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.

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Fri. March 31, 2017: Musing on Writing Dilemmas

Friday, March 31, 2017
Waxing Moon
Venus Retrograde
Rainy and foggy and cold

Morning was filled with errands. Errands always irritate me, because I feel like I should use the time to write, especially since morning is my prime writing time. But, around here, it makes so much more sense to get errands done early. So I write even EARLIER, and then run errands, and then come back and try to write some more.

Worked mostly on POWER OF WORDS. I got a research book I need on corporate espionage for NOT BY THE BOOK that I hope to devour this weekend, which will help me get back on track for that.

On POWER OF WORDS, I added some inserts — I’m honing the world building of the created world that the characters are filming.

I’m starting to wonder if it makes more sense to release the piece as a full-out serial, instead of as a serial novel. Chapters run between 20-30 pages. There’s no way, that I can see, of making it financially feasible. The contents of each book really need to be somewhere between $4.99 and $7.99 for it to make sense for readers. The mechanics of setting it up as a serial, releasing a chapter a week, seem overwhelming at the moment. For the shorter “sections” (what I’m calling the books, should they be so released), someone would pay for the whole thing, and then receive a chapter per week. At the end of each “book”, the individual would have the option to renew the subscription for the next one or not. One would hope it would build in popularity, but with people wanting to binge-watch and binge-stream and people bitching and moaning that they want the entire series finished before they read a first book — it may no longer be feasible.

There’s too much “I want it now!” rather than enjoying a piece and then looking forward to the next piece. People are greedy rather than grateful. It’s a gluttony of the spirit, not just of the flesh, as pretentious as that sounds.

While I love to binge read a whole series, there’s also something lovely about the anticipation. Although, I get just as frustrated as anyone else when the next book isn’t ready on time. I’m wrestling with that right now from one of my favorite series — her release date has changed several times over the years (instead of being consistent, which, to me, is important in a series). Her next book is going to be three or four months late. I’m sure she has a good reason. But, the greedy part of me DOESN’T CARE. I feel let down (and it’s more likely to be the fault of the publisher than the author, in this particular case, because she’s good about deadlines, et al).

In other words, I am not immune to this phenomenon.

Where does that leave POWER OF WORDS (or whatever I finally decide to call it)? I’m not sure. So why do I keep working on it, when it’s gotten so unwieldy and out of control?

Because it’s my creative utopia. The central characters know they’re creating something new and different. It’s difficult and exhausting, but the exhilaration exceeds the exhaustion. As they find the right creative home, and as they expand to the other creative possibilities, there are more conflicts (both in scheduling, creative approaches, and personal lives) and more opportunities.

There’s an ever-expanding cast of characters, although there is a core group on whose creativity things are focused. As I rewrite and hone sections, I spread out the balance a bit better. First drafting, certain sections tend to tilt one way or the other.

On a professional, financial, business sense, this project makes no sense at all. It is definitely a project of the heart, and I have to keep the more financially feasible projects on their burners, and keep all these plates spinning (while mixing metaphors) in order to have a career.

But there is SOMETHING here. I think I can find it, if I keep at it. I have no idea how long it will eventually be (too long). I have no idea into how many volumes I will eventually break it down. I do know that one of the central relationships, that I thought would be able to endure, won’t. Making it endure would be too much of a fairy tale, and not organic to the characters. They love each other, but there are certain drives in each of them that won’t allow them to stay together as romantic partners in an HEA, although for a good portion of the central part of the books, they will.

The balancing act, however, with this project and others, is difficult, and I often spend more of the workday on this than the other projects which also require attention.

I tried forcing myself to work on the other un-contracted (but with a better chance of moving into the “contracted” category) projects first and letting the work on POWER be my “reward”, but then all I wind up doing is staring at a blank page for something else, while my mind spins with what should be going on in POWER.

It could be considered a lack of discipline, or an over-abundance of passion. Take your pick.

However, when there’s a contracted, deadlined piece in the mix, no matter what I “want” to work on, the contracted, deadlined piece comes first. He who pays the most and has the tightest deadline gets the first attention. That’s what you have to do as a professional.

