Fri. July 3, 2020: Die For Tourist Dollars Day 46 — Finally, Productivity

Friday, July 3, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

We’re going into the long holiday weekend, and I just feel like the clock is running out for me on way too many fronts.

Yesterday was actually a fairly productive day. I popped into my client’s to launch an ad – the financial information was at the office. That didn’t take long, and the client is pleased. Let’s hope it converts into actual sales. I’ve got some SEO tweaking to do on the client’s website next week, which should also help.

Swung by the bodega (ahem, convenience store) on the way back to pick up eggs. It just wasn’t worth standing in line to get into a grocery store for eggs. The only people wearing masks around here yesterday were the locals going into the post office and the convenience store.

Clumps of tourists are clomping around, not wearing masks, not social distancing. The bridges were backed up for hours.

We’re going to lose all the progress we made against the virus, and it’s disheartening.

Got home, full disinfectant protocols, and made it to the first session of the Freelance Writing  Success Summit. Attended all three virtual sessions. Got some good information. Some of the sessions are for people earlier in their careers than I am, but they’ll get a lot out of it.

It turns out a lot of best practices for SEO writing were what I do instinctively. That’s good to know. It helps me frame SEO conversations moving forward, especially because I am committed to quality content over SEO word salad. Since Google doesn’t like keyword stuffing anyway, it gives me a stronger position when the companies push back about using keywords that aren’t supported by content.

Got out some LOIs. Refused some reach outs from “recruiters” who want me to do work in which I’m not interested nor is my focus, for lower than my regular rate because I should be “happy someone wants to hire you in these hard economic times.” A) I’m working; B) What you offer is not in my area of expertise OR interest, so find someone in that field; C) I’m not 20 begging for my first job. I’m a seasoned professional and I’m worth my rate.

Freelance Chat was a lot of fun.

Finished reading a book of essays by someone who is a good writer, but her brand of crazy is too much for me right now. And yes, in her case, it’s definitely part of her “brand.” My emotional energy needs to be elsewhere right now, because there’s not a whole lot of it.

My doctor sent me a survey on how I’m feeling, emotionally. Um, I’d be a bit of a sociopath if it was all flowers and rainbows in the middle of a pandemic. No, I’m not sleeping well, I worry a lot, and I have post-anesthesia brain fog. I just had two surgeries in 4 months during a pandemic, for goodness’ sake!

I’m a little fed up with all the forms and the surveys and the tests. I’m tired and I’m worried and I can’t heal if I’m filling out forms all the time.

Got some work done on the promotional TRINITY OF TEASERS package, but exporting text from system to system and having it actually do what I want is frustrating. But I don’t want to rekey over 100 pages of text, either. I need to get back to work on the new editions of the Topic Workbooks, too. I thought I’d be farther along by now.

I thought I’d be farther along on a lot of things.

Didn’t get the reading done for my language class, so I’ll have to get that done today.

Did do some work on Book 4 of the Gambit Colony series, because I craved it. Really shouldn’t be working on it now, but it calms me and soothes me and gives me creative fuel for other projects.

The dickheads with their illegal fireworks were in full force last night. These are the same idiots who won’t wear masks because “fweedom” asLilith St. Crow put it the other day in her blog. Their freedom to terrorize the neighborhood exists, but ours not to be infected by their stupidity does not. We obviously know for whom they voted and where they get their news. About 20-30 minutes, at least 300-400 fireworks (I trained in pyro when I worked rock and roll, I know these things). I was on the floor, beside Tessa, who was terrified, putting my body between the direction of the noise and poor Tessa. Willa and Charlotte ignore the noise, but it absolutely terrifies Tessa.

At least I had a good night’s sleep, for once.

Working on THE BARD’S LAMENT this morning – hoping I can finish fixing that huge plot problem. I can’t believe I was that stupid.

Dashing down to the library for a curbside pickup this morning. Excited to return books and get some new ones. Will also read the book for review this weekend.

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Sent out a bunch of cards to people yesterday, and have some more that need to go out in the next few days. I ordered a bunch of new notecards from Peter Pauper Press (one of my favorite suppliers), so it’s time to use them!

I’m actually almost looking forward to the weekend. I have to battle the bindweed, weather permitting, but I’d like to read and write and not deal with any human beings outside the household.

I don’t feel there’s a lot to celebrate this year, but I am looking forward to some downtime.

Have a great holiday weekend, friends!

