Thurs. May 16, 2019: Process, Viability, and Attitude Adjustment

Thursday, May 16, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Check out the latest on the garden here.

I still have the Go Fund Me up for the car repairs. Your help in sharing is greatly appreciated.

I was pleasantly surprised that the insurance adjustor got back to me on Tuesday night. Part of the repair costs will be approved. Hopefully, I’ll get the check soon; then I’ll know if and when I can shut down the GoFundMe, and schedule the next phases of repair. Even a little bit will be a relief.

I just hope it doesn’t make my insurance skyrocket.

I also have to face the fact that, within the next couple of years, I’ll need a new, or at least new-to-me, car. I love my little blue rabbit. But it’s twelve years old.

Woke up at 3 AM yesterday. The good part about 3 AM is that, from 3-5 AM, it’s relatively quiet. I can get some thinking and plotting done, even if I don’t get up and actually write.

I got up at 5. Worked on ELLA BY THE BAY. Worked on GRAVE REACH. Worked on articles, and on blog posts that have to go up in the next few weeks. Worked on the review of the book I just read.

I’ve now written my way four chapters into ELLA BY THE BAY. It’s a viable book. The next step is to sit down and do a writer’s rough outline, so I can continue with an idea of where I’m going.

My process has changed over the years, from being a total blank pager, to being a total outliner, to mixing the two. I get an idea; if it nags me, I write about four chapters, to see if it can sustain. If it can, I then outline, and then go back and write it.

Some pieces can’t sustain. Some are okay, but I do a nice temporary chapter ending and put them aside to get back to “someday.” (See my Topic Workbook THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS for more on this).

But “process” has to change, as we grow and change as writers. How I created work twenty years ago doesn’t necessarily work the way I do it now, although some tools still work.

Went in and worked onsite with a client.

Came home, changed, had a quick snack, and then drove to Brewster to participate in a panel discussion for a local organization.

Of course, I had handouts. Because I am the Queen of Handouts.

We got off to a bit of a rocky start. I’d given myself an hour to drive there, which would mean I arrived 15 minutes before start time. But the traffic was lighter than I expected, and it only took me 45 minutes to get there. So I was a half hour early. I’m often that early to events — it gives me time to prepare, set out handouts, find out the structure of the event, etc. However, as I tried to get into the building, a board member came out and said, “You’re really early. We’re in the middle of a meeting. Come back in ten minutes.”

Excuse me?

I am one of your guest speakers. An UNPAID speaker, on top of that. (I rarely accept unpaid gigs at this point, but I did here because of my connection with the organization). The proper greeting is, “We’re so glad you’re here! We’re still in the board meeting. I’ll get you set up over here until we’re done.”

Not “come back in ten minutes” so I had to sit outside in the cold.

When I was on the board, I considered it my JOB, my RESPONSIBILITY, my HONOR to make guest speakers and presenters feel welcome and appreciated. I also considered it my job to make the audience feel the same.

“Come back in ten minutes” because they’re busy? No.

I sat outside, fuming. I was tempted to rant on social media. Which was inappropriate. I was tempted to leave. And then I thought, why? Why behave with as little grace as this individual? I’m not Top Poobah Writer of the Universe who demands minions bow to me. It’s really not that big a deal in the scheme of the Universe. It gives me important information, and factors in to future dealings, but, really, it’s not a crisis. I got over myself. Because, in the bigger scheme of things, apart from both my ego, and from feeling that’s not the way to treat people who donate their time to an organization, getting over myself made more sense.

Which was the right choice, because ultimately, it was a lovely evening. My fellow panelists were delightful. The questions, for the most part, were excellent. Except for the couple of people who went on and on about the “art” of what they do and how they didn’t like we talked so much about business. (The topic of the evening was business-oriented, so go figure).

Well, first of all, one does not negate the other. My passion for my art does not mean I forfeit my right to earn a living at it. And if you want to succeed as an author, the business part of it is part of the gig. All of those making faces about how they “don’t do” or “don’t like” websites and social media and all the rest can either pay someone to do it for them — and really PAY, not the attitude around here where $20 is supposed to pay your rent for three months, or better yet, you’re supposed to be THRILLED to do it for free — or suck it up and learn or don’t do it and have a different career trajectory. But if you do the latter, don’t whine that nobody pays attention to you.

Still, it’s an important discussion to have. The more information people have, the more informed decisions they can make for the path that works best for them. There is no ONE WAY — thank goodness! It would be far too dull.

But I’m glad I did it. I saw some people I hadn’t seen in ages, and that was great to catch up.

And I’m glad I didn’t stay mired in annoyance. That wouldn’t have done any good for anyone. This was a case where recognizing the emotion and CHOOSING to move on from it made a lot of sense. I didn’t ignore my response. Nor did I pitch a tantrum. I was able to face it and see how it fit into the bigger picture, and make the best choice for me, which turned out to be positive for everybody.

However, if this individual treats the keynote speakers and better-known workshop presenters at the conference this way, it’s going to hurt the organization.

Happily, it is not my problem!

It was still light-ish driving home, which was nice. I had Prince turned up on the radio for a few miles, and then, by the time I got to Yarmouth, I drove through Yarmouth and Barnstable with the windows down singing along with various radio songs at the top of my lungs. Which was really fun.

The abortion ban in Alabama is disgusting. So are the bans in Georgia and Ohio. I am sick and tired of old white male religious zealots trying to control me. And who are bound and determined to kill me if I don’t “behave.” They must be stopped. Especially when they give rapists more rights than rape victims.

The level of corruption in our government is appalling. Russia is delighted.