While inside, I’m wild to get back to POWER. This is a case where I need to trust in its process and led it lead me where it will. Meanwhile, I will also play with different business models for its eventual release, and see where the two converge. It’s not possible to use a traditional model — there’s no way it could keep what makes it special, and still be feasible for a traditional publisher to take a chance on it. It’s not even fair to ask/pitch/submit, because the necessary changes would destroy what I’m trying to do.

So I have to figure out something else. I don’t know if I’m clever enough to create a new model, but we will see what happens.

Sometimes, just to relieve some of the creative pressure, I adapt some of it to teleplay format, and that shows me places to tighten, cut, keep the text moving better. Although I can’t see this succeeding as a television show, either, due to the enormous cast. Still, a strong pilot would be useful in the portfolio as a writing sample. Not as something I’m actually trying to get done, but a sample.

I’ve been re-reading William Goldman’s ADVENTURES IN THE SCREEN TRADE. I always learn something from that book. It also shows how much has changed in the business since the early 1980s — the advent of “reality” television, even some of the formatting techniques for a screenplay, the shortening of the screenplay, et al. Some things, such as endless, usually useless meetings, and the adage to “protect the star” in vehicles are the same, perhaps even more emphasized. But “No one really knows anything” is still true, as, I think, it is in any creative venture. You don’t know if something will hit until it hits, until it resonates with people, for whatever reason. And it may resonate for awhile, and then stop.

Great art — Shakespeare, Austen, the art of Michelangelo, the performances of Olivier — they sustain.

I wonder who will be considered our great artists? We certainly lack great statesmen.

At any rate, I have more errands to run today. We’re supposed to get yet another snowstorm tonight.

Tomorrow is April Fool’s Day. I loathe April Fool’s day. Far too many of the “jokes” come out of cruelty, not a joyful comedy.

Have a great weekend. I have a wrap-up over on the GDR site –– I did not live up to my own expectations as far as my “To Do” list there.

Onward.

Published in: on March 31, 2017 at 8:59 am  Comments Off on Fri. March 31, 2017: Musing on Writing Dilemmas  
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Wed. March 4, 2015: And We Keep Getting Pounded By The Weather (So I Write)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Rainy and cold

Busy weekend. Saturday was my Saturday “on” at work — had to go in there early for a meeting, we had a program, it was busy.

Ran as many errands as possible on Saturday, since another storm was expected on Sunday. Came back home, exhausted.

Sunday, ran a couple of final errands, and then got to work on revisions for INSPIRED INVENTION, the renamed first book of the behind-the-scenes series I’ve been working on sporadically for the past few years.

Also made beef stroganoff for dinner — played with the recipe and liked it.

It snowed again, Sunday night, about three more inches. I was up early Monday shoveling. Then, I attended a reception at the Barnstable Law Library for the 200th anniversary of signing legislation for the law libraries. It was lovely. I met the new head librarian, and re-acquainted myself with the other librarian. People don’t realize how important these law libraries are — not just for lawyers and paralegals doing research on cases, but for regular people to research aspects of the law, and for writers to do background work for pieces. They’re vital to our information accessibility.

Home and more revisions on INSPIRED INVENTION. Managed to get 145 pages total, revised.

Tuesday, made it as far as the post office. The side roads still suck. Came back, worked on revisions, and read through the 500+ pages I have for the series, which has to be broken down into manageable, book-length parts.

Revised up to page 188 of INSPIRED INVENTION. I’m also working on the tracking sheets, to keep things consistent. These chapters, that talk about casting discussion and the casting shuffles, are going to be the most difficult to track. This series is not for people who only like four characters in their stories — this has a huge ensemble and it’s a show-within-a-show, so the actors are also themselves and the character they play. These books break a lot of rules, and I have to stick to my guns about my vision for them. Which is why I haven’t yet submitted them — not just because I believe they need more work to be as entertaining as possible, but because it’s going to take a unique publisher to position them, and I need to make sure I’m positioned in a way to call the shots. There’s no rush; it will happen when it’s the right time.

Watching WEST WING episodes through all of this. Finished Season 5 and started Season 6.

More snow last night — when I went to bed, I was depressed, because about three more inches had fallen. But it turned to rain overnight, so the driveway and the path are fine. Some of the snowbanks in the yard are shrinking a bit.

Some more work on INSPIRED INVENTION. I need to get back to the second draft of the radio play, too, because once that’s done, I’ll have to let it sit for a few weeks, so I can make the necessary cuts with an unjaded eye.

