldn’t demand she should “prove” anything by putting her life in danger that way.

Toxic, all the way around.

Home. Full disinfectant protocols.

Then, my inner five year old took over and I didn’t wanna. It was triggered by something (someone) very specific and is an indicator of a lot more going on, none of which is appropriate to discuss publicly.

Eventually, I just sucked it up and got the work done. Because, ultimately, being a professional means showing up and doing the work, while holding boundaries and dealing with issues in a competent, cordial, professional way.

That didn’t stop me from enjoying cocktail hour when I was done!

I was too wiped out to do any coursework, which means I have a LOT of it to do today and this weekend.

I have the shape of the article that needs to go out next week done, and how I have to fill it out. And got out three LOIs.

I don’t work well in humidity, and there’s no air conditioning here, so I’m dragging a bit.

My mother isn’t feeling well, which is also worrying. Let’s hope with some rest and over-the-counter medications, she feels better.

I have to do some client work, including a stats report, this morning, get out some more LOIs, make a pharmacy run and a library run, and get my coursework done.

The past few days haven’t been good for fiction, and that has to readjust. But writing in longhand first thing in the morning, like I did yesterday and today, is helping get that back into focus.

I need to get some cards and letters written this weekend, too.

Anyone who remarks on “all the extra time” I must have during the pandemic is going to get a big ole smack right upside the head.

Absolutely loved Vivien Chien’s DEATH BY DUMPLING, and have started DIM SUM OF ALL FEARS.

Lilith St. Crow has been tweeting tales of her neighbors the past few days that make me laugh until I have tears running down my face (for all the right reasons).

Have a great weekend, friends.

Published in: on July 10, 2020 at 5:10 am  Comments Off on Fri. July 10: Die for Tourist Dollars Day 52 – Dealing With The Inner Five Year Old  
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