Thurs. Dec. 1, 2022: Boxes. And More Boxes.

image courtesy of Davie Bicker via pixabay.com

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Getting sunnier, and very cold

There’s a post on decorating and garden-y things over on Gratitude and Growth.

If you missed Ink-Dipped Advice’s post yesterday on vetting potential clients, that’s also up.

I have not yet unpacked the new printer. Of course, I haven’t started using the new coffeemaker yet, either. It took 4 days to read the manual. But that’s on the agenda for the next few days going into the weekend. Along with another big decorating push. There are many decorating boxes strewing the space. There are boxes/bags that need to be packed and shipped with gifts. There are things, such as the printer, which need to be unpacked. Do I feel boxed in? More like boxed out.

I managed to get home from errands yesterday before it started bucketing down. I sat down and wrote THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH. 1151 words. Which brought me to 59,736 for NaNo. I did some other stuff, but it bugged me to be so close to 60K and not at 60K, so I went back, wrote 481 words to finish the chapter, and made it to 60,217 for the month. That feels better.

That was the final interim chapter. Now, I can renumber the chapter I wrote last Friday, put that in, and start on the next chapter, which hurtles us toward the climactic sequence and the end of the book. I think it’s more likely this will come in around 75-77K, and that gives me room in the edits to layer on historical detail, while also putting in some more twists.

In the afternoon, I turned around 3 coverages, which means I ended the pay period close to where I hoped. I have to push hard the first half of December, so that I can relax around the holidays. Then I have to push hard at the beginning of January, because quarterly taxes are due mid-January. It’s great to say “save 30% of your income for taxes” but that is not always the reality.

This morning is meditation. After breakfast, I will sit down and write THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH. The natural rhythm of the piece is between 1100-1700 words, rather than pushing over 2K in each session.

I have to get some comments out on a friend’s book and set up the interviews for January for the article I’m doing. I need to get back to another colleague with information.

I have two coverages to do this afternoon (starting the new pay period), and I have two for tomorrow, so I’m set for the week. Hopefully, enough will come in next week for a full week. I also need to get the next seven episodes of Legerdemain uploaded, scheduled, and the ads created. They’re written, they’ve had a couple of editing passes, but I need to get them up, and hope that I don’t need to plant anything there as I finish the arc (I’m behind where I want to be on that). If I hit a point like that, I’ll have to make do planting it somewhere else. The joy of serial writing.

In any case, the next episode goes live today, and I hope you enjoy it. I’m certainly not getting rich on the serial, but at least the last couple of months, it’s been earning its run. Have a good one!

Thurs. Nov. 3, 2022: Weary

(Image courtesy of S.Hermann/F. Richter via pixabay.com)

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Waxing Moon

Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mars Retrograde

Partly cloudy and warm

The latest on the garden is up over on Gratitude and Growth.

The Mars retrograde is kicking my ass, and it just started. I don’t even want to imagine what it will be like when it pairs with the Mercury Retrograde over New Year’s.

After I finished the Nano quota yesterday, and then made the social media rounds, I switched out the curtains and took down the Samhain ornaments.

Packing them took a while, since I also had script coverage, and all that climbing and untangling and all the rest took time.

Something about Nano that makes me tired is all those who only write once a year doing Nano thinking they know everything about writing and giving condescending pats on the head to those of us who MAKE OUR LIVING AT THIS ALL YEAR. Learn something about the person you’re talking to before you give “advice.”

If you missed Ink-Dipped Advice yesterday, I talk about the toxicity of “Team Player”, so hop over and read it.

Turned around 3 scripts in the afternoon. Packed up the decorations in the evening, and I have to hoist the boxes back onto the shelves today.

I’d accepted it was unlikely I’d work on Legerdemain yesterday, so at least I didn’t beat myself up about it.

A strange, murky-colored stain started to expand on the ceiling of my mother’s bedroom. Either something is leaking up in the attic, or something is bleeding up there. Either way, it needs to be dealt with. Since we don’t have access to the attic, I reported it to maintenance, who promised to check it out today.

As my friend Dewi Hargreaves said, it’s an intro to a story. Let’s hope it’s not a horror story!

The rituals for the dead continue. They take more of a toll this year than usual. I’m not sure if it’s because there are more dead due to COVID, or I’m older, or a combination. But this year, it’s difficult to sustain the rituals all week.

Weird dreams last night, and up early this morning.

Up early, and at the desk. Wrote Chapter 3 of THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH, 2624 words. The book wants to pace at around 1K/day, but that doesn’t work for Nano, so I’m pushing it into an unnatural pace, which will mean more time in revisions. I also need to create boards with visuals of the clothes and other details to have in front of me while I write (not on yet another screen – a real BOARD). The hat etiquette is slowing me down. It’s interesting, it’s fun, but it’s slowing me down.

Meditation this morning. After breakfast, I hope to get a little work done, and then I have a morning filled with errands. Not sure if I’ll get to work on Legerdemain, or how much work, because there are two more scripts that need attention this afternoon.

At least the weather should be gorgeous through the weekend.

The next episode of Legerdemain drops today. I hope you enjoy it!

Published in: on November 3, 2022 at 8:16 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Nov. 3, 2022: Weary  
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Thurs. Oct. 20, 2022: An Interesting Mystery Dropped Into My Lap

image courtesy of Julia via pixabay.com

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Waning Moon

Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus Retrograde

A little cloudy and cold

The latest on the garden is up on Gratitude and Growth.

A piece on expanding the definition of freelancer is up over on Ink-Dipped Advice.

Yesterday was basically a day off writing and writing-related work. I blogged, took care of some email, did the social media rounds, noodled with the notes Paula gave me on my plays. They have to go out the door soon. I can’t waste any time.

But by mid- morning, we were out the door. It was a gorgeous, sunny day, and it was absolutely beautiful to be out and about.

After the first errand, I had a feeling we should stop at the local thrift store. I’ve been looking for another jewelry box to stack on top of the ones I have, a magazine rack for the unread magazines before I file or pass on the read ones, and, of course, more bookcases. Always more bookcases.

All of those items were at this thrift store today, along with another glass chimney for the pillar candles. The magazine rack, in particular, is a piece I fell in love with. Maple, beautifully made.

All for a very low price.

Loaded the car and headed for another store that was between the thrift store and home, to pick up some basic supplies like project binders, divider sheets, and I found my great, big desk blotter calendar for sale at 1/3 of the price I’ve seen it elsewhere.

We unloaded everything at home, and then headed down to Pittsfield, where we had a series of stores on the list to visit. We batch shop when we go down there. The candle store, the kitchen store, the bookstore, etc. I’m almost finished with my personal journal book and had to buy a new one – the 5th journal book for this year. I also bought 4 books for next year, and they are gorgeous.

It was after 2 by the time we got home and unloaded. So I decided to give myself the day off script coverage. There hasn’t been much coming in, and my next piece isn’t due until Friday, so rather than pressuring myself, I gave myself the day off.

I cleaned and polished the jewelry box and the magazine rack. I found a maker’s mark on the magazine rack that said “George B. Bent, Gardner MA.” I did a quick look up and discovered the company was in business from 1946 to 1990, but little else except a note about a fire at some point.

I did a little more digging. Turns out Gardner was known as “Chair City” for its furniture making. There was also a furniture company called “S Bent” in business from 1867 to 2001.

