Mon. July 8, 2019: Commitment To Your Writing #UpbeatAuthors

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Image by Stocksnap via Pixabay

Monday, July 8, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde

Enough retrogrades for you? Buckle up, buttercups, it’s a rocky month. But the retrogrades will also help clear out a lot of the deadwood and make way for new growth.

We are Upbeat Authors. We want to make the world better through our writing. That doesn’t mean denying that bad things happen. It means exploring and sharing ways that we can work through the bad and build something better.

It means nothing if we can’t finish anything. If we perpetually start things and let put them aside when the next Shiny Idea floats in front of us.

Those of us who write full-time know that we have to juggle multiple projects and meet our commitments to keep a roof over our head and food on the table. Part-time writers and hobbyist writers face different challenges to also keep sheltered and fed.

Finishing projects is vital.

It’s great to play with ideas. Some of them will work. Some of them will not. You don’t want to hang on to a project that’s not going anywhere and drains energy.

But unfinished projects drain creative energy, and if we let too many unfinished projects hang around, it’s like drowning in quicksand.

I actually teach a course on this, and have a Topic Workbook called THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS.

Also, some ideas formulate before they are ready to bloom into full projects. I have pieces where the idea arrived years before I actually write the project, and I’ve often had several false starts along the way.

There’s a big difference between DECIDING to put a project aside and just LETTING it slide.

Contracted projects on deadlines always get first attention. They have to. That’s the deal of being a professional writer. Earliest deadline/highest pay = first attention.

But there are always other projects begging for time that need to be slotted in around it. You need to be a time management whiz without feeling like you’re trapped and never have a minute to do anything fun with friends or family or just hang out and do nothing. All of that is important.

Ideas tend to come in batches. Some ideas demand to be spun out a bit. Some won’t work.

How do you handle it all?

I’m offering some suggestions that work for me, and there are specific exercises in the workbook.

When I get an idea, I jot it down as soon as possible. I try to keep a “Fragment” or “Whatevers” notebook with me at all times.

I DATE each entry. Like a journal. Because sometimes, when I go back to the idea, the context of WHEN it hit me winds up being important.

Contracted projects, like the Coventina Circle, Gwen Finnegan, and Nautical Namaste series, are outlined in advance. I need to be able to drop right down into them the moment I work on them, and not have to wonder about what happens next.

However, I consider outlines roadmaps rather than prisons. I deviate often. I follow where the story leads. Sometimes it leads back to the outline, sometimes not. Sometimes the tangents are cut, although I learn something important from writing them.

Remember, as a writer, nothing is ever wasted.

Uncontracted projects that have to work around the contracted ones, have a different process. Sometimes I’ll outline the whole piece. Other times, I’ll make notes, and then write my way into the book for about four chapters to see if it’s viable.

If it is, I find a way to work it into the schedule.

If it’s not, I write a temporary ending scene, wherever it stops. I either retire it or put it in stasis, and turn my attention back to the viable projects.

Every few months, I review the projects in stasis. Is there a project in there that’s calling? Has it reached its time? If so, I read through it, make notes, and fit it back into the schedule. If not, I leave it in stasis. Because it has a temporary ending, it’s not an unfinished project that’s draining energy through lack of attention.

Every couple of years, I review retired projects. Often, they stay retired. I needed to work on them to learn something — readers don’t need them.

But, every once in awhile, a project from the retired pile shows promise, and comes back out. Dusted off, freshened up, maybe a new perspective, and becomes viable again.

My minimum goal for my own fiction, plays, etc., (separate from marketing writing, articles assignments, reviews, etc.) is 1K/day. I generally do that first thing in the morning, and the pages add up. I up my game as I need to when under deadline pressure.

Right now, I’m working on contracted fiction and play projects at 1-2.5K/day and another 750-1000 words longhand on an uncontracted projected. This is around the other paid writing assignments. I will have to adjust upwards on the contracted fiction a bit, but the uncontracted — there’s no pressure, no deadline, so as long as I do a little every day, no guilt, only pleasure.

There are days I don’t write. Most of those are planned days off, and then I try to write more in the days BEFORE planned time off (because if you wait until after, you never catch up). I lost a few days a couple of weeks ago, when I was unexpectedly sick and couldn’t even think or sit up, much less write. It happens.

But, for the most part, I keep a steady pace. It keeps the momentum going, the pages adding up. I keep my commitment to the work, the deadlines, but most important of all — I keep my commitment to myself.

If you don’t respect yourself and your writing, no one else has any reason to, either.

How do you keep your commitment to your work?

Tues. Feb. 27, 2018: Writing, Webbing, and Working With Clients

Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Waxing Moon

Hop on over to A Biblio Paradise to check out Marian Lanouette’s latest release!

Busy weekend. But then, they usually aren’t, aren’t they?

The Devon Ellington Work site is live. Take a look around and enjoy. There will still be tweaks, since it’s an organic element of my writing life, and the new host and construction means I can actually do what I want and need to do with the site.

