Thurs. Oct. 3, 2019: Perhaps a Moment of Respite?

Thursday, October 3, 2019
Waxing Moon
Pluto DIRECT
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Drizzly and chilly

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth to catch up on the latest with the garden.

If you didn’t get a chance, hop on over to Ink-Dipped Advice for yesterday’s post about trusting your instincts in early meetings/job interviews.

I had a bizarre experience on Tuesday night going into Wednesday. I was awakened by odd music a little before 4 AM. I could have sworn someone was on the deck. At first, I thought someone was stealing my wind chimes, but it sounded like playing a pennywhistle or something. Came up on the deck for a bit, then moved away. I should have gotten up and checked what it was, but it was too creepy.

When I came down in the daylight, everything was fine.

It was disturbing.

Yesterday was busy at my client’s. She’ll be away next week, and right before she goes is always chaos.

The Remote Chat was fun. It always is.

Came home exhausted. Tessa was busy and kept us going. We have a lead on an adoption that I hope will happen over the next week or so. So far, the conversations have been really good.

I’ve been lucky to have steady, good writing sessions every day, in and around client work. That always helps keep me on keel. Show up at the page; do the work. Stay creative.

I had a good first writing session. I haven’t worked on ELLA for the past few days, because I’m on deadline with another two projects, which had priority. I’m looking forward to getting back to it early next week, though.

I’m working at the library for a bit, and then I’ll go back to my own desk (where I’m most productive), and get back to the page. I want to get the radio play polished and out.

There’s still high stress in certain other areas of my life, so, of course, I use GAMBIT COLONY to ease it. It’s not time that would be spent on the deadlined work; it’s time I’d spent fretting. Instead of fretting, I’m creating.

I’m absolutely dreading the upcoming Mercury Retrograde at the end of the month, especially combined with the ongoing Neptune and Uranus retrogrades. Plus, the whole being in my second Saturn Return.

All those people who told me in my first Saturn Return that the second one would be easier? They lied.

Tomorrow’s post will be late, because I have to take the car in for an oil change.

Anyway, one word in front of the other, and, eventually, it gets done. Back to the page.

Thurs. Sept. 26, 2019: Working To Regain Equilibrium

Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny moving to rain

It’s been a tough week, and I hope the next few days will even everything out.

Hop on over to Gratitude and Growth to find out the latest about the garden.

Not enough writing done, although I’m happy with the quality of what I wrote. Client challenges, not bad, just stuff that had to be dealt with. Too much stupidity and nastiness on social media. I am a big fan of the block button. I am not required to keep toxic people in my life or on my feed. My time and energy is better spent on other types of engagement.

Although, as always, the Remote Chat was terrific. What a great group of people.

I read A BETTER MAN by Louise Penny. As always, I love Jean-Guy, I love Three Pines, the third person omniscient point of view doesn’t always work for me. Although she does it better than almost any author I can think of, and when writers want to study third person omniscient POV that works, I suggest this series.

I’m reading THE ENCHANTMENT EMPORIUM by Tanya Huff. I’m pretty sure I’ve read it before. It feels familiar. Really enjoying it, whether it’s a read or a re-read!

Trying to wrestle the climactic scene and the respite scene of the radio play into submission, so I can do a final polish and send it off. Trying to wrestle the edits for GRAVE REACH into submission.

I have a noon meeting with a potential new client. I like the company, but it will be about if what I’m good at is what they need, and we’re compatible. If that’s the case, then there are location logistics to work out.

We are still all grieving Lucy’s loss. We have not found another rescue to bring in yet. The policy of shelters around here of rescues having to be only pets in the household is simply unrealistic (especially for our household) and completely ignores our decades’ long history of successful rescue adoption and integration. It’s frustrating. And it is not, in every case, in the best interest of the animals. Meanwhile, Tessa gets more and more depressed BECAUSE she’s the only cat in the household at the moment.

I have to trust that the right cat will enter at the right time. It’s always been that way.

And now, I have to get back to the page.

 

Thurs. Sept. 19, 2019: Focus Back on the Writing

writer-1421099_1920
image courtesy of voltamax via pixabay.com

Thursday, September 19, 2019
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Partly cloudy and cool

Hop on over to see the latest on the garden in Gratitude and Growth.