Last night, I dreamed about a large tree falling. It woke me, and I was upset, but I managed to get back to sleep. When I looked it up, it said it indicated that I’m “on the wrong path.” Which path is wrong? I’m preparing to make several major changes over the coming months. Is it warning me where I am at this moment is wrong (which I know) or that the options I’m looking at are wrong? So now I’m really confused and worried.

Today, I’m working on ELLA BY THE BAY, GRAVE REACH, and the articles. I hope I can polish the review well enough to send it off, either later today or tomorrow. Hopefully, I’ll be able to go to yoga.

If the weather holds, I’ll do some yard work.

I have a new Trusted Reader for GRAVE REACH. She’s going to read GR, and I’m going to read her magical realism she’s-not-sure-what-it-is.

I hope the rest of the quotes I requested for articles come in soon, so I can finish them and send them off. My mechanic can’t give me an estimate on the rest of the work without seeing the car. That means losing another day of work to go to Plymouth, and then losing another day of work when repairs are actually done. Whereas if I have them done here, at the original estimate, they will drive me to and from work and home. The money I lose by losing those days in Plymouth will even out what I’d save in actual repair costs. So I’m not sure what to do.

I have some more pitches to finesse and send out. I was about to send out a short story to a market, only to find it closed early this reading period. Oh, well.

I also have to finish the first draft of the short play that has to go out this month, so it can marinate for a few days before revisions, and polish “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” so it can go out next week.

One step at a time. That’s the best I can do.

Thursday, May 9, 2019: Phases of Stress

Thursday, May 09, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

Well, I just feel beat up six ways from Sunday.

If you get a chance, I’d appreciate if you could share my Go Fund Me link for the car repair.

With no car, and public transportation less than wonderful in this area, I switched around my day on site with a client. I’ll go in tomorrow instead. I walked down to the library (only about a mile and a third); it was a pleasant day, I didn’t mind.

Got some work done there. One of the volunteers was kind enough to drive me home when she left (and it meant I could take home the heavy books that came in).

I brought out some of the big pots onto the deck and did some pruning. I should have done more, but I was exhausted, both physically and mentally.

Got a pitch out to a high-paying consumer magazine. Got out a couple of other pitches and LOIs.

Trying not to let the stress of the situation incapacitate me, because that won’t solve anything.

Cooked a lovely dinner of chicken in garlic and wine, served with mashed potatoes and spinach. A friend gave me an amazing bottle of Blood Orange Rose – one of the best wines I’ve ever drunk.

Up early this morning. Got some good work in on ELLA BY THE BAY, and will put in some work on GRAVE REACH later today.

The driver was over an hour late to pick me up, but I got there. Phase One of the car repair is done. I can drive it short distances, but I have to be careful on construction, bad roads, etc., until Phase Two is done. Then, there will be Phase Three and Four, but at least we’ve broken up the repairs over time. And I can get to my local client, although I can’t visit any long distance clients or go over the bridge until it’s all done.

Getting out a couple more pitches this morning. I’ll have to mow the front yard this afternoon (it’s supposed to rain tomorrow). I’m onsite with my client tomorrow for a few hours, then have a lot of local errands to run. Saturday I’ll have to take the garbage to the dump; we’re at capacity.

I have a book to read for review, and I also want to do a push on finishing “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” and the first draft of a short play that’s due in NYC at the end of the month. I’m trying to pick up some extra one-and-done high-paying assignments.

I can’t go away for Memorial Day, but I’m going to take some time off and decompress. Memorial Day isn’t that far away!

Sent in the winners and finalists on the contest; invoiced today.

The worst part of this experience is it makes me feel worthless as a human being. I realize that most people don’t have a spare $2300 sitting around, and it’s not unusual to be panicked by something like this. But it still makes me feel like a failure.

That ridiculous USA today article that accused “most people” of “typically” spending $1800 month “they don’t need” – by the way, lunch and personal grooming was included in that – enraged me.

First of all, I don’t know many people who have $1800 they can spend on non-essentials. Second, “essentials” has a wide range. Plus, we need some joy in our lives or we can’t survive. Who is this study to decide what is “essential” and not? And, if one more person does the whole, “For a cup of coffee, you can . . .” or “just don’t buy your $5 cup of coffee and you’ll be financially solvent in six months.”

Total B.S.

Especially since I don’t go out and buy $5 coffees every day. Most of the time, I make coffee at home – that tastes better. A coffee at a coffeehouse? A great treat. I might do it once every few months, meeting a friend or colleague. I hardly ever eat out. I bring my lunch with me when I work onsite – both because of cost and because it’s too isolated to effectively go out to lunch. I don’t take taxis or rideshares; I don’t need them.

Nor do I feel deprived by not doing those things. I LIKE the coffee I make at home (and it keeps the experience of coffee out as a treat). I’m a cook. I like it and I’m good at it. I like cooking at home and eating at home, and cooking for friends. I don’t keep a standing appointment to get my hair cut mostly because I don’t like the way most of the salons do it here.

It’s a bogus study meant to economically shame people who are barely getting by, and who might indulge themselves in a meal out or a treat once in awhile. It’s ridiculous.

Anyway, I’m hoping I’ll have a decent weekend of writing, gardening, and reading. And I’ll do extra yoga and meditation to de-stress.

I’m reading Emily Nagoski’s Burnout. Every two or three pages I burst into tears because it’s so relevant to what I’m going through right now. Hopefully, I can learn some good coping techniques.

In any case, for me, today, it’s back to the page.