George was the brother of the current “S” Bent when he started his own company.

There’s a play in there somewhere. I need to do more digging.

Anyway, researching the piece, I found a high-end furniture company selling a similar one for– $599. As in nearly six HUNDRED dollars. I did not pay that much at the thrift store. There’s another similar piece on eBay for $75. Still far more than I paid.

I found the Gardner Museum, and emailed them for more information. The was also a strong theatre community there at one point, and I want to know more about them, too.

I have a feeling there is a trip to Gardner in my future in the spring.

An old family friend got in touch in the afternoon. We have not seen her since pre-plague. She wondered if she could come up and visit tomorrow, and we said sure.

Which means I have to make up for all the work I didn’t get done yesterday AND work ahead to do everything for tomorrow. Plus make the food and clean the house.

That’s the way it goes sometimes. Good thing it was a light coverage week!

I finished unpacking the rest of the stuff we brought up from storage. I realized I forgot to buy a tarp and another rolly cart yesterday, but my mom said she didn’t see any rolly carts. We’ll deal.

My back is bothering me again, from all the hauling stuff around yesterday. I also have to check the paint/primer situation. The two bookcases still need some TLC, which includes new paint. I have to see if I have any, or need to buy it. I thought I had some primer, but I might have used it. Since it will be in the 60’s this weekend, I can paint.

I’m looking forward to meditation again. I have to make another trip to the grocery store. I decided I’ll make up another batch of black bean soup, and serve it with ciabatta. I know our friend loves my devilled eggs, so I’ll make some of that, and more mousse. Maybe lemon instead of chocolate? That might balance better with the eggs and the soup. Keep it simple, right?

And try not to hurt my back any more with the cleaning.

Have a good one!

The next episode of Legerdemain drops today. Direct link here. Enjoy!

Tues. Oct. 18, 2022: Riding a Creative Wave

image courtesy of Kaneori via pixabay.com

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Waning Moon

Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus Retrograde

Rainy and cold

Ready for our long, Tuesday natter? I also have the Mid-Month check-in up on the GDR site.

Decent weekend. Friday was a little all over the place. It wasn’t focused writing time, which was frustrating. Lots of admin work. Wrote and submitted a book review, and received the next two books to review. Wrote 2 ½ blog posts for Ink-Dipped Advice, working ahead. Poked around on Substack, honing my plan. Covered a script. Started another coverage.

The inspiring thing I did on Friday afternoon was to put on real people clothes and makeup and go to MASSMoCA for the Boiler House Poets reading. I met Joanne, the poet who invited me to the reading, and several of the others. Eight poets were on this year’s retreat, working together. The voices and experiences were all very different, but there was still a flow to the overall reading. It was exciting, and I’m so honored I was invited to it. I’m looking forward to next year’s reading already!

Home, made dinner, read in the evening, for fun. Read a new book in a series where I’ve read most of the series. This one was just too formulaic and similar to the others to be satisfying. I mean, I enjoyed it, it worked as relaxing brain candy for the night, but I didn’t love it, and some of the other books in the series I really loved.

Slept well Friday into Saturday, mostly because Charlotte stayed on the couch until nearly 5 AM. It was Tessa who jumped on the bed in the morning to wake me up – the first time she’s been on the bed since we moved here. Charlotte came in a little later and was horrified.

I drafted a short play in the morning, “My Side of the Bed” which was fun. I unpacked more boxes from the storage run, washed some pieces, and finished the last script coverage of the pay period. I made some notes on a couple of projects, where the ideas are flowing.

The tulip, daffodil, and hyacinth bulbs arrived. We’ll plant them in a week or two, and hope for the best in spring. So I guess the tussling with John Scheeper’s worked. Still not sure I’d deal with them again.

Forced myself to read the book I’d put aside from the author whose series I’d previously liked until she used “witch” as a slur in this one. I didn’t like it for more reasons than the slur. Overall, it was bland. On top of that, the protagonist, in the last few books, is regressing. I was drawn to the series because the protagonist was smart, resourceful, strong, and fun. She paired up with a romance-worthy guy, and the first few books post-marriage were fun. But in the last few, she gets weaker and weaker and more and more dependent on him and frantic/anxious, in a way that doesn’t make sense the way her character was established in the previous books. It’s like the editor encouraged the writer to make the character more “relatable” by giving her more anxiety when there’s nothing to worry about.  I’ve lost respect for the character, and not just because of the witch slur. Instead of growing, she’s regressing, into a state of helplessness beyond where she was in the first book. So, I’m done with the series and the author. It’s not like losing me as a reader is going to make a dent in her sales. I am no longer her target audience.

Tried to start another book that came highly recommended, but it’s in present tense, and I’m not being paid to read it, so it’s going back to the library unread. I loathe novels written in present tense. I want to hurl them against the wall. It’s the author standing between me and the text screaming, “Look at me! I’m such a brilliant stylist!” when they’re not, instead of letting me experience the story. Again, I’m not the target audience. If a writer believes that’s the best voice in which to tell the story, they should absolutely do it. But I am not the audience for it.

I’m reading a few nonfiction books right now, which I enjoy. One I did not, too much religion and not enough about what it claimed the book was about, so that’s going back.

Started the next book in the Elantra series, and I’m enjoying that.

Alternated reading and unpacking in the afternoon.

Charlotte woke me up too early on Sunday morning. But I got up, fed everybody, and wrote two episodes of LEGERDEMAIN, about 3K all told. Updated the Style Sheet and the Series Bible. I bitch and moan to myself (and the cats) about updating the sheets after drafting every episode (for a novel, I’d wait until galleys to update the Series Bible). But it sure as heck saves me a lot of time and frustration as I move forward.

I did some puttering and reading, and planning for a project I realized has to go live next week (just after the new moon). I meant to just create the opening for it and jot more notes, but I wrote the first four pieces. This will all make sense later this week, when I formally announce the project. Until I upload it and schedule it to post, I don’t know if I can promote it before it goes live, or if I have to wait. I hate vague-posting, and apologize. I’m also not talking about it on social media, because I hate it when people say they have good news, but can’t share it yet. STFU until you can.

Crankypants much? I better sing myself the Crankypants song until I laugh and get over it.

All told, I wrote a little over 5K on the new project and 3K on LEGERDEMAIN, so I wrote nearly 8K on Sunday. I haven’t done that in a long time, and I was tired and achy by the end of the day.

To my horror, when I was looking at the content calendar of scheduled upcoming posts, I realized that I have not uploaded/scheduled the episode ads for the final 11 episodes of LEGERDEMAIN’s first big arc. So that’s on the list for this week. I’m behind in the overall series marketing, and I have to update the Topic Workbook links before the new project drops next week, because I link back to the Topic Workbooks. I also have to create a newsletter blast so it’s ready to go when the new project goes live.

And I’m way, way behind on LOIs. As in, hadn’t sent any this month. Which I didn’t realize until I compiled the information for the Mid-Month post over on the GDR site on Monday.

But the writing itself felt good, and that’s what’s important.

I joined #scriptchat on Sunday night, and it was fun. Sunday nights are usually bad for me to do stuff online, but I’d already blown the attempt at a day of disconnect, so why not do something fun?

Monday morning, I was irritated by the amount of email that piled up. I have a lot of admin to catch up on this week.