I had terrible nightmares Tuesday night into Wednesday. I dreamed someone was casting fishing line and I got a fishhook in my face.

Good work on ELLA yesterday morning and this morning. GRAVE REACH is going well, too.

Yesterday was a loooong day at my client’s, not just because I had to go in an hour early for a meeting. Part of it was that I had a migraine; another was that I’d had an excellent session directly before on GRAVE REACH, and it was difficult to switch headspaces.

As usual, the Remote Chat was outstanding. Owl Labs has put together a report on remote work. I downloaded it and look forward to reading it.

NIGHTMARE IN PINK, the next Travis McGee, was also frustrating when it comes to the female characters. There’s some gorgeous writing, such as calling cubicle offices “people kennels.” But the women in the books are awful. And McGee self-romanticizes his obsession with sex. He pretends not to objectify the women he screws and leaves, but he does. He justifies it to himself. He can lie to himself; he can lie to them; I’m not buying what he’s selling. I might have when I was twenty. But I know better now.

I listened to the radio broadcast of “Horace House Hauntings” that was done in Florida last spring. It went well. In spite of the gaffe made by one of the actors, who was so charming he took the audience along with him and they applauded when he recovered, overall, it went well. So I damn well better get “Pier-less Crime” polished and out to them.

I have a commitment tomorrow, so I may not blog here. But you can hop on over to Affairs of the Pen, the Ava Dunne blog, where I talk about creating the passenger ensemble for Savasana at Sea. Another Upbeat Authors post will be up on Monday, which is the Equinox. Then we’ll really notice how early it gets dark.

Have a great weekend.

Thurs. Sept. 5, 2019: Running Out of Coping Skills

Thursday, September 5, 2019
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Tropical Storm/Cyclone Warning

If you haven’t seen the latest chapter in the saga of “Fred Needs a Writer” over on Ink-Dipped Advice, hop on over and read it. And pop on over to Gratitude and Growth for the latest on the garden.

Yesterday was fine at the client’s. Samples for Fall 2020 came in, and I spent most of the time there unpacking and hanging. The Spring/Summer collection is already being shown and orders written. We shipped a bunch of stuff, too.

Came straight back after the stint at the client’s. I was exhausted. It was hot and humid and icky.

Remote chat was great, as always.

Watched REAR WINDOW. It’s years since I saw it. I forgot how much humor was in it. Not a fan of Grace Kelly, though. I didn’t find a lot of depth to her performance. Thelma Ritter was much more interesting.

We’ve also started re-watched THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW since the start. I’m doing this in honor of Valerie Harper. It really is funny. What a great ensemble.

Didn’t sleep well. I’m under stresses that I can’t discuss publicly right now, and they’re affecting me in a bad way. I hope to find some solutions sooner rather than later, but the process is painful. I feel like I’ve run out of coping skills.

Writing work, LOIS, pitches, work on GRAVE REACH and “Pier-less Crime” on the schedule for today Also some work on websites, and scheduling some marketing posts. Maybe a couple of hours for another client. Not sure if I’ll go to yoga or not. I have to go grocery shopping first thing, and get supplies in ahead of the storm. We’re really supposed to get slapped on Friday/Saturday by the outskirts of Hurricane Dorian, but we already are under a tropical cyclone/tropical storm watch today.

Sent off my short review to my editor yesterday, and my next assignment is on its way. I’m trying to do one assignment a week for this editor.

Tomorrow morning, I have a very stressful meeting first thing, so this blog will be late. But I’m scheduling the post for Affairs of the Pen, the Ava Dunne blog, so it will go up early. The topic tomorrow is building the ensemble.

I want my life back from before the pre-Occupant insanity.

Back to the page.

Mon. August 26, 2019: Shake Up Your Process — #upbeatauthors

milky-way-2675322_1920
image by Felix Mittemeier via pixabay

Monday, August 26, 2019
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde

We’ve been talking about different things that inspire us here on the blog for the Upbeat Authors Month of Inspiration. Today, our final day on this topic, let’s talk about shaking up our process as a way to inspire.

We all get stuck. We all have days where there’s resistance.

