Fri. Jan. 15, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 240 — Blocks of Creative Time

image courtesy of Gerd Altmann via

Friday, January 15, 2021

Waxing Moon

Cloudy and cold

Although it’s milder than normal for this time of year, it’s still cold and raw.

The Mid-Month check-in is up on the GDR site, and looking at how short the list is, I feel like crap.

Which is a shame, because I felt pretty good after yesterday’s work on the book proposal. It has to go out by Sunday, although I’m hoping to get it out today or tomorrow.

This particular organization’s guidelines are structured very differently than a traditional book proposal, so I’ve had to change my process to fit it. It’s a challenge, but in the right way. I feel good about the work I did. I don’t know if it’s what they want, but I have something solid that I can use, be it for them or somewhere else, and that feels good.

It was a good mix of finding the right resources to source for research to support the themes I the novel, and to talk about schedule and process. I need to move some material around today, and polish it. As I did my first couple of editing passes yesterday, I was alarmed by the overuse of passive voice and the overuse of adverbs. Thank goodness for edits. I’m also tightening, focusing, and clarifying.

A grant application hit my desk yesterday; it’s not a complicated process, and I might as well try. If I don’t apply, there’s no chance of getting it. But that will happen AFTER this proposal is out.

Once the book proposal is out, I have to turn my attention to the article for SCRIPTMAG. I have almost all of the material. Two sources did not get back to me with the requested quotes,  so I will move forward without them. That is due on Tuesday, so I’ll finish it over the weekend.

I finished the book for review, and will submit the review today. I have one more book assigned for review; I will do that this weekend. The first box of contest entries is supposed to arrive today, and once I process them, I will have to get started on them next week.

It felt really good, though, to spend the bulk of my energy on a single creative project yesterday. That’s the way I like to work. Large swaths of uninterrupted work time.

During our Knowledge Unicorns session yesterday, we discussed the impeachment process, and what needs to happen for the Senate to convict — and what can happen if they chose to remain loyal to a traitor.

Have a great weekend, my friends. Let’s hope we’re in for better things after what will be a chaotic week next week.

Published in: on January 15, 2021 at 7:16 am  Comments Off on Fri. Jan. 15, 2021: Die For Your Employer Day 240 — Blocks of Creative Time  
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Thurs. March 9, 2019: Need for Time Management

Thursday, March 7, 2019
Waxing Moon
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cold

If you didn’t see it yesterday, hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice to see how guidelines can be beautiful and liberating.

With a client yesterday; exhausted by the time I got home. Read and worked on contest entries. The second shipment arrived. I have my work cut out for me over the next two months, but every time I pick up one of the books, I’m excited.

It’s very, very cold and the heating bill is very, very high.

Got a card from an old friend I hadn’t heard from in about four years. Good to hear from him again.

Working on the pitches for the trade journals, and the monologues, and the workshop for NECRWA. Have to upload information into Twuffer for the next month’s worth of scheduled tweets about this, that, and the other.

Woke up just before 3 AM, due to a nightmare. Then fretted about a client issue. Then worked out some plot points on a few stories. Finally fell back asleep for about an hour around 5. I should have gotten up and either sat zazen or written. It would have been a better use of the time.

So I’m unfocused and out of sorts today.

I have a lot to get done this weekend, and even the thought of it is overwhelming.

Back to the page.


Published in: on March 7, 2019 at 10:32 am  Comments Off on Thurs. March 9, 2019: Need for Time Management  
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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny and cold

I survived a case of mis-match with a publisher yesterday. I’d carefully read the submission guidelines. My gut told me not to submit, because the guidelines were long, convoluted, and contradicted themselves several times, plus I had to reformat out of Standard Manuscript Format, which I think is ridiculous. Hey, they can ask for whatever they want, but there’s a reason Standard Manuscript Format was created. I’d spoken to someone who had good things about this publisher (although what I’ve read of theirs I didn’t particularly like), so I figured a query package along their submission guidelines might be worth the hour-plus time to reformat.

As far as I could tell, I followed everything in the guidelines. I sent it off – and yesterday I get a return email with the submission guidelines in it. Huh?

So I’ve crossed them off the list. It’s their company, they can ask for anything they want, and I can choose not to be associated with them. They don’t pay enough to make the hoop jumping worthwhile. And it’s better to find out we’re not a good match early in the process rather than later.

The longer I do this, the more I discover that the less they pay you, the more they expect YOU to jump through hoops and do work that, technically, is on their side of the table.

I’d already crossed a half a dozen potential publishers off the submission list for this particular project for the simple fact that they each wanted query package material submitted in wildly different formats, completely removed from Standard Manuscript Format, and, frankly, they don’t offer enough money to make it worth my time. I’ve got enough credits under my belt and publish frequently enough to stick to the publishers who use SMF and pay decently.


(Note: This is much more diplomatic than what I originally wrote about this situation).