Thurs. May 2, 2019: Trying to Get Back in The Groove

Thursday, May 2, 2019
Day Before Dark Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Cloudy and chilly

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

I’m still struggling to get my energy back. Still feeling burned to a crisp. I’m going to take a little extra time around Memorial Day Weekend and just relax. But that’s still four weeks away. I have to find pockets of rest in there, or I won’t make it.

Onsite work with a client was fine. I played with some ideas for a new marketing campaign. Threw out most of them, because I couldn’t see how we’d get a worthwhile return. There were a couple of minor irritants, but nothing that was a big deal. The long term picture is getting sharper, and I’m more aware of the pieces I have to rearrange to achieve what I need and want.

Picked up a few groceries. I was so tired in the store that I stood holding a can of tuna wondering why the label made no sense — until I realized it was cat food, not people food.

Came home, worked on contest entries, made dinner, re-watched THE NEWSROOM. Played with some ideas.

Woke up around 3 AM, managed to get back to sleep for a few hours. Wrote 1K of a new project. I’m going to write about four chapters to see if it’s viable. Then my 1K on GRAVE REACH. I actually have to up the 1K/day on GRAVE REACH this month, in order to get everything done.

Headed for the library to get some work done, bring back some books, pick up some books. Then, there’s yoga. I might swing by a client’s quickly in the afternoon to take care of one thing so it’s not hanging over me.

Then, it’s back to contest entries. I’m doing a big push on them this weekend, so I can start making my final decisions next week. They’re due on the 10th, and I want to make sure everything is in good shape. I’m also starting to fill out the electronic scoring sheets. It’s a process.

I’m working on the Tip Sheet for the panel discussion for the event I’m doing on the 15th.

At some point in the next few days, I have to make multiple dump runs for the household garbage, recycling, and yard waste. Don’t like doing it in the rain, though.

Doing more Caribbean research, and continuing with classic ocean liner research.

Need to get some LOIs out, and work on an article, and an article pitch. Also have to make requests for a couple more article quotes. I have to finish and send off some letters in support of an organization with which I used to be affiliated, and also prepare some interview questions for a writer who’s guesting on the blog.

Never a dull moment. Which is a good thing. If I can beat this fatigue, I’ll be fine. It’s hard to think straight when I’m so tired, and I’m making stupid mistakes.

Back to the page.

 

Thurs. April 18, 2019: Some Cycles Are Tougher Than Others

Thursday, April 18, 2019
Day Before Full Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Rainy & cool

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

It looks like I may be moving webhosts again, or at least when my current term nears expiration. Here I thought A2 hosting was so great. Their price point is perfect. I like their panel. Yet the fact that I can’t access my sites from anywhere I want means they cannot serve my needs. I work on different machines in different locations. That is the nature of my work. I need to be able to access my sites WHENEVER and from WHEREVER I need. But because I don’t do so from a “static IP” address, they claim I triggered a firewall and won’t let me sign in far too often.

Basically, I’m only “allowed” to sign in from a single computer they recognize. Which is not how my life works. Nor am I going to change it to suit them.

They claim this is for “security.” Yet my email accounts have been hacked multiple times by outside sources and they shrug and tell me there’s nothing they can do. But I cannot access the sites for which I’m paying far too often. And ALWAYS when I’m under time pressure.

Which means A2 Hosting cannot meet my needs, and I must look elsewhere. Which is a shame, because there are so many things I like about them. The plan has to be affordable, allow me to run unlimited websites and unlimited email accounts, and also allow me to sign in from whatever computer and wherever I am located in the world.

A2 Hosting was great for the transition away from the awful 1&1, and they are light years superior to 1&1. A2 is so much better than Green Geeks. You remember what I nightmare I went through with them when I was trying to transition my sites over a year ago. But A2 Hosting is still not what I need. I am not an IT person or a developer, nor can I afford to have one on-call. I understand most of WordPress and am always learning, but I can’t run my own server. I don’t have the skills. I need shared hosting.

Both InMotion and SiteGround have come highly recommended. They were under consideration for the last move. I may talk to them both again.

I’m really tired of the sales departments of these hosts writing checks the tech department won’t cash. I ask very specific questions when I’m interviewing hosts, and when I’m assured they can and will meet my needs, I expect them so to do. They need to stop lying and misleading in order to land the sale.

I checked out Blue Host and HostGator. They could not meet my needs.

So the search continues. I welcome recommendations. My registrations are now all with Name Silo and I love working with them. No drama. Great customer service. Great prices.

The event I attended the other night was not what I expected, and not for the better. It was presented as a speaker teaching us how to make best use of visuals on social media. Instead, in an hour and a half, the “speaker” — reading from notes she took at someone else’s social media basics workshops — never got beyond joining groups on Facebook. Well, that’s the way it goes sometimes. Now I know.

Wednesday morning, I worked on GRAVE REACH and on my presentation for next week’s NECRWA workshop. Two people I really like have let me know they’ll be in the workshop. It will be great to see some friendly faces.

Had to send an email ending a situation where I feel I’ve been jerked around for a week. It should have been simple and straightforward, and the other person is making Big Drama. Sorry. I keep it on the page and out of my life. The person responded in the evening, wanting to string me along indefinitely. So I said no and ended the situation. It leaves me heart-sore on one level, but I’m tired of the demands in this area of constantly having to accommodate everyone else’s neuroses, and not getting ANY accommodation for ANYTHING ever in return. It’s non-reciprocal, and I’m not participating.

Waiting to hear back from another potential client who told me they’d make a decision at the end of last week. I’m assuming they’re still negotiating with their first choice. We’ll see what happens. On the fence about whether I’d even say yes at this point. If I’m not the first choice, it’s not the right situation for either of us.