As a full time writer, I can’t afford the luxury of writer’s block. Yes, I said “luxury” and I will not apologize for it. If I want to keep a roof over my head and food on the table, I can’t indulge in writer’s block. When things get tough, I have to show up and do the work anyway. Just like in any other PROFESSION.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t days when I look at my chapter and have no idea what to do next, even with a detailed outline. Or I know what to do, but the words feel like lead instead of taking fire and racing across the page.

Then I know it’s time to shake things up.

How do I do that?

Lots of different ways:

Shower. Yup. For me, that’s one of the best ways to work through plot problems. I take a shower. I get more inspiration in the shower than just about anywhere else. When a book gives me trouble, I am so clean I squeak and practically glow in the dark.

Cook. I love to cook. While I often like to cook focusing on the cooking itself, my mind often begins to wander and work out plot problems. Food and feeding each other is an important part of many of my books. When I set a book somewhere, I often cook meals from that area that are then incorporated into the book.

When I initially write cooking or food scenes, I overwrite them, overload them with detail and sensory description. I then cut back in the editing, leaving what is necessary to further plot & character.

Housework. Vacuuming, scrubbing things, folding laundry. Again, there are days when I want to do it mindfully, when I need to do it mindfully. Other times, I can let my imagination figure out how to solve writing problems. Then I’m eager to get back to my desk AND the house is clean!

Take a Walk. I’m lucky. I live in a neighborhood that is quiet enough to take a walk. I live a few miles from the beach. I live a few miles from several Audubon sanctuaries. Walking helps me clear my head and figure things out. I tried running, but I hated it so much that I stick to walking.

Additional yoga/meditation. Sometimes getting up and doing a few asanas or sitting on my zafu makes all the difference. It’s a refresher for my tired brain.

Read a book. Reading often fuels the writing. The danger is that you get so into the book, you lose the whole writing day. Sometimes I use a particular book as a reward AFTER I get in my quota for the day.

Switch projects. Sometimes this works, sometimes this doesn’t. If you have too many unfinished projects around, it drains creative energy. It’s important to finish what you start. I teach an entire class about this and have a Topic Workbook on it: THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS.

Switch locations. When I get restless at either of the two desks in my writing room, I might write in the living room. Or out on the deck. I often go to the library to work. We’re lucky on Cape; every town has a wonderful library with a unique character. Library-hopping is an activity many locals enjoy. There’s also Cape Space, a wonderful co-working space. I don’t write much fiction there, but sometimes I’ll go if I need to video conference or work on projects for my marketing clients.

Go to a museum. As I’ve talked about, over and over again here, I use visual art to fuel my verbal art. Live music often does the same. Or dance. Or theatre.

Experiment in a new genre. Try writing something in a genre in which you don’t normally work. It can be flash fiction, if you like. Or it can grow into something different.

Write a scene several times, in several different perspectives. If you’re struggling with a multi-person scene, do one draft of it in the perspective of each character. Yes, you’ll cut a lot. One of the most ridiculous things I hear from writers in classes is they don’t want to write something that will get cut. It’s not a waste of time. You need what you learn from it to get to your ultimate goal.

Use prompts. There are prompts all over the place. In July, I posted one every day. They are still up here on the 31 Prompts page.

Write differently. If you always outline, try blank paging. If you NEVER outline, outline something and then follow through and write it. (Note: I don’t call it “pantsing.” To me that sounds like an STD. I call it “blank paging”). Whichever way you try, FINISH THE PROJECT. If you didn’t like this foray, you don’t have to do it that way again. BUT FINISH THE PROJECT.

Join online groups where you can hang out with other artists. I find Women Write Change to be especially valuable, in both good times and rough ones. The #remotechat group on Twitter, with its Wednesday afternoon chats, is terrific. We have so much fun there, and exchange so much useful information. #TheMerryWriter, also on Twitter, is a fun monthly game, and I’ve met some great people through it. I’ve had some excellent conversations with other artists of all types via Ello. Lori Widmer’s Words on the Page blog has grown into a tight, supportive community.

Get together with other artists in person. I like mixing with all kinds of artists. Too often, hanging just with writers lately has become a venting session or all the talk goes to marketing. It’s not enough about craft and content and ideas. (Again, this is why I love Women Write Change — we talk a lot about craft and ideas).