The Coventina Circle site is live. Again, go take a look around and enjoy. I have a few more pieces to upload, but the information about the series and the books is there.

The Nautical Namaste site is live. Go hang out! It’s got some fun background information on the crew and the passengers of the Charisma.

I’m working on the Gwen Finnegan Mysteries site. I hope that will go live in a few days. Because I’m digging up a lot of location photos for the sites, that may take awhile. Plus, I need to rewrite the Media Kit. Simply updating the old one doesn’t work.

I’m also working on the Jain Lazarus Adventures site, which will go up, I hope, by the end of the week. The information needs a lot of updating.

I hope to start building the new Cerridwen’s Cottage site at the end of this week, and then move it sometime next week; the Fearless Ink site build/move will happen shortly after that.

I see a light at the end of the tunnel with the website building/moving!

Unfortunately, this website stress has hurt my writing.

This is the first time I can remember, ever, in my writing career, where I don’t look forward to facing the page every day.

My editor has given me another extension, for this week. I HAVE TO GET IT DONE. What also worries me is that it’s putting me behind on the other books.

Saturday, I pushed hard on the book, while also cleaning out my closet — which meant 8 loads of laundry. The closet is in much better shape, and I found a bunch of stuff I forgot I owned. I also found a bunch of stuff into which I can still fit. So it’s a good thing I don’t listen to “if you haven’t worn it in a year, throw it out.”

I had high hopes for writing on Sunday, but my brain just couldn’t function. The weather was vile, so I gave myself the day off to recharge. I read, instead, which is one way I love to refuel.

I read both Frances Brody’s DEATH OF AN AVID READER and Louisa Morgan’s A SECRET HISTORY OF WITCHES. The Brody is my favorite in the Kate Shackleton series so far. SECRET HISTORY was beautifully written, both sad and fulfilling.

Also, the entire author bio reads “Louisa Morgan is a pseudonym.” So I don’t want to hear anything from anyone about “why do you write under different names?” and “what are you hiding?” Granted, I’ve only ever encountered that inability to understand a pseudonym where I live now.

There’s a lot of internal work going on, in preparation for upcoming decisions and changes. Nothing happens as quickly as I’d like, constant obstacles are up. The current political situation doesn’t help. The constant need to fight to keep my government from trying to kill me while they’re grifting and helping their friends grift is exhausting. In my opinion, we are living THE WALKING DEAD, with the Narcissistic Sociopath’s cult as the zombies, determined to kill us all and turn us into the mindless shufflers they are.

This morning, I’m back to the book, determined to make it work. Well, determined to finish it and get it on my editor’s desk, so she can help me make it work!

Yesterday, I had a good day onsite with a client. Lots of social media work. Today, I’m back with that client, creating an ad campaign. The photos we got back from the photo shoot look great, and will inspire the text.

Then, it’ll be back to work on the Gwen Finnegan site.

 

Wed. Feb. 21, 2018: Web Host Stress & Writing

Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Waxing Moon

The Tactile Muse finally has a new post up, about removing wax from fabric.

I’m finally back in the rhythm of THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, and it feels good. This is why I love to work with a good editor. I’ve been lucky with most of my editors. There was the one who hated the word “said” and removed it from the manuscript (without replacing it or suggesting replacements) and was ready to turn it in to the publisher until I pitched a fit. But, other than that, most of my editors, especially when it comes to the books, have been great at spotting problems, helping me figure out solutions, and, overall, making the work better.

We’re galloping into the home stretch with SPIRIT REPOSITORY, which is a relief. I’ll be glad to get the manuscript off my desk and onto my editor’s.

The focus is on that rather than MYTH & INTERPRETATION this week, although I’m working on that book, too. And, as soon as REPOSITORY goes off to the editor, I open a new file, pull up a blank page, and start RELICS & REQUIEM. The life of a series writer.

Saturday, in particular, was a productive day. I wrote 2600 words on REPOSITORY. I did a partial clean out of my closet and did 8 loads of laundry. I removed wax from various cloths (see the latest post on The Tactile Muse for more information on how to do that). I put the watery-looking fabric back up over the fireplace (since I don’t have a mirror that fits, I put fabric that looks like it’s underwater up — good feng shui. Never, EVER put your TV up over the fireplace. Bad feng shui). I baked two loaves of spiced pear bread, a new-to-me recipe from a French cookbook. I read.

I also had a three hour argument with my old webhost, the awful 1&1.com. Take my advice and stay away from them. My new host told me to expect a confirmation email about the DevonEllingtonWork transfer at a particular address. An address I haven’t had for eight years, and that I changed when I moved with my old host. I went into my account — even though I’ve regularly updated my information with them for ICANN, they had old information listed. Now, I’ve updated the information multiple times over the EIGHT YEARS since I moved. And, when the registration renewal document is sent to me, it’s correct on that. But it’s wrong in the information supposedly submitted to ICANN. Which makes no sense at all. So I updated it, and then they told me the domain was “locked” for 60 days and I couldn’t move off the host because I entered a “new registrant.” No, you fucking dumbasses, I’m the same person. I entered the correct information that’s been entered regularly FOR EIGHT YEARS, you incompetent jackassses. Now, 1 & 1 is notorious for not letting people move off the host.