Got a weird email back from one of my LOIs, trying to justify making an offer to someone else. Hey, doesn’t matter to me. He’s the one hiring. The email made me think he has hirer’s remorse already. I sent a gracious email back.

Got out some LOIs. Had to sent a follow up email to one of the radio producers, because it’s been nearly a month and no check yet. Professional protocol is that the check goes out the day of or the day after the final performance. Not whenever someone feels like getting around to it.

I’m weary and exhausted from all the crap.

It’s all cycles. I had a strong cycle a couple of weeks ago, and now it’s more difficult. I have to acknowledge the frustration, the anger, the pain instead of pretending it doesn’t exist. I have to sort through each situation logically and figure out the best way to respond, handle, extricate, or move forward. Then I have to take the actions so to do.

My life is mine. It is not to be lived for others’ convenience or agendas.

I’m invited to another event next week, and I doubt I’ll attend. Why bother? It’ll be same old, same old. Lots of meaningless chatter in the moment, no follow-through. Then, when I follow through, trying to get me to work for nothing. That’s the pattern here. I’m not playing the game anymore.

Working on contest entries, working on GRAVE REACH, working on “Aurora Nightingale.” I still can’t get those two scenes where I want them.

Tempted to work on GAMBIT COLONY, although I really shouldn’t. But working on that piece is a great stress reliever.

Working on the presentation. I think it will be a lot of fun next weekend. I’m not happy about being in the last slot of the day, when I’m at my lowest energy, but hey, someone had to be in it, so why not me? I’ll pace myself during the day and then pull up the energy and leave it all out in the room when it’s my turn.

I had hoped to have four solid days to do yard work, but it will be raining the entire time I have off. I need to get into better alignment with the weather, so I can get the yard done!

Going to do some policy work with a few people later today. That will make me feel better. Doing something that might actually make a positive difference somewhere.

So, yeah, going through a few tough days. It will even out eventually. In the meantime, I’m frustrated and exhausted and disheartened.

 

Published in: on April 18, 2019 at 9:06 am  Comments Off on Thurs. April 18, 2019: Some Cycles Are Tougher Than Others  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thurs. April 11, 2019: The Attempt to Balance Writing and Yard Work

Thursday, April 11, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

And, I’m finally on Instagram as @devonellingtonwork.

Not happy that Jupiter’s going retrograde right now. That’s going to create obstacles to what I need in the coming months.

Working steadily on contest entries. Every time I pick up a book, whether it’s judging a contest or to write a review or to read for pleasure, I want to fall in love with it. That moment before opening the cover is so exciting.

The stress of the week is getting to me, but I’m trying to plod on. The next few months are going to be over-the-top for stress, and all I can do is mitigate as much as possible.

Appointment this morning, then I take my mom to the doctor, then yard work (if the weather holds), then writing. And contest entries.

I have to get back to purging the basement soon, too.

I’m not happy with the second half of “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” and am ripping it apart and working on it. It’s lost the farcical tone. I rewrote most of the second half yesterday morning, before I headed in to work with my client. The third-to-last and second-to-last scene still need more work. But it’s better. It’s still not where I want it to be, though.

I need to spend some quality time with the books I got from the library about luxury ocean liners, and researching the top news stories of the time in which it’s set.

I was exhausted when I got home yesterday from the client. I may have to stop in for about an hour to fix something on a big project I sent out, because the file was so big, I had to use Maildrop, and I’m not sure the recipient CAN use Maildrop.

A bunch of ideas are spinning, and I’m trying to see which ones are worth pursuing, while still keeping up with what I need to keep up with. That’s why the “Whatever” notebook I started last month is such a help. I just scribble notes on whatever comes to mind, with the date, and then I see if it’s worth developing.

Woke up a little after 3 AM this morning, so I’m going to be cooked — again – -by mid-afternoon.

Back to the page.

Published in: on April 11, 2019 at 8:40 am  Comments Off on Thurs. April 11, 2019: The Attempt to Balance Writing and Yard Work  
Tags: , , , , ,

Thurs. March 28, 2019: Trying to Shake off Mercury Retrograde Fatigue

Thursday, March 28, 2019
Waning Moon
Mercury Direct
Sunny and cool

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

Yesterday was one of those difficult, frustrating days. By the end of it, I felt beaten down, humiliated, and wounded. I’m tired of online interactions forcing information I do not wish to disclose in order to do a basic transaction. I am dissolving several customer relationships with businesses and organizations because they demand information that has nothing to do with my buying their products. I WON’T give it to them, and they refuse to let the transaction continue until I do so. Therefore, I won’t do business with them.

But at least the six-day migraine eased up by the end of the day.

Worked with a client. Worked on the books for review. I hope to have both reviews done and out the door by tomorrow.

I’m back to work on GRAVE REACH, which needs to get to the editor in the not-too-distant future. I finally figured out what Sam, my male protagonist, does for a living. He’s a forensic psychologist. So now I have to familiarize myself with that profession.

I’m also working on the final proofs for the almanac — they are due early next week. The changes are pretty simple, and the design is lovely. I’m pleased that I was able to participate again. I had a good time. The almanac will drop in August for 2020. I hope the keep me on for 2021.

I’m playing with some ideas for a few things. I need to start carrying around a notebook for random ideas instead of trying to organize everything from the get-go into its own little box. Because some ideas wind up working well together. So I chose one of the notebooks I bought during school season last fall, and its special pen (every notebook needs a special pen, that works best with it), and it’s becoming my “Whatever Ramblings” book. I will carry it around most of the time to jot whatever, and then figure out what fits where.

