Wed. Aug. 15, 2018: Getting My Creative Feet Back Under Me

Wednesday, August 15, 2018
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mars Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

They told us showers Monday night. We had a monsoon. The yard needed it, but still. Glad I didn’t have to be out in it.

Client work yesterday and today. Getting back into the rhythm so that I can buckle down and really push on RELICS. Getting back into the groove for DHARMA.

Got a stack of LOIs out. Have some more to work on this weekend. Working on articles for Ink-Dipped Advice and Biblio Paradise (the Lucy Burdette piece stays up another week at the top of the feed — I’m posting a new piece next Tuesday). Check out the new piece on Ink-Dipped Advice today, though, about being paid appropriately for multiple skills.

I need to get back into the pattern of pitching articles. That’s really fallen by the wayside this year, and it can’t. I like the work, and I want to keep doing it. Don’t get me wrong, I get plenty of requests to post articles on money-generating websites — but they don’t want to pay, so no thanks. This is my business, not my hobby. An occasional post swap with another author whose work I like and respect is one thing, and yes. The demand that I work for free while the site owner earns money off my piece? No.

Lots of positive feedback on Monday’s article about self-respect. I’m glad it helped. I’m done with non-reciprocal respect. I will almost always meet a new-to-me individual on the base foundation of respect. However, if that person proves unworthy of that respect — which includes showing me the same respect from the get-go — excommunicated from my universe. Done. I will not be a doormat or otherwise badly treated because that individual demands “civility” without behaving with it.

The mid-month check in is up on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site. I’m behind on just about everything, and the rest of the month is about catching up.

Savasana/Sukasana/Reiki was great last night, as usual. I will be sad when the class ends.

Back to the page.

Published in: on August 15, 2018 at 12:35 am  Comments Off on Wed. Aug. 15, 2018: Getting My Creative Feet Back Under Me  
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Wed. Oct 24, 2012: Wide Feedback and Wacky Road Conditions

Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Yesterday was about cleaning, yard work, trying to get information I needed in order to get it to someone else, waiting to hear word on a project, working with my students, making lasagna, etc. One of my editors fought for me and got $$ for something the publisher wants me to do, but didn’t want to pay me for. Love this editor.

Got my feedback on my final project for the Sustainability class — which was the first three chapters of the mystery novel. Two people thought it was a great idea, and, although I didn’t encompass every idea in the first three chapters, they could see where I was setting the seeds, and how it could grow. They loved the idea of subtly melding these ideas in a work of fiction, rather than standing on a soap box. The third peer reviewer HATED it. Hated everything about it, said I didn’t understand what a “class” was and what it meant to write a paper — now, considering how many of us were doing non-traditional, art-based projects and HAD PERMISSION to pursue them, that was inappropriate. The funniest comment was, “There’s no room for Nancy Drew in sustainability” and the individual was mad that there was a dead body in the first chapter instead of a treatise on conservation. Um, it’s a murder mystery — you need the dead body to set things into motion! Ouch, and yet I couldn’t help laughing, because the vitriol came from such a place of narrow-mindedness and self-righteousness, all one could do is shrug. You could say, “I see what the person is trying to do; I don’t think it’s effective” rather than people don’t have a right to express sustainability concerns in terms of art. I knew it wasn’t going to please everyone, but the response from the other two reviewers at least let me know I’m on the right track. They had some excellent suggestions to keep it on track and raise the stakes.

Got on the road a little after one. Dropped off the minutes for tonight’s meeting with the president of that organization, returned books at Sandwich library — one was overdue and I had to pay a fine. 2 cents. TWO CENTS. Seriously. I handed over two shiny pennies. Hilarious.

Drive to Providence wasn’t bad, although there was construction around New Bedford and the dipshits who cut around cars and force their way back in, in a single lane, because they think they’re so important they can’t be behind another car drive me nuts.

Didn’t get lost this time, found the bus drop-off, and there was Costume Imp! Drive back was fine, we got settled, heated up the lasagna, opened a bottle of cabernet, and had a good dinner.

Lots to do today, and then tonight, is the Writers Night Out Dinner and Annual Meeting.

I have papers to read, work to do with students, and edits to which to attend.

Devon

Published in: on October 24, 2012 at 6:51 am  Comments (2)  
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Mon. Oct 15, 2012: OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK Cover & Rough Weekend

Monday, October 15, 2012
New Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Cloudy and mild

Here it is! The cover for the second Jain Lazarus Adventure, OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK! Once again, my cover artist is the wonderful PJ Friel, who did the art for HEX BREAKER and also for the anthology in which we both appear, DEATH SPARKLES. I’m pretty happy with it. I’ve also got my second round of edits to deal with this week!

“The First Three Pages: Dynamic Openings”
workshop is on for next Saturday, October 20, where we spend the day making the opening of the novel or short story as strong as possible. More information here. “Dissecting Submission Guidelines” has been rescheduled for November 3.

The weekend was rough, on several levels. Good, too, but rough. Deadbeat client still hasn’t paid me — the check can’t be “in the mail” for this long. Typical of someone who runs around yapping about how much they “work with spirit” — total bullshit. Especially since I’d given this client a special rate, lower than my usual one. Not happening again.

Wrote one of the best kick-ass critical essays on a book in my life on Friday. I’d been working on it for two weeks, had voluminous notes, but sat down and pulled it all together on Friday. My editor loves it, is taking it to his bosses — but, it still needs to be cut by 2/3. That’s my first task this morning. He’s still going to use it to try to get me more prestigious assignments, and I’m going to use it as a sample, and possibly as a basis for an article on a quartet of semi-related novels this author has written (which I couldn’t address in this piece), It wasn’t wasted, even if this publication can’t use it in its entirety. That’s the reality of word counts and space requirements — something, I would say at least 80% of writing students don’t get on any given day. You have to be able to fit the available space, or you don’t get in. They can’t expand space for YOUR work and lose advertising or encroach on someone else’s space.