I wrote another episode of LEGERDEMAIN, which is a good thing. But I’m pretty sure this arc will run closet to 40 episodes than 30, as originally planned. But the structure of the arc has embedded in me as I write, which will make the revisions and edits easier.

I got an email for my editor with the suggestions for the article that will be in the 2024 Llewellyn almanac. She loves the piece, which makes me so happy, because it’s one of the riskiest and most personal pieces I’ve ever written, and I worried I screwed it up. Her suggestions, as always, are right on the mark. I’m so grateful to have her as my editor.

Payment came through from the last two weeks’ of script coverage, and I transferred that over to the bank.

I think I figured out a solution for the LEGERDEMAIN ads which won’t be too much of a PITA. On some platforms, it’s just about adjusting dates. On channels that don’t allow edits, it’s about adding in the correct episodes on the correct dates, and having more overlap between episodes. It will be a slog, but it’s fixable.

The hardest thing was to take a breath and not berate myself for the mistake. I’m human, I made a mistake. It wasn’t huge, it’s fixable, it didn’t hurt anyone. It was on my own work, not client work. Mistakes happen.

I updated the links on the Topic Workbooks on the Devon Ellington site, so those are all current. Since the workbooks are steady sellers, I need to stay on top of that. I still have to create, upload, and schedule the marketing campaign for that through December. And upload/schedule the ads for 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS during November and into the first week of December (October is done and dropping on time).

I did another piece for the project launching next week, because I was in its groove. I can start uploading/scheduling on Thursday, I think. I also created the announcement in MailerLite, which will either go out this week (preferable) or on the day of the launch, depending on when I can get a legitimate link.

I turned around one script coverage, and started a second. I realized I was behind where I hoped/needed to be, so I withdrew from an online event I was scheduled to attend.

However, while I was cooking dinner, I got an idea. The title came first (which is unusual for me). Originally, it was going to be a piece of flash fiction, a ghost story with humor and maybe a touch of horror. But as I percolated, I realized it make more sense as a play.

After dinner, instead of returning to script coverage, I sat down and wrote the first draft of “Paranormal Paraphrasing” which turned out to be a 10-minute play.

As I finished the draft, an email came in from my friend Paula, who’d come across some more play submission calls, and one of them looks like it will be a good fit.

I was so tired by the time I was finished that I was shaking. But I’m glad I rode that creative wave.

I didn’t sleep well; too many different ideas mashing, but not meshing, in my dreams.

Up early. One of the cats was hurling, but I haven’t stepped in it yet, which means I haven’t yet found it.

Got into a lively Twitter discussion about being baffled when people refuse to wear clothes more than once. For me, it’s not only a sustainability and an economic issue, but also, when I love a piece of clothing, I take good care of it and keep wearing it. I mend it. I clean it the way it needs to be cleaned. I honor it. Most of us on the thread felt the same way, thank goodness.

I also sew, and can build my own clothes. I realize not everyone can or wants to do that, but basic mending is a necessary life skill. It’s worth MAKING the time to learn.

Anyway, I actually have to leave the house today. I should have gone to the laundromat, but the weather is too yucky. I’ll go tomorrow. I do, however, have to return a stack of books, hit the grocery store, pick up my mother’s prescription, mail some bills, hit the liquor store.

I need to get some writing in before I leave, help a friend with her website, and then, later on, finish the coverage I started yesterday and turn around another one. There hasn’t been much in the queue this week, which concerns me.

Time to get out some more LOIs. I’ve been lax on it for the past few weeks.

Have a good one! The next episode of LEGERDEMAIN drops today.

Thurs. Oct. 6, 2022: Adopt-A-Versaries and Free Vella Reads

Willa (photo by Devon Ellington)

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus Retrograde

Foggy and mild

It’s still gray and foggy. Yesterday, it rained on and off all day. I guess we’re having a damp autumn. Latest on the garden is at Gratitude and Growth.

There’s also a post over on Ink-Dipped Advice about the Work Wins Journal experiment, and what did and did not serve my work.

Today is the 4th Anniversary of Willa’s adopt-a-versary. She’s come a long way from the scared little cat who arrived four years ago. Saturday will be Charlotte’s 4-year anniversary. Charlotte’s been an even bigger challenge. They were with two different people, which is why they arrived on different days. I’m glad we have them both. Tessa isn’t so sure on some days.

Charlotte, photo by Devon Ellington

I mostly got admin and some marketing done yesterday morning. Then, I went to Big Y and did the Big Grocery Shop that sets us up for most of the month, and we just have to fill in here and there with fresh things. I was relieved to see so many people masked. But I had six large bags when I was finished (the reusable big bags I take with me).

Got everything home, up the stairs, put away. Did a few more things before  my meeting with a  client. It should have taken an hour and took three, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.

Dug in after the client left and turned around three scripts. Which meant I was working until nearly 9 PM, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.

Had trouble settling into sleep. Charlotte was impossible. I ended up kicking her out of the room so I could sleep. I woke up around 2:30 and let her back in, and then we settled down to sleep and I overslept until 7:30. The bed looks like a battlefield this morning.

I had weird dreams about being in a writers’ residency with a famous author, where we shared living space that had a studio for each  of us in it, but we cooked together and had a common room together.

Today needs to be about writing and cooking (and, in the afternoon, three more scripts to turn around). I doubt I’ll make it to open studios tonight at MassMOCA. I won’t be able to turn around three scripts early enough without cutting into my writing time, and I’m never in any shape to concentrate on coverage after open studios, because I’m too excited about the work.

I was thinking about the request to move the artist working group meetings to evenings because of “day jobs.” If that becomes the norm, then this is not the right group for me. Art IS my day job, and I consider these meetings part of my job. I’m not interested in being part of a group where the day job is the priority, not the art. The reason I’ve been able to earn a living in the arts since I was 18 was that the only purpose any non-arts “day job” had was to SERVE the art, not the art pushed aside for the day job. And any time a day job conflicted with the art, it was the day job that was dropped. I’ve participated in groups of part time artists before. All they do is whine about the world not accommodating them, rather than making their art a priority. That is not what I want and need now.

If you don’t make your art a priority, you will never be given the opportunity by others for it to be a priority.

So we’ll see how this unfolds. It may well not be the right group for me at this point in my journey. It may well be the right group for the other members where they are, and if that is the case, so be it.

Meditation as good this morning. Now, it’s back to the page, and also the stove. There’s a lot of cooking that has to happen today, along with the writing.

Have a good one, friends.

Episode 22 of Legerdemain drops today. On top of that, from Oct. 5-11, eligible accounts can read up to 100 episodes per day for free. That means you can read ALL of the released episodes of Legerdemain (and give them thumbs up if you like them) FOR FREE this week. “Eligible” means you have an active Amazon account, and have spent $50 on Amazon at some point. The link to the serial is here.

Wed. Sept. 28, 2022: Creative Overload (In a Good Way)

image courtesy of Christian Dorn via pixabay.com

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Cloudy and humid

The last week of Mercury Retrograde is always crushing, but with all these other retrogrades piled on, it’s rough going.

I did admin and marketing in the morning, and did not get another episode of Legerdemain written, and that threw my day out of synch.

I left early for the meeting at the television station, in case I got lost. Of course I did, but I eventually found it. They are a very small staff, but very nice. The studio is far better equipped than I expected – even with green screen capabilities, and there’s a lot of flexibility within the space. The radio component is smaller, but also quite good.