I need to get back to the Frieda/Lazarus radio play this weekend, and also to the monologues. Plus everything else I’m juggling.

I hope, with Mercury going direct, this sense of gloom and discouragement will lift.

Had a good conversation with a potential client, but I have a feeling they’re looking for someone younger. But the organization would be excellent with which to work.

I’m supposed to pick up a printer in Harwich, which I hope will get me through what I need to print for my workshop at the end of April. I’m hoping, in May, I can buy a new laser printer, since I can’t seem to get my old Brother laser up and going again, even though it has a new drum and new toner. But it won’t grasp the paper properly.

I’m so tired of products built to fail to force you to keep buying newer, lower-quality products.

I’m tired of a lot of things today.

 

Published in: on March 28, 2019 at 9:54 am  Comments Off on Thurs. March 28, 2019: Trying to Shake off Mercury Retrograde Fatigue  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Fri. March 8, 2019: International Women’s Day

Friday, March 8, 2019
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold
International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day!

How about we all treat each other with respect and dignity EVERY day?

Yesterday seems long ago and far away.

Hop over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest gardening post.

I wrote in the morning. I did some work at the library. Got out some LOIs. I went to yoga, which was great.

I made a Thai-style chicken noodle soup for lunch, good on a cold day, but I still don’t like coconut milk. I have to research if there’s something I can substitute.

Read, worked on contest entries, worked out plot points on stories.

Finished re-watching the Roger Rees-starring NICHOLAS NICKLEBY. He was such a damn good actor. That show had a huge impact on me when it came to Broadway. I was just starting out then.

Errands in the morning, work at the library. I’ve got to get another month’s worth of Twuffer posts up and out for marketing purposes. Then, I’m meeting a friend for coffee in Falmouth. More errands in the afternoon, then reading and working on contest entries. I need to finish the book I’m reviewing, write and polish the review, so it can go out on Monday.

Most of the weekend will be focused on writing. I need to particularly focus on the monologues and on the straw hat play. Of course, it’s GAMBIT COLONY that wants attention. Because of course it is.

Pretty soon, I have to get down to work with GRAVE REACH. I have to get a draft of that to my editor in a few months.

Not happy that we’re “springing forward.” I always feel like I’m behind the beat for a couple of weeks.

Have a great weekend!

Published in: on March 8, 2019 at 9:55 am  Comments Off on Fri. March 8, 2019: International Women’s Day  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Thurs. Feb. 28, 2019: Snowing & Planting

Thursday, February 28, 2019
Waning Moon
Snowing and cold

Hop on over to the GDR site for February’s wrap-up, and over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

Yesterday was a mixed bag of client work and other things.

I heard back from a producer to whom I’d pitched a play on Tuesday. He read it overnight, loved it, and is going to recommend to the company to do it. He’d like more with these characters. Hopefully, it will all work out.

I finally got a chance to listen to the production they did last summer of “Light Behind the Eyes” and they did a good job.

I heard from the other radio company to whom I’d pitched, located in California. They wanted to let me know they are a little behind, but would give me an answer by the end of April.

So far this year, one of my radio scripts will be performed in early April in Boston, and another in early to mid-May in Minnesota. With three more plays in the pipeline for Minnesota, and possibly more in Florida.

All these gigs are paid, professional gigs. Which is great, since I love writing for radio, but I’m past the point of working for free.

I have to get back on track with the novels, though, and spend some time on the stage plays as well this weekend. I’m planning it to be a fairly quiet reading-and-writing weekend.

I was onsite with a client and couldn’t watch the Michael Cohen hearings, although I caught up with them later. It’s stunning to me that the GOP members on the committee aren’t at all upset that Cohen lied FOR the Narcissistic Sociopath; they’re upset he’s no longer doing it.

It snowed last night, and we woke up to about 5 inches of fluffy, lovely white stuff this morning. I was out early shoveling. Figures as soon as I was done, it started again!

I’ve got some work to do at the library, then I’m meeting a writer friend for an early afternoon cocktail later on. Looking forward to it.

Working on the contest entries and the book for review. And reading Ed Ifkovic’s Edna Ferber mysteries just because I want to.

Not looking forward to going out in this weather, but, oh well. Sooner I get out there sooner I can get back.

And go back to the page. I’m hoping to get some more work done on the Straw Hat play today, and work on the monologues.

Have a lovely snowy day! Guess March is really going to come in like a lion these next few days.

Guess I won’t be traveling anywhere for my birthday in a couple of weeks.

 

Published in: on February 28, 2019 at 10:20 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Feb. 28, 2019: Snowing & Planting  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Thurs. Feb. 21, 2019: Developing the Monologues

Thursday, February 21, 2019
Waning Moon
Sleeting and cold

Hop over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest post.

Had a decent writing day yesterday, and a good session onsite with a client.

Got out the comic ghost story radio play (numbered draft), along with some other paperwork for them. Waiting to hear back from that company on a few different things, including my contract.

The weather was turning, so I came home after the client session, and worked on contest entries.

SCRATCH, the book about writers and money, is really wonderful. And the experiences can be applied across disciplines in the arts. Someone on social media couldn’t understand how a book about writing could apply to any other art. If everything has to be spelled out directly in your own reference, how can you possibly create art? Art is about going beyond the expected, and knowing how to make connections beyond the obvious.

Also reading A PARIS ALL YOUR OWN, edited by Eleanor Brown, which is a wonderful anthology of writers and their experiences in Paris. It also lists their books. Some of them I’ve read; many I haven’t.

I’m also determined to track down a book by Jeannie Moon. She was disparaged by a person calling herself an author who said that a romance novel where the woman is ten years older than the man is “gross.” How sexist and ageist is that? So now I’m determined to read the book.