Fri. Aug. 31, 2012: Year-Long Class Ends on the Blue Moon

Friday, August 31, 2012
Blue Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny and warm

Today wraps up the year-long novel-writing class I taught, which began on September 1 of last year. Out of the sixteen who started the class, eight made it through. They were required to write 1000 words per day, every day, for 7000 words per week. They finished one novel, revised it, swapped manuscripts, did another revision, put together a detailed submission package, started a second novel (some participants finished their second novel and started a third), and wrote a handful of short stories. Together, we created an anthology, which will be released later this year, called DEATH SPARKLES. All in all, they wrote a great deal — which one HAS to do in order to be a writer — and learned skills that will help them in all aspects of their careers. Now, they are ready to go off and explore new ways of working, with a wide variety of techniques in their tool box. Several of the students are now on a regular publishing schedule with a combination of books, novellas, and short stories, which is what is necessary in the current climate.

I dismantled the Creativity Altar I set up at the beginning of class last year. I will put together a new Creativity Altar later today to symbolize the coming cycle’s work. I will post my final remarks, pull a few things from the site that I need for the anthology, thank them for their commitment, and then — we go our ways.

Friendships will remain, and new paths followed, which is as it should be. They need to go out there and test their wings without Teacher looking over their shoulder. It’s time for them to explore new techniques and possibilities.

Yesterday was spent almost entirely on the play. I still have to fix the ending, but I’ve got a glimmer of that, and I will fix it and send it off this morning. Either it will be accepted or it won’t. I can’t worry too much about it, but I would have regretted it, had I not submitted.

I also finished the materials for Confidential Job #1, and will do that write up today, and finish the article that’s due tomorrow, but I want to get it off my desk before the start of the holiday weekend.

I won’t be having a holiday weekend — I’m working off site a good deal next week, so I’m hunkering down over the weekend to get it all done before I leave. And, today, I have to make up for the work I didn’t get done on the Sustainability Workshop yesterday.

So it’s busy, a day of mixed emotions, but so many new vistas are opening, and I want to fully experience them.

Enjoy the Blue Moon! And the holiday weekend!

Devon

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT — 6 days to release from Champagne Books!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and pleasant

The Bruins are going to the Stanley Cup Final. The irises are starting to bloom. I have a book to finish and articles to write. It’s feeling like home.

I took the whole weekend off from work (except for wrapping up the Millennium Trilogy workshop). I actually had a holiday weekend. It felt good! It’s the first time I’ve done that in years.

Granted, I did a lot around the house. I did about eight loads of laundry, as I continue to unpack boxes. I switched the slipcovers from winter covers to summer ones. I unpacked more kitchen boxes, yarn boxes, etc., and I’m slowly sorting through stuff and figuring out where I want it to live, so I’m not rearranging it fifty times. I’m setting up the boxes for the flannel sheets and other winter stuff, so, as it’s clean, I can pack it and stack it where it needs to go, and I can actually get at it in the fall.

I worked in the garden — a lot. Kept deadheading the rhodies — can’t keep up with them. Finished digging out the vegetable bed (I’m out of buckets again). Put in the vegetables. Now I have my fingers crossed they survive and thrive! Fought the anthills that are all over the front lawn — the owner is going to have to call in a professional. Painted the small bookcase I got for free, and almost finished painting the bookcase that will go in my bedroom (once I’m sure it’s really, REALLY dry).

Did a lot of yoga, did a lot of meditation. Played with the cats.

Picked up the metal plant stand a few towns down the Cape. It was definitely worth the trip. Looks great on the deck. The sellers turned out to be nice; eccentric, but nice. But then, pretty much everyone who lives year-round on the Cape is a bit eccentric, in the right way. Drove to a farm one town over and picked up a sage green velvet-covered ottoman for $10. Violet has claimed it.

Washed the pollen off the patio furniture. If anyone told me I’d have to dust the deck, I’d have thought they were nuts!

Did some party planning.

Sorted out the details for my trip to the Vineyard later this week. It’s been a long time since I was on a boat. I hope I don’t get sea-sick on the ferry. I have those bracelet things just in case.

The traffic is awful. I’m sure it will be like this all summer. You can tell the off-Capers are here, because they drive the expensive cars and treat everyone like crap. Since I’m not in the service industry, I can be rude right back! 😉

Mowed the meadow. The lawn mower and I negotiated a deal. For every 20 minutes or one full bag of grass clippings, whichever comes first, we have a 20 minute cool-down. It seems fair, and, frankly, after 20 minutes, I’m ready for a break. Granted, a new mower shouldn’t be getting that hot in just 20 minutes. But, if during that 20 minutes, I stop the mower for any reason, I have to wait 20 minutes before it will start again. I can live with it for the next couple of years, providing it keeps up its end of the bargain. When I buy a place, I’ll see what kind of mower I need, and then buy a new one of a different brand. Anyway, it took several hours to mow the meadow, but it looks great, and I have many bags of grass clippings to take to the dump. The slope was difficult to negotiate with the mower — it looks like it rolls gently when you stare at it, but it’s quite a different story when you’re mowing it!