It gave me fuel for several different projects. They need to percolate, and then I can write up proposals if any of them are viable. I also have to look into sources of funding, especially for the radio plays. Maybe that’s something I can hit up the cultural council for next year.

I made notes on Ink-Dipped Advice posts into the beginning of December. Now, to sit down and actually write them!

I meant to sit down and do the script coverage. Really, I did. But I decided to take a look at my Play Script Tracker sheet in Excel, and update it with “The Little Woman” and “Inspired By.” That led me to looking at calls for submission, which led me back to some of the earlier plays which are actually ready to go out, and I wound up submitting 5 plays. Which took much longer than it should have, mostly because I realized how few plays have synopses ready to go. I broke one of my own Submission Systems rules, and I paid for it.

Another thing to go on the list: Make sure every play has a blurb AND a synopsis. The blurbs are already up on the Pages on Stages site, but I need the synopsis ready for when it’s called.

A friend contacted me about a collaboration over the winter, which sounds like a ton of fun. I was in touch with another friend, who has both a new novel and a new screenplay he’d love some feedback on, so we’ll get that set up.

By that time, The Authors Guild Seminar on serials started. I did not realize that an author whose work both my mom and I have read extensively was the pseudonym for the chair of English at a major university (and a Board member). So, that was fun. There were two Vella authors, one Substack fiction author, and heads of Vella and Substack. 

I knew most of the information about structuring a serial, etc. I mean, I’ve written serials for decades, off and on. I was interested that Vella has more flexibility with driving readers to other sites (it says, in the guidelines, one can’t). Yet the authors are listing their websites and Facebook groups and other work in their author notes.

So I will start doing that, too. If they send it back for removal, so be it, but at least I’ll try.

The information on gaining traction was too vague for my taste. Great, success stories about tens of thousands of hits and people making the serial their day job. But what are the nuts and bolts of gaining traction? Especially if the price of Amazon ads is out of reach? That was not answered to my satisfaction.

Substack’s pitch interested me. I had not looked at it in terms of fiction. The pitch was very strong, and the author chosen to speak was a ton of fun, and I am definitely signing up for her material. I think I will poke around the site and sign up for a few things and see what it’s about. I might put EARTH BRIDE and REP serials up there, and have LEGERDEMAIN and ANGEL HUNT on Vella and do a comparison study.

The Substack people also offered more nuts-and-bolts information on growing audience, which was helpful.

Also, Substack is international. A strong portion of my readership is international, and therefore shut out of all things Vella. Having work on Substack  would give them entry.

After all that, it was time to make dinner. I did colcannon tricked out with leek, pancetta, and lots of shredded cheese on top. It was wonderful.

I should have done script coverage after, but by then, it was 9 PM, and I was too damn tired.

So today will be a long day. I have to do follow-up on yesterday, work on LEGERDEMAIN, and catch up on script coverage. There’s more I should do – maybe I’ll sneak in a post or two of Ink-Dipped – but LEGERDEMAIN and script coverage need to be the main focus.

The television/radio stuff can percolate for a few days, before I actually write up those proposals and contact those I want involved, but I will send the thank you out today.

I’m worried about my friends and colleagues in Florida, in the path of Hurricane Ian. Let’s hope the storm decreases in intensity and/or veers into the sea.

Have a good one, friends.

Published in: on September 28, 2022 at 7:30 am  Comments Off on Wed. Sept. 28, 2022: Creative Overload (In a Good Way)  
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Tues. Sept. 27, 2022: Walking the Project Talk

image courtesy of Rafal Chudoba via pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus, Mercury Retrograde

Cloudy, mild, humid

Pour yourself a favorite beverage and settle in for a natter. This weekend had a lot going on.

I’ve posted the questions to help you create and plan your 2023 over on the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions site.

I managed to get them up early this year. I don’t know about you, but I already have the urge to plan next year, process this year, and build on it. We’ll ponder the questions between now and the end of the year, and then post what we’re comfortable sharing in January over on the GDR site.

Friday felt like a lost day, even though it wasn’t. I mean, I did stuff, it just wasn’t what I’d hoped to get done. I scheduled the episode ad postings on the LEGERDEMAIN site to release all the way through October. I still have to add some content to the site before I’m comfortable with it going live, but that should happen this week, so next week, I can start promoting the site.

Newsletter subscribers will get the link early, when the newsletter goes out later this week. Have you subscribed to my quarterly newsletter yet? If not, you can do so here.

I did some work on the Topic Workbook graphic, and I’m still not happy with it. I need to play some more. I also started the media kit for the Topic Workbook, and I’m pondering the media kit for LEGERDEMAIN.

I looked at running ads on Amazon for LEGERDEMAIN, and the prices are just way out of my budget at the moment.

I ordered a set of signed books by an author whose work I adore for a friend I think would really love them. I bought them directly from the author, and she already shipped them to my friend, and I am so excited.

I covered two scripts in the afternoon. I should have done three, but I was just too tired. And, when I cover the script, I want to give good, focused attention to the writer. That is the respect each writer deserves.

Canva won’t let me design a bookmark that’s horizontal instead of vertical, and I don’t like the way the verticals look. However, the print store I want to try out lets me design horizontally on their site, and I think I will do that. I will initially order a small batch; if they look good, I’ll order more. I may have them do my direct mail postcards, too, if I can ever get a design on those I can stand.

The Fresh Grass Music Festival was over at MassMOCA this weekend. Can you say super-spreader much? Especially now that Rochelle Wollensky of the CDC has gone full genocidal eugenics on the country. She needs to be removed. And yes, I contacted both my Senators and my Representative yesterday so to do.

But the upside of the music festival is that, at night, when the wind is right, I can hear some of it. Which is kind of cool. The venue is only 5 blocks away, so it makes sense.

Had kind of a slow start Saturday morning. We ended up putting on the heat on Friday – I’m already cringing, because not only has the gas company jacked up my bill over the summer, here in this state, they are telling us to expect a 64% increase. My income hasn’t increased 64%, so why are they allowed to do this?

Yes, that was another set of contacts to the Senators and Reps, on both federal and state levels.

I did not go to the market, or even the grocery store, because with all these people in for the festival, ewww, germy strangers probably not masking shedding virus. Nope.

Played with some ideas for upcoming Ink-Dipped Advice posts, and hope to write them up and schedule them to post this week.

I’ve basically given up on all the short stories I’d hoped to write the second half of September. I need to focus on other work first. Some of the ideas I might still play with and write, and look for other markets. But I can’t look at Sept. 30 deadlines for anything right now, other than already contracted work.

I did rough out a short story outline that was inspired by a call to submission, but they wanted flash fiction and this will be 3-5K. But I love the idea, and it will be fun to spin out.

So, yeah, not given up on the short stories, just on the deadlined submission calls!

It’s been dipping down into the low 40’s,/high 30’s F at night, so it’s time to take in the plants. We took in a bunch, some inside for good, some to the front porch. I will go into that in detail on Thursday’s garden post.

Once that was done, the light was good enough so that I could sew the October-themed curtain for the Kitchen Island Cart from Hell. Willa, who hardly ever comes on the couch, sat along the back of it, alternating watching me sew and looking out the window. I did this, too, by hand.

In the afternoon, I turned around the script coverage.