Between the lists of Parisian books and Jeannie Moon’s book and recommendations from the post on A Biblio Paradise’s Reader Expansion Challenge, I have a wealth of choices for the next challenge!

Did some work on Gambit Colony.

Watched HIDDEN FIGURES. What a beautiful, beautiful movie! Made me both laugh and cry. I can’t believe it took me so long to sit down and watch it.

Worked on the monologues.

I planned to test one or two of them last night, but decided not to because of the weather. Of course, then the weather didn’t get bad until later, but it would have been a challenge to get home.

Public reading is not something I can do off the cuff. I write for performers; I am not one. But, of course, a professional writer has to give readings. It’s even more layered when it’s from a stage piece that I have no intention of professionally performing — the actors cast will perform it.

However, the monologues from WOMEN WITH AN EDGE have served me well over the years — both in the professional productions where actors have performed the monologues, and in readings all over the world, both live and on radio. Those monologues have been around and performed since the mid 1990’s. The evergreen ones can be called up and spoken/read at the drop of a hat.

I need to test the monologues I’m creating for WOMEN WITH AN EDGE RESIST. At some point, when I have a batch of them, I might call upon some local actors to come over for a session and read. Or hire a rehearsal studio for a few hours, where we can read. Maybe hire a space over at Cape Space.

But right now, it’s too early in the process. I need to speak them myself and gauge a reaction. I need to feel the rhythm in my body in order to revise properly.

When there’s a script with multiple parts, it works better for me to bring in actors and listen to them read. That way, I can feel how individual rhythms develop and make adjustments. (And yes, I’ve often paid actors to come in, sit around a table, and read an early draft of a script).

But with monologues, unless I’m developing a piece with a specific group of actors (which needs time, access to the talent pool, and money), I need to read aloud the initial drafts myself. I need to feel the rhythms in my own body.

After a few drafts of the monologues, then I’ll bring in some actresses, and we’ll work in the room. But I need to test the initial drafts with an audience, once I’ve read them aloud myself a few times. Whenever possible, I also tape the reading, and listen to it for objectivity. I do this when I rehearse readings from my books as well.

By listening, I can figure out rhythm. Where do I need to take a breath? Where can I speed up? Where should I slow down? Is there anything that needs to be cut, because it doesn’t work in the piece?

Anything that is spoken needs to be heard. Simply looking at words on the page isn’t enough. Even when I have enough experience to feel the beats as I write them, I also need to hear them. That’s true of radio, stage, or screenplay. Having actual actors (not just random people) read the words out loud during the development/drafting process makes a huge difference.

Obviously, it was easier to do that in NY than it is here. First, the talent pool is smaller here. Second, even though there are some wildly talented people here, theatre is a “side” not a “priority” and getting people to commit and fulfill that commitment — even for a one-shot reading — is not easy. Anything shiny dangled in front of them will take priority.

It gets frustrating. But it is also vital to the process.

But I can’t just decide at the last minute whether or not I’ll read. I have to feel confident that the draft I have is ready for comment. In other words, it will have gone through several drafts, and I will feel it’s solid enough to have feedback.

Then, I have to rehearse it, so it feels natural when I speak it, and I’ve found its innate rhythm and show it off as best as I, a non-performer, can.

Had I gone last night, I would have read “Smile!” and possible “Emotional Lifting.”
“My Life in Quicksand” is still an unfinished first draft; while I’m having fun with it, it’s nowhere near ready to be read yet. Most likely, I would have just read “Smile!”

I’d rehearsed, to the point where I felt as comfortable as I can feel when reading. Which is “never very.”

But then, I have to gear up myself emotionally. I need the focus of my emotional energy to be set aside for that reading. For several days leading up to a reading date, I pace myself differently, and I store up the necessary energy, so I can tap into it during the reading. I do this when I teach in person, too, or attend a conference.

Even though I wrote during the day. Even though I did client work during the day. I had to pace myself and save myself.

So add in a storm to the mix, snow and sleet, and bad road conditions at night, in an area where people are lousy drivers on a good day — I made the decision the night before, based on the weather forecast that said it would start getting nasty in the late afternoon, not to go.

In other words, that saved emotional energy was then released and dissipated into other projects.

I kept waiting for the storm to start. It didn’t.

Part of me was tempted to just drive to the open mic and read.

Only I’d used up the emotional energy I needed in order to read well on other projects during the day, because I’d made the decision not to read that night. Could I have read?

It would have been flat. It wouldn’t have given the audience something worthy of response, which meant I wouldn’t have gotten what I needed for the next draft.

It was snowing a little after eight, so it was a moot point anyway. I wouldn’t have gotten home until nearly ten (I don’t read and run — I stay for everyone’s work, and then we usually chat).

Have I ever just stepped in and stepped up to an unexpected opportunity? Or a request to fill in for someone who backed out at the last minute?

Of course I have. I’ve done well. Because I dig deeper, making like a hockey player, and use the adrenaline rush. I’m wiped out after, but I can do it.

I can do it not with new material, but because, after all these years, I have a wealth of material and experiences I can use to draw from in a spontaneous talk. It’s been hard-won, but it’s there.

So that was my Wednesday night.

Today, I have lots of admin and LOIs to do, then yoga, then, hopefully, a good afternoon writing and working on contest entries and the book I’m reviewing. I also am prepping for my client meeting tomorrow.

Which means that tomorrow’s post will go up late, probably in the early afternoon.

We have more storms this weekend, so I’ll tuck in to read and write.