Long day today, and then I have to bake tonight for tomorrow morning’s meeting. Read some books over the weekend — some about the business, getting me back into the right frame of reference for INSPIRED INVENTION, and others, novels, were just disappointing. Not even worth mentioning. I’ve had a run of reading disappointing novels lately; hope that shifts soon. I want to read something very good.

Off to work and back into programming head rather than writing head for a few days. I’m quite weather-weary, and it’s hard to stay optimistic when we keep getting pounded by storms. I keep telling myself that it could be a lot worse, and at least it started in late January, rather than last October. Be grateful for the good portions, right? But everyone is tired, and nerves are frayed.

Hope you’re having a great week.

Devon

Published in: on March 4, 2015 at 10:11 am  Comments (1)  
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Wed. July 16, 2014: Trying to Prioritize

Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Rainy and humid

The last few days have been so humid. I keep wanting to cut sections of air out, wring them dry, and put them back in. Might work in a fantasy novel, but not here!

Yesterday, I did some running around, and got the galleys back to my editor for “Elusive Prayers”, caught up on email, got some reading/research done. A little writing, not much. I want to tweak what I did on POWER OF WORDS, and I need to do a writer’s rough outline of both BALTHAZAAR TREASURE and DARK ANNIE’S SECRET before I can go much further on them. I’d done a ton of research for BT, but I need to refresh myself on it, and research Bermuda for DARK ANNIE.

Early dinner, and then to the library. They’d already done most of the set up for the Elisabeth Elo event; by the time I got there, it was mostly about the food, etc.

Her presentation was WONDERFUL, and it was nice that Tuesday book group was there and had read the book, so she was talking to an audience mostly familiar with the material. I liked so much of what she had to say, especially about the process of it and how the book came together. She and her husband are both lovely people, in addition to the quality of her writing being so high.

She signed a copy of the book for me — I still love that.

Helped with the clean up, came home, unwound a bit. Big thunderstorm in the night, which has helped cool down and make the air more breathable. Long day at the library today — lots came in on my days away.

I’m trying to sit down with the writing projects and prioritize. I need to figure out what to do when, and then also make sure there’s enough time built in for whichever one pulls the hardest, no matter where it is in the schedule. That way, I know what to work on as my first 1K of the day, and what to do in the evening writing sessions I’m going to have to build in to my day. I hate writing at night, but it’s the only way to get everything done.

I need to decide, this week, what I’m taking at the Conference, and whether or not I want to attend the banquet.

I’ve got some other changes looming on the horizon, some which won’t be easy to make, but necessary. There’s too much trying to interfere with the writing right now, and some of it has to be cut back, especially when it doesn’t support the writing.

Devon

Published in: on July 16, 2014 at 7:38 am  Comments Off on Wed. July 16, 2014: Trying to Prioritize  
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Tuesday, March 25, 2014: Decisions and Dithering

Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Waning Moon
Mars Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Supposedly, we’re getting hit with a blizzard tonight into tomorrow. The very thought of it makes me want to stay in bed.

Busy day yesterday. Wrote/rewrote the first chapter of the ferry girl novel yesterday and sent it off to my critique partner. Always scary. Went to work with students, but they hadn’t posted. Pitched for some jobs. Got the information on the film press kit job — it looks wonderful, and I’m so excited about working on it. Finished the next book for my editor, and have to write the review today. Worked on contest entries. Worked on a rewrite of a script. Moved an interview for a gig I’m excited about from tomorrow’s snowstorm to Friday morning. Nervous about whether or not things will be cleared up enough for tomorrow night’s rehearsal — we really need it before the presentation at the Grant Reception on Thursday.

Had to run errands in Falmouth and Sandwich, which took up most of the afternoon.

Dithering about whether or not to accept a job as a stopgap for the next few months at a lower rate, but would be steady money. I can already tell that the time/money ratio will be frustrating, but it would help pay off some bills. I have to make a decision today, even though I won’t hear about a couple of other things until later in the week. Saying yes means I’m making a decision out of fear, and that’s usually a bad thing. I have to dither for a few more hours, and then either suck it up and say yes, knowing it’s not a good choice, or say no and take yet another risk. I’m trying to figure out possible repercussions of each choice, and there are positives and negatives on both roads. I’m usually a decisive person, so when I dither, I get annoyed with myself.