After that, I downloaded the scriptwriting software DramaQueen (the company is based out of Germany). Right now, I can’t make the time to sit with Scrivener. I’ve tried Trelby and hated it. Eventually, I will invest in Final Draft again, but not right now.

It was kind of a PITA to download, but I have no doubt that’s more about my computer than their software. Once it was downloaded, though, and I started playing with it, it worked well.

I imported VISCERAL INVISIBLES into the software and started working on the new draft of that. This will be the 7th draft. Because I’m going to keep at it until it’s right before I submit. The import was wonky from PDF, but just fine out of .doc, so that’s good to know. The software wonked some of the formatting, but not badly, and it’s very easy to adjust with the highlight and tabs.  I later realized it was because I hadn’t used the standard Courier format, but whatever it was I drafted in, so when it converted to the correct format, some of it wonked.

So far, so good.

I rewrote the first 23 or so pages. I’m rearranging a few things, and deepening a few things. That’s what this draft is about. And then I’ll do another pass, and make cuts. According to the software, the page count is 120. However, I think some of that is format wonk, since none of my drafts were ever that long, page-wise. Once I do the rewrites and fix the wonks, I will check the page count (I expect it’s around 115) and then cut, because it needs to hit the sweet spot for the genre, and not be more than 110. So I’ll tighten and cut until I get there.

I knew I had another script I wanted to import – but I couldn’t find it on any of my drives. I nearly panicked, until I realized I’d sent it to my friend Paula for critique a couple of years back. I went back into the emails, found the attachment, downloaded it, and converted it to .doc. I tried importing the PDF version, but it wonked again, so I imported the .doc, and it looks okay.

On the fence about importing STALEMATE DEATH. It might be worthwhile for the portfolio, but I doubt it would go out often. I think it’s just about served its purpose. There’s also the pilot of THE BROWNSTONE and of TALENT. Those need to be reworked, and maybe put into the portfolio. I will use and apply what I’ve learned as a script analyst these past couple of years to make my own scripts stronger.

The one I really need to concentrate on this winter is the pilot for THE WOMEN’S PRECINCT. That’s the one I’m truly excited about, and need to get back to.

I also found a script roster of loglines and information on scripts that all sound good, but according to the document they are written and I look at them and don’t remember some of them. So I’m not sure if that’s a document I wrote as an exercise, or if there’s more spelunking to do in old flash drives.

All of the above is a combination of leaning into the energies of the retrogrades, which is about going back and reworking or finishing older projects, rather than starting something new. This is something I talk about and share techniques for in THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS.

Unfinished projects drain energy. I need to clear the decks to make room for new work. To do that, I have to decide which projects to revive, get into the schedule, and finish; which projects to put in stasis, because it doesn’t make creative or financial sense to deal with them right now; and which ones I need to retire.

That will make room for the new work. It’s also using the information and energy of the retrogrades as something positive, rather than using the retrogrades as an excuse.

I’ve made a rough plan for the marketing of the Topic Workbooks (and including 30 TIPS FOR 30 DAYS with Nano coming up soon) for October through December. If I can ever get the danged graphic right, I can upload and schedule that. I also figured out the next couple of months of the LEGERDEMAIN campaign, more than just the episode-specific ads. So all of that has to get uploaded and scheduled in the next couple of weeks, in an around all the other stuff.

I also saw that I need to update the buy links on several Topic Workbooks. I thought I’d kept up with that, and am annoyed with myself that I did not.

DramaQueen has several levels of software, but I think I’ll be okay with sticking with the free version. Anyway, so far, so good.

I’ve dumped all the “project management software” programs with which I experimented. None of them have the range I need. I do better with the old-fashioned desk blotter calendar and colored markers. I’ve also kept up with the Work Wins Daily Journal Challenge set out by a colleague. I’m learning that some of the categories he set up don’t work for me. That’s going to be the first October blog post for Ink-Dipped Advice – what I learned from this challenge, and what I’m changing to suit my needs. So much of all these tools and platforms and systems is about compartmentalizing instead of making it holistic. For what I do, that’s detrimental to my productivity, my creativity, and my mental health.

Sunday, I was up at a reasonable time and baked biscuits.

I’d hoped to get the history of Legerdemain written and up on the website, but I don’t know what made me think I could create two thousand years’ worth of a country’s history in a couple of hours. So that’s taking longer than I planned.

In the afternoon, I switched over to plotting and working on my Writers’ Rough outline for the Retro Mystery. I had to keep stopping to look things up, which was frustrating, but better to have that happen now and jot down those details, than to get stuck when I have to draft at speed in November.

So neither project was finished, which left me frustrated.

I created an ad for 30 Tips for 30 Days, and got it uploaded/scheduled through October. November needs a slightly different take; I will either upload/schedule half the month today and half tomorrow, or all today and December tomorrow. Probably half today/half tomorrow and then December on Wednesday. Each month needs a slightly different slant, and there’s a lot to do this week.

I actually did a To Do list for the week, which sets my teeth on edge. To Do lists make me feel constrained, and then I sabotage myself, but there was simply too much for me to be able to look at the calendar and get it done. Urgh.

Read a book on Sunday by a well-known author which came highly recommended, and I was left with “meh.” I am glad to see the author try to tackle social inequity, racism, and domestic abuse in a genre that usually ignores it. But in so doing, she flattened out her central protagonists to make sure they were righteous, and that didn’t quite work. But at least she’s trying, in this genre, which is more than most attempt or fight to do.

Up at a reasonable hour on Monday morning. Good journal, yoga, meditation, and tarot sessions. Came up with a mantra for my intent for the week: “I thrive in situations where my work is respected. I remove myself from situations where it is not.” I will use that this week.

Posted the blogs, posted in the Marketing Game, made the social media rounds. Drafted Episode 42 of LEGERDEMAIN, which came in just under 1300 words, and was more fun than I expected.

Did the rounds of the library, the grocery store, the liquor store.

Adapted Chapter 4 of the third draft of ANGEL HUNT into 7 serial episodes, and smoothed out a few things. The chapter was 6500 words. So that was a lot of words handled, all told, yesterday.

Turned around 3 script coverages. One is missing a piece, and I sent in the information. I read what I had, and commented; I just need the missing piece to finish it.

Made turkey Bolognese for dinner, a different recipe than I’ve used before; I like it a lot.

Tired. Tired, tired, tired.

Woke up 2 minutes before the alarm went off, did the morning routine, and was out the door before 6 AM and over to the laundromat when it opened. Back by about 7:30. Still have to finish folding the sheets and put them away.

I did a few chapters of the multi-colored draft of CAST IRON MURDER. The book is good. I just wish publishers and agents weren’t so determined to ignore the pandemic and racism, which are two very important themes in the book.

I’m going to work on Episode 43 of LEGERDEMAIN. I have to be at the TV station across town by 11 AM, so I have to pull myself together for that. But I’m looking forward to seeing the facility and percolating ideas.

Williams College music department has tightened up the COVID protocols for their performances – proof of vaccinations and masking are again required. So maybe, just maybe, I’ll get to go and listen to some music over the coming months!

There’s a big push in the area to get everyone boosted with the bivalent formula. They’re setting up a lot of free clinics all over the place this week. That, too, makes me feel better. You can tell the tourists have left, because almost everyone in the grocery store yesterday masked.

Off to folding laundry and back to the page.

Episode 19 of LEGERDEMAIN drops today. Enjoy!