 

Published in: on February 21, 2019 at 10:20 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Feb. 21, 2019: Developing the Monologues  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thurs. April 4, 2018: Brief Sun Before More Snow

Thursday, April 5, 2018
Waning Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

They’re predicting another snow storm this weekend. Enough!

Tired, on many levels right now. I’m struggling.

Onsite work with one client was quiet, but busy this week. I’m behind where I want to be on SPIRIT REPOSITORY, but that seems to be a theme for the book. I’m working on the outline for the serial, and need some more time for it. I’d like to get it out at some point next week.

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest.

Working on next week’s post for Ink-Dipped Advice, next Monday’s #Upbeat Authors post, and for a guest post over for Writer’s Worth month on Words on the Page.

Need to get back on track with MYTH AND INTERPRETATION, too, although we’ve come up with a potential cover image to start building its cover. We also found some great stuff for the cover of RELICS & REQUIEM, and possibly even GRAVE REACH. SPIRIT REPOSITORY will have its cover reveal tomorrow. My newsletter subscribers got it first!

Working on the updated media kit for TRACKING MEDUSA (since the one I’d worked on dumped last week, and I’ve had to start from scratch). I still have a good deal of work to do on the Jain Lazarus site.

The main focus right now is finishing SPIRIT REPOSITORY so it can release on schedule, and get back in gear with both MYTH and RELICS & REQUIEM. I have to get started on DAVY JONES DHARMA pretty soon, too, to keep that on track.

I read Alice Hoffman’s THE RULES OF MAGIC. It’s about the early life of the aunts in PRACTICAL MAGIC, which is one of my favorite books. I loved a lot of this book, but I got frustrated with the characters sometimes, their refusal to learn more about what they are, the lack of curiosity. It also made me think about the thread throughout many books, of the healers in a community who are shunned by day, but people creep to the door for their help at night. Not just in this book, but in literature in general, across genre. It makes me wonder why characters and authors allow characters this type of hypocrisy without consequence. Yes, it happens in life. But I would also like to see some characters, sometime, somewhere, refuse to condone and enable it. It’s gotten me thinking, in a good way. Which means the book touched on something deep in me, even if every reaction to it wasn’t positive, and the book did its job of getting me to think, to feel, and to ask questions. So my final response is positive.

Today, I have to run some errands and go grocery shopping, do some more research on ANCESTRY, do some yard work (if the weather holds), and, most importantly, WRITE.

I feel like I’m juggling two-ton dictionaries right now.

Back to the page.

Thurs. March 8, 2018: (Webhost) Moving, Moving

Thursday, March 8, 2018
Waning Moon
Stormy and snowy
International Women’s Day

I sat down to work on SPIRIT REPOSITORY yesterday morning. I am SO CLOSE to finishing.

And realized the chapter I’d written on Tuesday was from the wrong point of view.

This book is carefully structured in POV shifts in alternating chapters. I screwed up. Odd chapters are supposed to be from Bonnie’s POV, even from Rufus’s. Well, Chapter 31 is from Rufus’s. I’m ready to bang my head against the wall.

I was so tempted just to keep going, but I couldn’t. It changes the action. So I had to go back and rework the material. Something I couldn’t afford on any level on this deadline.

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth to read the latest post.

And hop on over to the GDR site for a post on Intent.

The Cerridwen’s Cottage site is re-designed. I don’t have all the material uploaded yet, so I’m not officially sending people over there yet. I’m happy with the re-design. It’s giving me ideas to do a few tweaks on the Coventina Circle and the Nautical Namaste sites.

I might add a plug-in on the Devon Ellington site. The Twenty-Seventeen template works for that, but I want to change the background color on the page without writing new CSS code. I’m hoping a plug-in will fix it. If not, I’ll leave it white. White’s easy to read and to navigate, and, considering how much content I have on the page, it makes sense to keep it white. I have to figure out how to activate the social media stuff.

The Twenty-Seventeen Template did not work for the Cerridwen’s Cottage site. I switched to Twenty-Sixteen and am much happier. The Gwen Finnegan and Jain Lazarus sites are on Twenty-Sixteen, and I think I might move Coventina and Nautical Namaste to them, too, mostly so that I can do background colors on the page, and not just the border.

I’m unlocking the Fearless Ink site and prepping for that move. That’s the last of the sites that has to go. I’ll cancel my hosting package with 1&1, once it’s safely moved. Then I’ll be able to move, in 60 days, the registrations for all three domains, over to NameSilo. And I will be free of 1&1.

I will never know how much business that webhost has lost me, because of the lack of customer service, downtime, lost or delayed emails, and then, refusing to let me post jpgs unless I pay a separate monthly fee. I’m well rid of them.

I’m much happier with the new designs on the various sites, and the flexibility being on WordPress gives me. I’ve learned a lot. I still have a lot to learn, but at least I’ve learned a lot.

Once the sites are up, I can get back to writing and marketing. And creating new content.

I’d already rewritten the Fearless Ink content when I tried to move from 1&1 to Green Geeks. So it’s a case of putting in the time to the design, and then uploading the text already written, tweaking as needed. Maybe adding some graphics.

The new logo is back in re-design. As much as I liked it, a good friend pointed out that Freudians would have a field day with it. So, back to the drawing board.

I’m working on the newsletter, which will go out either the end of this week or early next week (probably early next week).

I have a meeting tomorrow morning with a potential new client. I hope it goes well — even in the emails setting it up, we seem to have a good time. Their work is a bit out of my wheelhouse, but it intrigues me.

Later today, I need to head into Hyannis and pick up some bus tickets; heading into Boston this weekend, if the weather holds.