I really want to spend time on the ferry girl novel and BALTHAZAAR today, but don’t know if I’ll get the chance. The rewrites on the script have to go out first.

Devon

Published in: on March 25, 2014 at 7:54 am  Comments (2)  
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Wed. Feb. 19: Errands and Storms and Low-Quality Writing

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold with yet another storm coming

I realized I didn’t blog yesterday. Oops. Not much worth saying, so neither one of us missed much.

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for seedling progress and the February Mid-Month Check-in for other progress, if you’re interested.

I had to run some errands before yesterday’s storm hit. The roads were awful. But I got in and out safely and then tucked in for the storm – plenty of snow, then switching over to rain, and we’re supposed to get another storm later today. I’m storm-weary at this point.

I lost all of Monday having to work on a particular document, but it’s done and out and let’s hope for the best.

Tuesday, I worked with students, got some pitches done, did some rewrites. I’m not happy with the quantity or the quality of my writing these past few weeks, and that’s very frustrating. I could live with a lower quantity if I was happy with the quality.

Did a bit of work on TRUE HOME and had to order a bunch of research books through the library to find out yet more stuff before I can write the current chapter. That’s why I usually prefer to research BEFORE I draft, but this is an entirely different process. Don’t get me wrong, though, I do love the research process.

Had errands to run this morning, as well. The driveway froze over and was a sheet of ice, in spite of shoveling, sanding, salting. Seriously, we could have run a few competitive events.

But I drive a VW, and the car handled it well. I ran my errands and then took the garbage to the dump. I only have to go every few months with household garbage. We recycle about 80% of what we create, so while we take recycling and yard waste about every ten days, the household garbage bins in the garage take a long time to fill and we don’t need many of those trips. Still, it always feels good to get it out of the house.

So, I’m late getting to the desk and getting the day underway.

I want to take my yoga practice deeper and more challenging. In these winter months, I tend to sleep in, but I’m going to start getting up earlier so that I can spend a longer time in my morning yoga and meditation practice.

My knee is healing well, but my back is still in bad shape, unfortunately. I hope the yoga can help with that, too.

Read a very disappointing novel. Great premise, but when your protag is an editor, the book damn well better be edited properly, and not full of structural, grammatical, and punctuation errors. Plus, the central love relationship had an undercurrent of nastiness to it (that was supposed to be humor) that made me uncomfortable. Add the lack of logic and plausibility, and not having the protagonist participate in the climax, and it was a disappointment.

Now, time to focus and get something worthwhile on the page. I’m feeling discouraged, and the only way to get out of the downward spiral is to do some good work.

Devon

Published in: on February 19, 2014 at 12:05 pm  Comments (2)  
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Mon. Jan. 6, 2014: Back To It

Monday, January 6, 2014
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Rainy, foggy, milder

It’s a little warmer today, before it dips back down to zero tomorrow, so it gives me the chance to finish clearing the snow off the deck and get some cat food into the house.

Busy weekend. Finished a teleplay, revised two screenplays, wrote three essays, did some invoicing. There’s a new post up at Gratitude and Growth about tomatoes.

Finished a book I have to review, read another book that I thought was overly simplistic and a little silly, and started re-reading Phyllis Theroux’s memoir THE JOURNAL KEEPER, which I really enjoy.

Yesterday, we spent the day taking down the holiday decorations (although we’re leaving the red ribbons up around doorways and windows until Valentine’s Day), changing out the fabric on tables, etc., doing laundry, putting everything away.

Normally, I’d have my Twelfth Night party tonight, but between not feeling well for weeks before the holidays and the bad weather, I’m better off doing one in spring instead.

The Editing Intensive starts today, I have a lot of admin work to do, I have to write a review, start two articles, and figure out an article pitch for a piece I want to write, and then figure out where to query it. Plus, trips to the post office, library, grocery store, and gas station.

Busy day!

Somewhere in there, I need to get back to the airship steampunk story, which is due soon, start revisions on the 30 minute teleplay, and start the play for which I got the grant!

Devon

Fri. Dec. 20, 2013: Solstice Blessings

Friday, December 20, 2013
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and mild

Busy day yesterday, working on the novella and a couple of scripts. Got some reading/research done, client negotiations, grocery shopping, and finalizing the insurance switch. This insurance plan will serve me much better than the previous one.