Have a good one, friends!

Thurs. Sept. 8, 2022: Prioritizing Projects

image courtesy of Conger Design via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus Retrograde

Mercury goes retrograde TOMORROW

Cloudy and cooler

I kept thinking yesterday was Thursday, but it was only Wednesday, and I was all mixed up. I am so NOT looking forward to Mercury retrograde piled on top of all these other retrogrades. My preference is to stay in bed for the next three weeks, but the Universe would laugh and have the bedroom ceiling collapse on me, so I better just deal with what needs to be dealt with, and stay away from traps.

There’s a post on the garden over on Gratitude and Growth.

There’s a post about creating and using content calendars over on Ink-Dipped Advice.

Those oughta keep you busy for a bit, right?

I did a big grocery shop yesterday. You can tell the tourists are clearing out, because the majority of people in the grocery stores are masked again. I’m trying to get us scheduled for our Shot #5, but I’m hearing nightmare stories about CVS cancelling appointments when insurance doesn’t cover it, and refusing to accept payment out of pocket. It looks like we can get them at the Stop & Shop Pharmacy otherwise, so at least we have a backup, but the timing is the problem. We’ll see what we can come up with. And I want to make sure it’s the correct formula.

I sent some info out to a friend for her business, and I answered an email from a friend of a friend who is relocating to the area. At least I got that all caught up.  I spent more time than I should experimenting with text-to-art AI technology. I don’t think I’ll be able to use anything (or very little) of the experiments, but I learned a lot, so I don’t feel that it was wasted time.

I turned around two scripts.

Roast chicken for dinner, which meant the house smelled wonderful, and then I made chicken stock. So we are well-stocked (pun intended) on both vegetable stock and chicken stock. Bring on soup season!

An acquaintance on Twitter posted a thread of open submission class with paying markets for short stories. I made notes on some of them, and will look into them in more detail over the next few days. I got one idea for one of them and made some notes; hopefully I can do a rough draft today. I may have a couple of stories ready to go on some of the calls. We’ll see. The work on those has to fit around the work that has to get done, and that is stacking up something fierce.

I need to get back to the radio plays, and I’m just not in that headspace right now. So I better figure out how to get into it. I have to spit out four radio plays pretty darn quickly. And I have to get back on track with the next arc of LEGERDEMAIN, while promoting what’s dropping. I also have a short play that’s been squawking at me, a comedy, and I need to get that drafted, plus go back and revise the two one-acts I wrote a few weeks ago, where my friend Paula gave such great feedback. They need to be prepped and ready to go out the door for appropriate submission calls.

Speaking of which, Episode 14 of LEGERDEMAIN drops today.

Meditation group starts meeting again online this morning, and I’m looking forward to it. I also have to nip down to the post office later to mail some bills that I forgot to mail on Tuesday. Oops.

I better get going then, hadn’t I? Have a good one.

Wed. Sept. 7, 2022: Meal Planning for the Weekend

image courtesy of Thorsten Blank via pixabay.com

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Waxing Moon

Pluto, Neptune, Saturn, Chiron, Jupiter, Uranus Retrograde

Cloudy, humid, cool

It was pouring for most of the day yesterday. I was worried about floods, but, fortunately, it didn’t happen.

I did some work on Ink-Dipped Advice (the post will go live later this morning), and work on the Legerdemain site. I hope to start promoting it next week, but it might take longer, because there’s still a lot of information that needs to go in. Promoted the episode that dropped yesterday (along with the scheduled promos that are running). I have to look at the budget and see where to place paid ads.

The Topic Workbooks are selling well. The money that came in from those yesterday pays the electric bill. May they continue to sell steadily.

I went out in the rain to the library (by car) to drop off a big stack of books. Nothing’s come in for me in the last few weeks (I’m on waiting lists for books), so I have to order some more older books. I’m nearly caught up with everything I have out.

The cats are much perkier now that it’s cooler. Tessa has decided that the catnip turnip (which was originally Charlotte’s toy) is now her favorite, and she tosses it up in the air and chases it around. So that’s all good. Charlotte doesn’t care. Except for her catnip banana (which we can’t find right now), she doesn’t play often with toys. Willa is racing around like a kook.

Got the dietary preferences for the friends coming this weekend, so I can cook stuff they actually like. This morning, I’m going to do a big grocery shop (I haven’t done that in at least two weeks, and we are down on lots of stuff, not just what I need for the visit). Friday and Saturday I’ll pick up some stuff that needs to be fresh. Sunday, I’ll pick up a couple of things at Wild Oats, and we’ll be good to go. Planned the menu, made the shopping list. I’ll prepare some of the desserts on Saturday.

I still have to finish recovering the kitchen chairs, and fix that one chair, so we have enough chairs to eat around the table.

Everything’s still pretty tidy from the rental inspection, so it’s only a case of making up the beds with fresh sheets, vacuuming, mopping floors, dusting, and doing the regular upkeep.

I can’t wait to see my friends.

I decided to skip Open Studios at MassMOCA on Thursday night, because I don’t want to risk being exposed to the virus right before they arrive.

I basically have been isolating since late last week (mostly because I didn’t want to be around people on a holiday weekend), and didn’t mind at all. I’m looking forward to hunkering down for the winter.

This morning is big grocery shopping, work on LEGERDEMAIN, and turn around two scripts. I have two more to turn around tomorrow; I’m still waiting on a replacement from an incomplete script. I will probably just read one on Friday and none on Saturday. I’ve pushed hard enough early in the week so taking off Monday and even possibly Tuesday is not going to be an issue.

Closing some of the windows, at least partially, at night, and boy, does that block out a lot of sound. It’s not that noisy anyway, but the first weeks of a new semester are always a little louder, because the students are settling in. The idiot who moved into the house next store and is always yelling in the afternoons and evenings – honestly, I can’t tell if he’s jerking off or gaming and yelling at the computer – is annoying, but I yelled out my own window yesterday to shut up, and he did, so that’s progress. He can yell all he wants if he closes his windows and I don’t have to hear him. There are quite a few guys coming into the school this semester who are aggressive about taking up more than their space and they will have to be knocked back.

There’s a jay yelling outside my window, so I better go see what’s gotten him so upset.

Lots to do, so better get to it.

Published in: on September 7, 2022 at 7:22 am  Comments Off on Wed. Sept. 7, 2022: Meal Planning for the Weekend  
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Fri. July 22, 2022: Seasonal Summer Heat

image courtesy of jplenio via pixabay.com

Friday, July 22, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Hazy, hot, humid

It was difficult to settle into meditation yesterday, but I managed it.

Uploaded the content calendar for the ORGANIZE YOUR WRITING LIFE Topic Workbook release through the end of September. A content calendar is only useful if you follow through. I’ll do a post on that for Ink-Dipped Advice for September.

I had to run the repair on Word again in the morning. Getting tired of the constant problems with the computer, but that’s how it goes with PCs.

Plus, Windows 11 keeps changing things. What a lousy operating system.

Turned around my script coverage in the morning, before it got too hot and the computer really started suffering. I have a coverage to turn around today, for which I was requested, and another request just landed in my inbox that I will do on Sunday.

Freelance Chat was fun.

It was too hot to work upright in the afternoon. I spent most of it lying on the couch. I noodled with my article. I have to get the first 900-1000 words of It down on paper this morning, then another 900 tomorrow morning, then the final 900 on Sunday (it’s a 2800-word article). I want to revise it Monday and send it to my editor Tuesday, nearly a week early.