I’m playing with new series title ideas for POWER OF WORDS. I want the double entendre without being cozy-mystery-cutesy. Unfortunately, everything I’ve come up with so far sounds vaguely unsavory and naughty in the wrong way, so no good so far.

I didn’t use the exact word I wanted above so  the bots pick up that term and start posting awful sites in the comments?

Onward.

Which seems to be my mantra lately!

 

Thurs. March 1: New Month, A Willed Start

Thurs. March 1, 2018
Full Moon
Sunny and mild

Full moon! No full moons in February, but, once again, two in March. Interesting times, my friends, interesting times.

Hop on over to the GDR site to see my “To Do” list for March.

Check out Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

Yesterday was a good day, working with my client on some ads for her line. We’re juggling the spring 2018 and the fall 2018, and will shortly look ahead to spring 2019. Reminds me of working on the calendars and almanacs, where we’re working two years ahead.

Some good work on SPIRIT REPOSITORY yesterday, and, after a busy day today, I look forward to digging into it this weekend and finishing! I will be so happy to get this manuscript off my desk and to my editor. And then, in a couple of weeks, getting it back and fixing its problems. Clock is ticking on this one.

Once REPOSITORY is done, primary focus is on MYTH & INTERPRETATION, with secondary focus on RELICS & REQUIEM. Those deadlines are looming faster than I’d like, too. But, if I hold to the streamlining my editor and I talked about on MYTH, it should chug along quite nicely. And parts of RELICS have been writing themselves in my head over the past couple of months, plus i have a solid outline for it, so that’s a relief.

THE FIX-IT GIRL and NOT BY THE BOOK are still clamoring for attention; I need to do another pass on DEATH OF A CHOLERIC before we send it out on submission. And POWER OF WORDS (I’m rethinking the new titles for the series yet again, so I keep referring to it by its original title which can’t be used in publication) is pulling.

I don’t mind a strong creative flow, I just have to keep on top of everything.

I’m going to start the webhost move on Cerridwen’s Cottage today; I’m hoping it will be smooth; in the best of all circumstances, I can start building live on it tomorrow; in the worst, sometime next week. I kind of liked building the subdomains live, even though I know it’s not the best choice. But it’s easier than getting a temporary URL, changing everything in the pHp admin, then changing it back, then trying to move it.

I have to praise A2 Hosting for their help. Whereas 1&1 can’t be bothered to provide the tech support for which they’re paid, or even respond to anything with more than “call us” — which is NOT an option for me — A2 has been willing to work with me and find solutions. At least, so far! I’ll know for sure once all three sites are moved!

We’re supposed to get a major storm tonight going into tomorrow. I hope it’s not as bad as they say. I’d like to be able to hold tomorrow’s appointments.

As far as today goes, I have appointments and website stuff in the morning, yoga, taking my mom to doctor’s appointments, and grocery shopping on the way home, just in case the storm is as bad as predicted.

Never a dull moment, which is a good thing.

Hopefully, I can post tomorrow. If I can’t, due to the storm, have a great weekend!

 

Thurs. Feb. 22, 2018: Stresses and Deadlines

Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018
Waxing Moon
Rainy and cold

Wacky weather.

Check out the latest post on Gratitude and Growth here. I’m trying to revive that blog, along with everything else.

I’m weary. There’s some stuff I can’t discuss publicly that has to be thought through and decisions made. It’s been a rough week. Especially since the bulk of the unpleasant chaos was unnecessary and caused by someone who is manipulative and a nasty piece of work.

On a happier note, the Devon Ellington Work site is coming along nicely. I’m pleased with the design; no muss, no fuss, easy to read. There are still a few glitches, some more material to add. But the host moved happened, and it’s just about ready to announce — once I figure out why the pages I trashed show up published under the home page!

I’m working my way through the emails, getting all the necessary accounts re-set, too.

The Coventina Circle site is also coming along well. It’s about halfway there, and should be ready for its live announcement in a few days. I’m building all the subdomains live, which is risky, but necessary.

Nautical Namaste, Gwen Finnegan, and Jain Lazarus all have temporary landing pages. I hope to have them finished next week, and then I’ll start on Cerridwen’s Cottage, get that moved, and then, last but not least, do Fearless Ink.

On a writing front, I’m frustrated with myself. I haven’t been pitching enough articles; I haven’t been sending enough LOIs; I am pushing to get THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY done on deadline, but I’m struggling.

Between the web host stress and difficulties on another front, I am worn out, physically and emotionally. But deadlines aren’t suggestions; they’re deadlines. So I’m pushing through. Once I get this book off my desk and to my editor, I’ll feel better.

Of course, then I’ll be focusing on MYTH & INTERPRETATION, and starting RELICS & REQUIEM. And finishing FIX-IT GIRL so it can go out on submission and getting back to NOT BY THE BOOK. But REPOSITORY must get the bulk of my writing attention now. I’m in the last few chapters. It’s just making them work, and picking up the pace.

We have some more cover discussion for SPIRIT, too, coming up.

Once the websites are live, then we can start putting our marketing ideas into play and get some promotion done on these books.

I found the photos for the special page on the Gwen Finnegan site, where I got inspirations for TRACKING MEDUSA. I’m excited, when I get to the point where I’m building that site, to put those up and share them.

Working steadily on the books submitted for the contest. I finished the first batch of mysteries, and I’m working on the fantasy genre now. I’m glad that the entries are so strong this year.

I’m looking forward to a productive few days, and then, maybe, maybe, just focusing on hearth and home issues this weekend!

Published in: on February 22, 2018 at 9:45 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Feb. 22, 2018: Stresses and Deadlines  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,