Have to finish decorating the house for the holidays — I’m behind on EVERYTHING. I’ve done some ecards, but the bulk of the cards will be for the New Year rather than Christmas/Yule.

The NMLC got a grant to partner with me on the play. So that’s two yeses on grants for this project, one no, and one from whom I’ve yet to hear. Looks like it will be happening. Now I have to write the darned play! 😉

This morning, had to be out of the house early to take my mom for her bloodwork, and then head further into Falmouth to the Credit union, picked up a few things on the way back, and hit the library. We are so blessed to have such wonderful, vibrant libraries on the Cape.

Looking forward to the Solstice tomorrow, and having a thoughtful, creative weekend.

Devon

Published in: on December 20, 2013 at 11:41 am  Comments Off on Fri. Dec. 20, 2013: Solstice Blessings  
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Wed. Oct. 23, 2013: Corsets and Doubt Demons

Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde

Busy day. I’m very unhappy with the screenplay. The logic isn’t holding, and I haven’t figured out how to fix it. I’ve veered far from my original outline — maybe going back to it, somehow, will fix it, instead of the new direction that I thought would raise the stakes? What I need to do is push through on this draft, finish it, put it away for two weeks, and then rip it apart.

To clean my palate, I worked on another project. Hopefully, that won’t fall apart, too.

Got out some pitches, had some negotiating conversations. Am in a holding pattern for one project, gave some quotes on another. Someone I thought wasn’t interested has now circled back, but the questions indicate we are probably not a good match. I will still answer them politely and see.

Bad headaches.

Had to run errands. Batched them all together, plotting the route for maximum efficiency and using the least amount of gas possible. But I was still exhausted by the time I got home.

Getting in the plants. It’s too cold to leave them out. Pretty soon, I’ll have to rub down the furniture with teak oil and get that in, too, and then turn off the hoses. The yard needs some serious attention re: raking, too.

Hit with a bad case of the blues last night. Doubt demons attacked. Hopefully, I can work through it soon. Hate it when that happens.

Tonight, I get to suit up again as a steampunk mermaid for the Writers’ Center Annual Meeting. Not looking forward to driving in a corset!

Devon

Published in: on October 23, 2013 at 7:04 am  Comments (2)  
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Mon. April 15, 2013: Back in the Groove of the Book

Monday, April 15, 2013
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Ugh. The day we mail our taxes. Hate it. There was an article in the Sunday paper how writing the checks for taxes should be a matter of pride. Honey, when Congress stops pandering to special interests and does the work for which I pay them, I’ll take pride in it. When Congress behaves the way they have lately, especially the GOP and Democrats too cowardly to stand up to anyone, no dice.

Don’t remember much about Friday, except I know I worked and ran errands and dealt with bills and all sorts of other things. I’m trying to wind up the paperwork from the play, but getting what I need from the people who still have stuff outstanding is like pulling teeth. And I’m still waiting on the sign-off for a press release that needs to go out TODAY. Hate that.

Saturday, I got back into the groove on the book, working on Chapter 8. Felt good. Yesterday was all about newspapers and taxes. And four loads of laundry, including show laundry. I’m trying to get stuff from the show sorted out, so I can return what needs to be returned, and properly pack and store the rest for October’s gig.

This morning, I finished Chapter 8 and wrote Chapter 9. Fifteen pages (approximately 3,750 words). The flow is going well, and that’s a huge relief. I have a lot of business and admin stuff to take care off, and to make sure I get the damn taxes mailed and date-stamped properly, but I’m glad to be back in the rhythm of the book, and into the rhythm of other articles I’m working on. Will finish up the contest entry paperwork today and get that off this week, along with some other errands. Time to make a clean sweep/fresh start on the desk, and to go after the next higher tier of client.

Happy start to a productive week, I hope!

Devon

Published in: on April 15, 2013 at 7:57 am  Comments (2)  
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Mon. Dec. 3, 2012: In NYC for Costume Imp’s B-day Bash!

Monday, December 3, 2012
Waning Moo
n

Can you believe it’s December already?

I’m the featured artist over on Weekly Artist — check it out! Drop a comment, so they know you stopped by.