I also read a mystery, recommended by two writer friends, but I’m not enamored of this writer’s voice/style. It hits the genre conventions, but that’s about it.

Leftovers for dinner. We were promised a thunderstorm, which never materialized. Today and tomorrow will be hot. I’m worried about tomorrow afternoon’s performance. But I also trust the event organizers to take care of us.

The Jan. 6 Hearing last night simply confirmed that the Narcissistic Sociopath wanted a bloodbath. He should have been led away in cuffs the day after Biden’s inauguration. The fact that no one has been held accountable is unacceptable. And ALL the Republicans who voted against certifying the election need to be in prison.

I don’t know how I’m going to find a place to get my hair cut today.

I dreamed last night about one possible salon, that it was definitely the wrong place for me. In the dream, a friend told me that they were reasonably priced, but the quality was awful.

I had another dream where a Twitter acquaintance (who’s a lawyer out on the other coast) and I worked on a social justice performance piece. Weird dream.

Today will be another hot day. I’ll do as much as I can early on, and then stay quiet for the worst of it, and maybe do some work when it cools down again in the evening. That’s the joy of controlling my own schedule.

Tomorrow is all about Word X Word. I’m both excited and nervous. It will be an adventure, that’s for sure.

Have a great weekend! We’ll catch up next week.

Thurs. July 14, 2022: Of Scheduling and Tools

image courtesy of Gerd Altmann via pixabay.com

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Last Day of Full Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune Retrograde

Cloudy and humid

Bastille Day

A very long time ago, back in the 1980’s, when I was living on the West Coast, I claimed July 14, Bastille Day, as my personal independence day. So I always acknowledge the day, in whatever way is appropriate that year.

Gratitude and Growth has the latest on the Squirrel Shenanigans, and Ink-Dipped Advice has a post on writing about your ideal workday, which we will use in autumn for another exercise.

In spite of the computer issues, I managed to get the Topic Workbook page on the Devon Ellington site updated. All the new covers are up. As buy links release on pre-orders and closer to release date, those, too, will go up.

THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS and THE COMPLEX ANTAGONIST went through final proofreads and some more tweaks, and are up for pre-order. I can start scheduling the marketing ads on social media channels, so they can run and I don’t have to think about them too much. I downloaded some calendar sheets with “hour” slots from General Blue. The Google calendar stuff wasn’t working for me, and doing what I wanted it to do. I run ads at different times on different days; since the Topic Workbooks are releasing close to each other, I want to make sure I don’t schedule two ads on the same day at the same time. There will be enough overlap for the promotion on The Big Project.

Having the content calendar as something on the computer isn’t working, so I have my handy dandy printed out calendar sheets, so I can look at it as I work uploading the actual content.

The plan is for all the Topic Workbooks to re-release in early August, and have the workbook tied to the class release the week after the class (class participants get a copy, free, with the class). Once I catch my breath, I can decide how I want to fit the new workbooks into the workflow.

I had a good conversation with an editor about a project both of us are no longer connected with, and not being a part of it is the right choice for both of us. Trusting my gut was the right choice. Onward.

As part of updating another workbook, I’m playing with project management software. I loathe Trello, so that is not an option. Trello fractures things too much for my liking. I’ve used Click up with clients, but, looking at it, it doesn’t give me enough room for the number of projects I’m juggling, unless I lump them into categories. I decided to do a comparison/contrast with Todoist and Asana. I have colleagues who adore each of them, for every different reasons.

So I signed up for both, and I entered information on both, to see how they work, comparing the same tasks in the two different platforms.

Todoist is too much like the traditional “To Do” list, which makes me feel restricted. I ditched the daily list, because all it did was make me feel like a failure, and even crossing items off gave me no pleasure or sense of accomplishment.  Todoist also suggested that I vacuum the house today (Thursday: vacuum through all the rooms), which is really not its business, and not something I entered. What I like about Asana is that I can color code projects (like I do on my big desk blotter calendar), break projects down into pieces while still keeping the bigger picture in view. So it doesn’t feel fractured, the way Trello does. I had used Asana for some client work at one point, and wasn’t all that thrilled with it, but it’s letting me set things up the way I like it, at least so far.

I may ditch both of them, and just stay with my desk blotter calendar. You know, the tool that’s worked for decades.

But since I’m writing about tools, I want to give those readers options and experiences.

Working with that, and handling incoming buy links going live put me behind in the script coverage. I managed to cover three scripts, although I was working until 11 PM. But I’d decided I don’t want to do coverage on Friday, and I have limited time today, between meditation, Freelance Chat, and Open Studios, so I piled on more yesterday.

I did my Italian lesson, keeping up the streak. I’m learning vocabulary, but don’t feel like I’m getting an understanding of the grammar or why sentence construction is the way it is. I need to head across the street to the college library and find a textbook to fill in the gaps.

I was also looking at beachfront hotels for October. The prices are ridiculous for the mediocre. I planned to spend more on the hotel, since we are staying put and making use of it, but I’m not seeing the value I’m looking for in what’s on offer. Plus, with virus numbers on the rise again, and those who should have never told us it was okay to unmask telling us to mask up again, it’s probably not worth the risk. Instead of going on a midweek oceanside vacation, I can do a long weekend home disconnected retreat and not put us at risk. I’ll keep an eye on prices and possibilities, but if it doesn’t make sense, on either financial or health levels, we just won’t do it.

I took a break for a Grace and Gratitude yoga/meditation session online with the Stressed Out Professional Women Without Children group, and that was excellent.

Slept well, up early. Online meditation group this morning, then hitting the page for a few hours, and doing a library run. I have two scripts to turn around before Open Studios tonight, and then I’m done with coverage for the week.

I am working this weekend, on the Topic Workbooks, the Big Project (so that everything is in place to make the announcement next week), and starting the article for my Llewellyn editor. I want to get it out the door and onto my editor’s desk a few days early, before I go to visit my friend. Setting up the content calendar for upcoming releases, and uploading/scheduling the content. That way, I can enjoy my time away.

I had a wonderful aha! moment on the next big arc of The Big Project, which excites me to work on.

Have a good one!

Wed. June 16, 2022: Work Day

image courtesy of StockSnap via pixabay.com

Wednesday, June 16, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto & Saturn Retrograde

Cloudy and humid

Yesterday was a reasonably quiet day, especially as to where we were last year at this time. It wasn’t without its disappointments. A grant opportunity landed on my desk, and looked promising. But it’s one of those where they didn’t let the applicant read through the entire application nor did they list all the requirements. So after spending too much time filling out the application, I hit a requirement that was not mentioned in the guidelines that required unpaid labor to create something they would keep for their archives, whether they gave me the grant or not.

No. Just no. That’s exploiting grant applicants.

There’s a post on Creativity is a Business over on Ink-Dipped Advice. The profits that the arts have made, even in the year after the shutdowns, is astonishing. And too damn small a portion goes to the actual artists.

There’s also a post on Gratitude and Growth that goes into more detail about Tuesday’s visit to Berkshire Botanical Garden, and about the other garden stuff happening here.

Had to make another bank deposit, mailed my quarterly taxes (ouch), and attempted, yet again, to check out the new coffee place that opened a couple of blocks away. They were still closed a half hour after their posted opening times. This is the second time this has happened. Just proves that you can’t trust a “business” that only has a Facebook page and not an actual, professional website.