I ripped them a new one, and I filed a complaint with ICANN directly.

Supposedly, the lock is off the site and it can move. We will see.

Of course, it doesn’t work. 1&1 blames A2; A2 blames 1&1.

It seems to FINALLY be resolved. The Devon Ellington Work site is on the new host, but it still needs some work. I will make an announcement when I feel it’s ready for visitors.

As soon as the DE site goes live, I have to go in and customize permalinks and add the links so it can move smoothly between the pages on the site. That will take some time. Then, I rebuild the subdomains for each series, one at a time, and I do so live, which is a risk, but will be quicker than the temp link and then switching it.

One the sites for the Coventina Circle, Nautical Namaste, Gwen Finnnegan Mysteries, and Hex Breaker go live again, I’ll set up a temporary URL for Fearless Ink, reload what I built when I tried to move it last time, switch the link back to the permanent link, and then initiate that transfer. I’ll do the same last, but not least, for Cerridwen’s Cottage. It won’t all be done by the end of this month, unfortunately (I wanted to demand some of the quarterly fee back), but maybe I can get it done by next month. I’m thinking I might move Cerridwen’s Cottage first. I have to see if I can get any of the damn sites moved, if any of these hosts WILL DO THEIR DAMNED JOBS.

I am sure 1&1 will create yet more ridiculous obstacles. I wish I’d had the courage to leave them years ago. Thank goodness I learned how to build and work in WordPress, even if I can’t do the fancy stuff. Once everything is on the new host, I think my life will be much easier, at least as far as my web life goes!

On Sunday, I wrote more, again on SPIRIT REPOSITORY. Another 2600 words.

I also finished taking down the February/winter decorations and putting up some of the spring decorations (switching out fabrics on tables, etc). I have the heart off the front door, and the shamrocks up on it. The Ostara/Easter stuff will go up after St. Patrick’s Day.

I’m still trying to wrap my head around Easter and April Fool’s Day being the same day.

Monday, I was onsite with a client. No President’s Day holiday for me! And spent most of the day fighting with both 1&1 and A2.

Fortunately, I had written 3000 words on SPIRIT REPOSITORY in the morning, before the frustration resumed. That’s one of the worst parts of the webhost problems — not only are both these hosts interfering with my ability to earn a living (in addition to trying to extort additional money from me), they interfere with my creativity. The unnecessary stress they put me under by not doing the jobs for which they are paid make it difficult for me to create. But I have a deadline coming up, and I have to push through.

Yesterday, I was also onsite with a client. After I’d woken up at 5 AM because I was so upset about the webhosting issues I couldn’t sleep.

But at least I got a good chunk of SPIRIT REPOSITORY done on both days. Yesterday was more of a struggle, due to the webhost stress.

But I’m exhausted.

I’m also furious about the refusal of Congress to pass reasonable gun reform because they’re paid not to. I’m disgusted by Congress, and by the idiots on the right who are criticizing kids who saw their friends and classmates die. Kids who have the guts to stand up for more than adults ever have.

I know several people who own guns. Some of them hunt for food. They do not have automatic weapons. In fact, most of the hunters I know are bow hunters. They are responsible and eat what they hunt. They are careful to keep their weapons locked up when not in use. They understand that they have a responsibility to the community around them by owning and using these weapons.

The gun owners I know who go around thumping their chests about their rights to gun ownership aren’t smart enough to own guns, or responsible enough. Listen to any of them talk for five minutes, and you don’t want them owning a gun, because they are not capable of intelligent, responsible decisions. They want the rush of knowing they can end a life. They claim it’s for “protection,” but it’s easy to see through both the lies and the delusion. It’s about having power over someone else’s life. Having a power they do not have the right to have and for which they do not have the intelligence, ethics, or responsibility to act appropriately.

In the meantime, while I’m fighting on those fronts, I have to waste time and energy fighting with webhosts. Which in the scheme of the bigger picture means little, but in my personal universe, is huge.

I can walk into a store or a gun show and walk out with a weapon no civilian should be allowed to own faster than I can most a WEBSITE. It’s ridiculous.

At least the first hurdle, webhost-wise, seems to be handled, and I’m fixing the DE site, and building the subdomains. When that is done, in a week or so, I’ll start working on the Cerridwen’s Cottage and Fearless Ink sites.

Fingers crossed!

 

Published in: on February 21, 2018 at 3:54 am  Comments Off on Wed. Feb. 21, 2018: Web Host Stress & Writing  
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