I am in NY today, for Costume Imp’s birthday. Left yesterday, will be home tomorrow night.

Friday was busy and stressful. Had to do some errands, fretted a lot.

Started doing my coursework for the Introduction to Astronomy. I’m not going for certification, just auditing. I like the class a lot, but the math is beyond me. If I was willing to put in about 30-40 hours at the outset catching up, I could learn it and do it, but I don’t have those hours and the access to a tutor, so I’m just auditing, taking notes, etc. I’m still getting a lot out of it, and I’m not sucking away time from anyone who is going for certification.

This class will be a huge help in the aviation mystery, since, especially at that time (late 1940’s) a lot of night navigation was still done by stars.

Plus, it’s a lot of fun.

After watching some of the lectures, I went out to “look up” and put what we discussed into practice — but since it was getting ready to snow, I didn’t see much!

Will have to remedy that later this week.

Saturday was better, although I’m just so fatigued all the time lately. There was a line at the post office — looks like everyone’s got their cards done and their decorations up already. And it’s only December 1! I always felt so organized in NY, and I feel so behind here!

Finished making Costume Imp’s present. It was lots of fun. Hopefully, he’ll gt a kick out of it.

Sunday morning, the newsletter went out for December, and then, off I went!

I’m looking forward to celebrating Imp’s mega-birthday!

Devon

You can still sign up for the Flash 7 Workshop — write, revise, submit 7 Flash Fiction pieces in 10 Days, Dec. 7-16. Info and registration here.

Thurs. Nov. 8, 2012: Nor’easter Still Hammers

Thursday, November 8, 2012
Waning Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Rainy and cold

We didn’t get hammered by the snow, the way they did over the bridge and in NY, but the nor’easter is still going strong. Wonky power, going in and out during the day. Nothing like having to re-set all the electronics every few hours!

Got out some quote requests for a press release I’m writing. Worked with my tarot students. Worked on a couple of proposals. Suffered from post-Election Hangover Syndrome (and I didn’t even drink on election night)!.

Read a mystery that had some engaging aspects, but lacked logic within its world on so many details that it drove me nuts. However, one of the clues planted was terrific. The rest, I’d figured out pretty early, but that one clue was very clever. Too bad the rest of the book didn’t live up to it!

Doesn’t look like I’ll be able to get out to run my errands today, other than paying bills. Couldn’t even go to yoga this morning, due to downed trees and the high winds.

So I’ll just write! 😉

Devon

Published in: on November 8, 2012 at 7:28 am  Comments (2)  
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Tues. Aug. 28: First Day of Sustainability Course at Coursera

Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and muggy

I worked all day yesterday, but don’t feel like I got much accomplished. I was tired, so it took the neurons longer to fire to get anything done. I managed to mow the front — the leaves are already falling. Got the party gown to the dry cleaners, made a trip to the library, worked with students, interviewed a source for an article (what could have been a 20 minute call took THREE because we were both prepared). Worked on the article for the NMLC and didn’t like any of the versions I came up with, so I have to figure it out this morning.

Started my class at Coursera, Introduction to Sustainability, taught by Dr. Jonathan Tomkin. There are 26,000 people signed up for the course. Yup. Twenty-six THOUSAND. Kind of cuts into the one-on-one time, y’know? 😉 Anyway, I read through the orientation material and spent some time on the forum with the other students, which is a required part of the class. It’s a little overwhelming, but I think I can hack the academic aspect of it. I plan to do most of the reading today, to give me time to take notes, write this week’s paper, interact some more, and take both quizzes.

Authors’ meeting, via Webinar, with one of my publishers last night was a bit frustrating. First of all, I resented that it started at 9 PM my time — that’s inappropriate, to expect me to attend a business meeting that late. Second — I didn’t find the information relevant to my relationship with the company. And now they’re talking about setting up another such meeting. Unless it’s during the reasonable course of my work day, no.

Talked to my editor — we’re getting ready to dive into OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE work, which puts the squeeze on CRAVE THE HUNT, but I have to find a way to juggle. Also, have to get at least 20 pages of a 40 page project drafted today, and have to take back the carload of stuff to NMLC.

I made Certificates of Completion for my year-long students. I thought that would be something fun to have as a remembrance from the course. Hopefully, I set it up properly, and they can download them!

Back to work.

Devon