Got some writing done, wasn’t happy about any of it. Handled a bunch of email. I’m still at nearly 500 emails in the inbox, which will have to be addressed today. Turned around a script coverage. The pay period ended yesterday, and I nearly made my goal. Let’s hope I can hit it in the second half of the month.

The guy coordinating the World’s Largest Poem sent me information on a playwrighting workshop offered by a playwright from this year’s Williamstown Theatre  Festival. I took a look, and signed up. I’m feeling a little stuck in the stage play aspect of my career right now, as far as writing, and it would be good to shake that up a little. There are COVID protocols, and it’s at the Berkshire Atheneum down in Pittsfield, a space in which I feel comfortable and know that they have protocols in place, too, so it is a calculated risk that tips in my favor, rather than the virus’s favor.

Spent some time on BookBub. I’m adding authors to follow and recommending books I like. I think I will have to work my way author-by-author, because it takes time. I need to do it slowly.

But that’s how one builds sustainable accounts anyway, slowly and organically.

Had a bad night. First the fire alarm went off, for no discernible reason. I got it quiet, checked everything and double checked it, just to make sure. Had trouble going back to sleep, and then woke up every hour. Charlotte had her paws full, trying to look after me (and she is exhausted this morning). At four, I gave up, and moved to the sewing room, so Tessa could keep an eye on me. Charlotte joined me. Tessa forgot I was in the sewing room, and went back to my bedroom to wake me up, astonished I wasn’t there.

I gave up and fed them a little before 5.

After my first writing session in longhand, I was excited to hit my desk and do my second writing session on the computer. Only Windows11 decided to do one of its long updates, and then I had to “set up” the computer as though I’d never used it before, even though I set it up exactly the way I wanted it when I bought it two years ago. It was a ridiculous waste of time. On top of that, it’s trying to force me to synch with my phone. No. I don’t run my life from my phone, I resent the fact that I’m forced to HAVE a phone, and I don’t want my devices synched to the phone. No.

Not the start for which I’d hoped this morning. But still better than last year at this point, when we were in moving hell, and doing our second round trip to drop off stuff here.

But I have meditation group coming up, and then it’s back to the page. There’s plenty to do, and I need to get it done: working on The Big Project, finishing the anthology story, proofreading “Personal Revolution” so the re-release can happen on time, working on the Topic Workbooks, writing and submitting the book review so I can get my next assignment, turning around a couple of scripts.

Better get going then, huh?

Have a good one, friends.

Thurs. March 31, 2022: For Love of Radio

image courtesy of Lubos Houska via pixabay.com

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Dark Moon

Rainy and mild

Yesterday turned out to be a pretty productive day, because I sat down and damn well did the work, without letting myself wander too much. It never feels like I’m doing enough, but that emotional reality is far apart from the actual reality.

There’s a post on Gratitude and Growth about all the seedlings and my experience with my new Rose of Jericho plant. I even have real photos, not stock photos! Hop on over.

There’s also a new post up on Ink-Dipped Advice about a spring refresh on one’s websites/social media/clips/etc.

Anyway, yesterday morning, Charlotte woke me around 3:30, wanting attention, and Tessa stomped in like, well, if she is getting attention, then I want some! So I moved to the bed in the sewing room and dozed off again until about 5:30.

Got some article work done. Wrote the next section of The Big Project. Revised three more chapters on CAST IRON MURDER. I have to update my tracking sheets for both of those, but I have a feeling that won’t happen until tomorrow or Saturday. Did some more research for the retro mystery, but didn’t go down the rabbit hole. The bank I contacted told me that banking was “uniform” at the time, but they “couldn’t” tell me what the laws were. Why not? That bank was around at the time. What were their policies? Useless. Let’s hope the Banking Association is willing to actually give me information.

Managed to book my mom’s 4th Covid shot for today, thanks to Ellen Byron mentioning she just got hers. I can’t get mine yet; I have to wait about another month, because I got mine after Thanksgiving, and it’s too soon. But my mom goes in this morning, and then I will take care of her for the rest of the day, in and around the work that needs to get done. it will be a relief for me to have her protected.

The newsletter went out. I have to check the MailerLite dashboard and do admin on it; remove bounced addresses, check open rates, etc. I’ve already started the document for the June newsletter and will just add information, and then all I have to do in June is edit it down and shape it.

I worked on the grant proposal. I’d hoped to get it out yesterday. In fact, I’m pretty pleased with the answers to their questions, and just need to massage the opening and the final paragraph.

I realized that I need my stage plays and the radio plays up on a website. It’s not appropriate to put them on the business site (except for mission-specific entertainment pieces). I started to put them up on a new page on the Devon Ellington Work site. I copied information that’s on my resumes, and then realized I have to add to it on the site – loglines, how many actors, length, etc., which takes time. I realized even further that it doesn’t make sense to put it on the Devon Ellington website at all. So I started a subdomain under Fearless Ink called Pages on Stages. That’s the link I will put into the grant proposal, and then I’ll build the website this weekend. I uploaded WordPress to the new site, so it’s more about choosing a template and building. Which takes me for-damn-ever because I’m slow. But I can do it.

I just have to sit DOWN and DO it.

The focus today, for all that, though, is to polish the grant proposal and get it out the door. That means walking the talk of the Ink-Dipped Advice post and freshening up my resume. I realized that it’s missing THREE of my produced productions, and I am angry with myself. How did they just fall off my resumes? The audience was full, the response was positive.

The programs, reviews, and other materials are in storage, so I will have to do the best I can from memory and from what I have on the flash drives to put it in the resume and build the websites.

I’m so frustrated with myself.

I turned around two script coverages. I need to do three today, but the grant proposal is the priority. Between the grant proposal and my mother’s booster, I have a feeling neither The Big Project nor the CAST IRON MURDER revisions will get much attention today.

I heard back from Cape Cod Writers’ Center. I am only teaching one class (virtually) for this conference, Developing the Series. It will happen on Sat. Aug. 6, from 2:45-4:45 PM. Of course, I got the information AFTER the newsletter went out, but it will go in the next one, along with the link for registration. I’ve taught this course before, although not at CCWC, so I will look over my notes and prepare a fresh slide presentation for this version. And I’ll have a new Topic Workbook out on the subject by autumn, then.

That’s another thing on the list – get the Topic Workbooks revised and reprinted. Possibly doing a portion of them in print, as well as virtual, and filling orders, if I can figure out how to store them properly in my office. Which would mean building a storefront, which might not be worth it. But at least I can get the digital versions in new editions and out again. Those are steady sellers.

More good news this morning: the producer to whom I submitted the radio plays in early February got back to me and LOVES them. He wants to read all the comic noir pieces, too, so I will get those out to him today. The pay is decent, so if any of them go to contract and get produced, I will be a happy camper. Besides, radio is my favorite format.

It also makes me consider writing a comic horror radio play for my Dramatists Guild project in April. Since, you know, pens up happens tomorrow, and I still have no idea what to write about.

So that gives me a cheerful start to the day, in spite of all the awful things going on in the world, and all the cowards who refuse to do anything about it.

I’m off to meditation, and then it’s back to the page until I take my mom for her shot. Then, it’s back to the page until I get all my work done!

Have a good one!