I completely understand that publishers want and need writers to follow guidelines. That’s reasonable. What IS unreasonable is when the publishers deviate so far from Standard Manuscript Format and expect writers – whose time is AS VALUABLE as the publisher’s, at least for those of us who do this for a living – to keep reformatting the work. There’s a difference between an unpublished writer who can’t be bothered to learn the craft and a publisher who demands a wacky format. I’m going to steer clear of the latter from now on, unless there’s a contract with a lot of money upfront signed BEFORE I’m expected to do the reformatting. We’ll all be happier. Nor do I turn over the PR contacts that I’ve laboriously built over the years to a publisher in a SUBMISSION PACKAGE. Why should they be able to cull my hard-won contacts? I’ll do whatever I can to help promote the book – once it’s under contract. But I’m not turning over everything pertaining to relationships I’ve cultivated for years with a query.

Chase gets yet another Middle Finger Award. There was a discrepancy on my mother’s bank statement. Two hours and six different people later on the phone, no one wanted to deal with it. They’d say they were “looking into it” and put us on hold, which meant back into the automated system, where we had to start from square one all over again. After two hours of this bullshit, we walked into the local bank branch, where our “personal banker” had the exact same problem. We finally resolved it, after another hour – Chase changed the way they handled something but never bothered to either let us know or ask for authorization. They just did it because they’re Chase and they do any fucking thing they want if it means charging you to, oh, I don’t know, BREATHE.

We’d planned to switch to WaMu, but since they tanked . . .

So I lost a lot of writing time.

On the up side, I had a blast over at Wild On Books, and thanks so much to Jennifer Ray for inviting me to participate.

The Nano site is already driving me nuts and it’s not even November yet. Argh. I have a feeling I’ll be sending quite a few of the early days’ encouragement emails via email, rather than Nanomail. All but one N3 complied with my request for email, and if I don’t get anything from that person and can’t access the site for the first few days – well, that person misses out.

A few people have asked me why I don’t write about the election, since I have very strong opinions on it. It’s because, in order to write in a public forum such as this, I believe strongly that rather than just venting, it is my responsibility to track down sources and cross check information MYSELF. Not just repeat what “I’ve heard” from either side. And, frankly, I’d rather spend the time writing than chase sources eight to ten hours a day, unless I’m being paid so to do. That is why I’ve been quiet. My life will take enormously different trajectories depending upon who gets into office. I’m setting my plans for either possibility, and next week, I’ll know what needs to be done next. Unlike many people, who don’t believe the election directly affects them, the last few elections have had an enormous impact on my daily life, and this will have a bigger impact than any previous election. I’m not enjoying the limbo, but until I know the outcome, I can’t make solid plans for anything beyond the end of this year.

As someone who likes to plan a couple of years in advance, and then adjust the plan as needed, it’s kind of getting to me! 😉

Back to the page. Cornelia True and Roman Gray have a murderer to catch. Cornelia’s sister Arabella isn’t much help, because she’s reading Hortense Cavier’s latest best seller. I bet you can’t wait for “The Ramsey Chase” to be finished so you can read it, huh? 😉


Devon’s Bookstore:

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Hex Breaker
by Devon Ellington. A Jain Lazarus Adventure. Hex Breaker Jain Lazarus joins the crew of a cursed film, hoping to put to rest what was stirred up before more people die and the film is lost. Tough, practical Detective Wyatt East becomes her unlikely ally and lover on an adventure fighting zombies, ceremonial magicians, the town wife-beater, the messenger of the gods, and their own pasts.
$4.00 ebook/ $6.00 on CD from Firedrakes Weyr Publishing.
Visit the site for the Jain Lazarus adventures.

Back By Popular Demand!
30 Tips for 30 Days: Kick Start Your Novel and Get Out of Your Own Way. A Nano Handbook by Devon Ellington. FREE!
If you’ve ever wondered whether or not you could survive National Novel Writing Month, this is the handbook for you! Ideas on preparations, setting goals, overcoming blocks, pushing yourself, tips for each day of the process, and ideas for going beyond, this handbook by veteran Nano-er Devon Ellington will help you survive. Best of all, it’s free! Download it here.
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5 in 10: Create 5 Short Stories in Ten Weeks
by Devon Ellington. This ebooklet takes you from inspiration to writing to revision to marketing. By the end of ten weeks, you will have either 5 short stories or a good chunk of a novella complete. And it’s only 50 cents, USD. Here.

Writing Rituals: Ideas to Support Creativity by Cerridwen Iris Shea. This ebooklet contains several rituals to help you start writing, get you through writer’s block, and help send your work on its way. It’s only 39 cents USD. (Note: Cerridwen Iris Shea is one of the six names under which I publish). Here.

Full Circle: An Ars Concordia Anthology
. Edited by Colin Galbraith. This is a collection of short stories, poems, and other pieces by a writers’ group of which I am a member. My story is “Pauvre Bob”, set at Arlington Race Track in Illinois. You can download it free

Published in: on October 30, 2008 at 7:31 am  Comments (8)  
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