Changed all the beds (well, I do every week, but there’s something very satisfying about clean sheets). Vacuumed thoroughly. With the central vac, a quick vacuum of the whole house takes about 90 minutes, and a more diligent one a little over 2 hours, including using the attachments on the windows — which, now that they’re open most of the time, the sills need attention. Pollen everywhere. I give thanks every day that I don’t suffer those types of allergies.

I’ve been using herbs freshly cut from the garden in my cooking. It makes a big difference. It smells good, it tastes good, and there’s a wonderful satisfaction from knowing it came from my own little patch of earth.

Read a lot. I finished CE Murphy’s NEGOTIATOR series. I read THE RED LEATHER DIARY, a fascinating non-fiction book written by a woman who found a diary in the dumpster of her building and tracked down the owner, who lived quite a fabulous life in the NY of the early twentieth century. It’s as much a social history as anything else. Read Jim Butcher’s first Dresden Files book — STORM FRONT. I liked it. There was one section that felt forced to me, but I see why it was necessary for plot purposes. Caught up on magazines that have been stacking up.

I have two weeks off from teaching, so now I can focus on my own writing, get out some proposals, do a few articles, get out some more PR for ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT, get the newsletter out, etc. I sent out several requests for interviews in connection with the book.

Hop on over to Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions to read my May Wrap-Up. I talk about trying to deal with career changes in a positive, rather than a negative way.

I’m excited to dive back into THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY. I’ve discovered that, in order to get the watering and weeding done properly in the garden, I’ll have to get up an hour earlier and do that before my first 1K of the day. However, I use the time as a combination of garden appreciation (be here now and appreciate it) and plotting what I’ll write next.

Carlos the Woodpecker is very busy. I don’t know why I call him Carlos — he seems like a Carlos. I hear him, and say, “Hey, Carlos, watcha doin’?”

He flies to a nearby branch and stares at me for a few minutes, and then gets back to his task. It’s become part of our morning and evening ritual. Woodpeckers are funny.

To the page. I’ve got to get grass clippings & recycling to the dump, pick up some stuff from the store, try to deadhead some more rhodies and yes, mow the front lawn. Dang, that grass grows fast! 😉

Devon

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Jupiter Retrograde
Cloudy and humid

Yesterday was a hit and miss day. The problems with UHaul continue — I can’t go into detail about it, unfortunately, but it will get very, very, VERY ugly tomorrow, and then there will be consequences.

The guy at the Genius Bar fixed my iPod in less than 10 minutes. I’m a little concerned because we couldn’t figure out WHY it went kerplooey, which to me indicates it could happen again (I always like to know the why), but it seems to work now. He did some Genius Bar magic and we re-entered information, and now it picks up wi-fi and is synched with MobileMe and doing all that stuff it’s supposed to do. I’ll know for sure this weekend, and then, if necessary, take it back. They were really nice in the store, as they always are, and they’re really good about herding people in a friendly way, so the rude, pushy people (the same ones who drive expensive cars and therefore feel that rules of the road and rules of basic courtesy don’t apply to them) don’t ride roughshod over everyone else. And the employees do it in such a friendly, humorous way that the a-holes don’t even realize they’re being herded. It’s quite an education to watch them do their thing.

I started spinning a story on the drive home, that I hope I can place with BOOKS FOR MONSTERS, since I enjoy working with them so much. I’m calling it comic urban fantasy, but it might veer off a bit in another direction.

Afternoon was spent fighting with UHaul, talking to a potential new client, and working on client projects.

It looks like I’ll get away for the weekend — provided I survive tomorrow, which will just be six ways of hell, if not more. There is no doubt in my mind that I will have to call for police intervention. That’s how out-of-control the situation has gotten.

Cooked pork chops smothered in garlic teriyaki sauce, with buttered noodles and crisp, steamed green beans. I haven’t had the chance to cook much this week, but intend to remedy that over the weekend and next week.

I’m really looking forward to a weekend of a whole lot of nothing. I will need to sleep a lot, eat a lot, drink a lot of wine, and maybe spend time by my friend’s pool after tomorrow.

Today, I’ve got to head to Trader Joe’s to stock up on cat food — we’ve only got two cans, and I can’t leave the cat sitter with an empty cupboard. The cats know what cupboard holds their food, and they are horrified when it’s opened and there’s not a tall stack of cans. We’re similar that way — we like well-stocked cupboards.

I’m going to try to get a little writing done, get the GDRS up, and prepare mentally for tomorrow.

Devon