Wrote a paper for my Sustainability class on leveling the policy-making field by removing lobbyists (and how to do that). Kept looking for the feedback on the rough draft of my final project, which was supposed to be ready by Wednesday and . . . nothing. A little disheartening, as was not getting a timely response on my submission questions and finding out that I could only present one and not both of my projects. I realize there are a lot of us, but the lack of administrative response for things is not handled as well in this particular class as in both the others. And if the feedback is supposed to be available Wednesday, and the final project is due on Sunday — the feedback should DEFINITELY be available by Friday. I went out of my way to provide feedback on more than the required amount of projects during the first couple of days in the week because I know that, even though all 26,000 students didn’t submit projects, a lot did, and everyone who puts in the work deserves feedback.

Also took the time to comment on five of my fellow students’ papers in the World History Class, as was required. Lots of good writing, but only one out of the five went beyond regurgitating the information we got in class, which was disappointing. Of course, my paper went way out of the box, and I bet you dollars to doughnuts “my peers” grade me down for doing more than spitting class notes back up (but I have a list of really cool sources, and I’m going to use it as a basis for an article for the AFL-CIO magazine).

I woke up on Saturday, feeling lousy and cranky, and glad that I’d been smart enough to cancel the day’s workshop, because I could not have done justice to my students. I was worse than a bear with a sore head, and that’s not fair to them. For once, I listened to myself and knew I wasn’t well enough to teach, and cancelled early enough not to screw up anyone else’s schedule.

I was even more disheartened when I logged on to the workshop I’m teaching, and, out of the entire class, only two people bothered to turn in the assignment on time. Not acceptable, and entirely disrespectful. Every moment I spend on their work is time I’m not spending on my own, and I resent it when they can’t be bothered to keep their commitments. It’s disappointing, because the quality of the work is good, but the fact that they can’t keep a simple commitment — and this is an extraordinarily light course load for one of my classes — it’s not about writing when you feel like it or “get around to it”. It’s about getting it done when it’s due.

I’m taking three classes at coursera right now, EACH requiring 7-12 hours of work a week (which means I’ve added 21-36 hours of additional work onto my already long days) ON TOP of keeping up with current deadlines, the courses I’m teaching, and freelance work to pay the bills. If I can do that, and I’ve kept on top of ALL my course assignments because I’d be letting MYSELF down hugely by not meeting those commitments — someone with a 400 word piece due and more than week to get in done can get it in on time, no matter what else is going on.

The rest of the day was spent finishing up the work for the final Sustainability project, which means I had to revise the first chapter of the marine life mystery and write the next two chapters, and then massage them so they were polished enough to submit. It took me awhile to get back into the groove, but once I did, it went pretty well. I explained, in the Cover Sheet notes, that not every topic inspired by the Sustainability course was going to be fully explored in only the first three chapters, but again, I expect to be marked down by my “peers.” And again, that’s really fine, because I’m fulfilling the commitment to the class, and I’m also getting out a lot of material I can use far beyond class. I would, however, have liked to get that feedback before submitting the final, to see if I needed to tweak it one way or another to fit the class parameters. But I didn’t, so what the hell, and I polished, proofread, and uploaded it a day early. This week, I’ll read five other class projects (as required) and comment on them. I also watched the rest of the videos and took my two quizzes. The less I study for those quizzes, the better I do on them, for some reason.

I was so tired and cranky and felt so lousy that I read Nora Roberts to do something different. Now, I totally respect what she’s achieved in her career, and admire her work ethic enormously. However, her tendency to head-hop in her scenes always leaves me feeling slightly motion-sick, so it wasn’t quite the cure I was looking for!

Sunday was all about coursework, once I’d read the paper and played with the cats. I watched all the week’s videos for the World History Class and took all the quizzes (there’a quiz at the end of each video — I aced all of them). The professor is terrific, and it really shows how we’ve been making the same mistakes since the beginning, over and over, in cycles, financial crises and all (there have been similar ones as far back as 1720, all caused by greed on those making the most money — sound familiar?). We also got our “weekly letter” from the professor; out of 83,000 students, only 1800 submitted papers and he thinks that’s a terrific percentage! 😉 We certainly do math differently, or perhaps, he just has a more realistic picture of how people lack commitment. He keeps emphasizing how he hopes the class helps us make connections in the ways different elements in history affect each other, and he’s certainly opening up my perspectives enormously.

Then, it was on to the Greek and Roman Mythology course. This professor, and his Coursera administrative student assistants, do something called “Screenside Chat” which is just awesome — taking questions from the discussion groups and going into them in more depth, so we feel like there’s more connection and community. I watched all the week’s lectures (I’d already worked on the readings) and took the quiz — I got 88, not too bad. I also got the assignment for this week’s paper, which I’m REALLY looking forward to.

So, that was a pretty good day — I felt tired but accomplished by the end of it. And I finished early enough to have a relaxing evening.

This morning, the woodpecker was back — at the same spot we just fixed. I’m going to have to go hang an owl representation in that spot to keep him away.

Will plant the rest of the bulbs today, and clear out the rest of the vegetable patch (we harvested everything left to harvest before Saturday’s light frost).

I did some work on the non-fiction proposal, and will start organizing it today. I want to get it out the door in the next few days, strike while the iron is hot.

Devon