The HobNob Group ended when its founder died last year. I miss it terribly. It was a combination of visual, verbal, and performance artists. We got to learn from each other and support each other. I participate in some of the writer activities around here and go to conferences. I try to attend as many readings and author events as I can. I also go to opening receptions at local museums and art galleries. I’ve cut back on a lot of the other networking I was doing around here (chamber events, business networking events, etc), because I’m setting the foundation for moving in a different direction with my marketing writing.

Online is great, but meeting and spending time with other artists in person is even better.

Make sure you give yourself an Artist Date. We talked about that earlier. If you stick to that, and integrate a weekly Artist Date into your life, a commitment to yourself, you will find that you’re refilling your creative well, and that will flow into all areas of your life.

What are your favorite ways of changing up the process?

Thurs. Aug. 22, 2019: Sometimes You Have to Make the Break

Thursday, August 22, 2019
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Sunny, hot, humid, with incoming storms

If my father was still alive, this would have been his birthday.

Yesterday was okay. Had a decent morning’s work on GRAVE REACH before I headed to my client’s. Had a decent morning’s work on ELLA.

Got a good bit done at my client’s.

The Remote Chat was terrific. I always have such fun with that group.

Stopped at the grocery store, then went home.

Set up an interview with a potential new client near end of day next Tuesday. The company is fairly new, and their work interests me, so we’ll see what happens when we talk.

The Narcissistic Sociopath now claims to be “King of Israel” and the “Second Coming of God”? He’s insane. It’s so infuriating that no one will DO anything to hold him accountable.

Decided to end a friendship because the other person is so toxic in my life. I’ve tried to be a good friend over the years; she’s talented, and I know she’s struggling with mental health issues. But she continues to hurt, attack, stand me up, try to manipulate me all the time. I am done. Her position is that she has mental health issues and therefore can’t be held responsible for what she says or does. She needs to do what she needs to do in the moment to take care of herself, and if lashing out is what she needs to do, then she’s going to do that. She considers it my job to stand there and take it without complaint. Even when it’s behavior I have repeatedly told her is harmful to me. I agree that she has the right to do whatever she needs to. I also have the right not to be her whipping post. Not to constantly be expected to accept the poison and hurt she keeps trying to pour on me. I, too, have the right to take care of myself. We’re done. If her therapist is telling her it’s okay to commit deliberate acts of cruelty toward the people in her life, I have problems with that.

The loss of the good times and her potential and her talent will be mourned; her refusal to take any responsibility for toxic behavior will not.

Today is supposed to be brutally hot and humid, then storms that will break it. I hope that’s true.

I am focusing on my article and on GRAVE REACH today. Had an excellent morning on ELLA. The first draft of ELLA is a mess, all over the place, but I’m loving the process. I have a basic idea of the points I want to hit, but I’m not working from a detailed outline the way I often do.

It’s important to change up the process occasionally, and not get into a rut.

My hand is still bothering me. I have a few hours where I feel better, then a bunch of hours where I don’t. One day at a time, I guess.

Back to the page.

 

Published in: on August 22, 2019 at 8:40 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Aug. 22, 2019: Sometimes You Have to Make the Break  
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Thurs. Aug. 8, 2019: Writing or Not Writing

Thursday, August 8, 2019
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Neptune Retrograde
Sunny, hot, humid

If you haven’t hopped over to Ink-Dipped Advice to read the post on Fred’s Interviews, as part of the ongoing freelance parable, hop on over.

There’s also an update on the garden.

Plodding along on both ELLA and GRAVE REACH. I’m happy with what’s happening in both of them; it’s just not happening in the latter quickly enough.

Onsite with a client was fine yesterday. Got a lot done.

The #RemoteChat was excellent. I have such fun with that group.

Two of the research books I ordered arrived (from two different sources). Unfortunately, one of them was the wrong book. I’d ordered a Caribbean cookbook and they sent a library discard Secret Service memoir. Alibris was a nightmare to deal with. I’m more annoyed with them than the actual bookstore, because Alibris kept trying to get me to create a new account in order to report it. No. Don’t force me to create a new account to report a mistake on an existing order. No. I contacted the bookstore directly, too. Mistakes happen, but don’t make me jump through hoops in order to fix them. We’ll see IF they respond, either one of them.

Several people on social media who call themselves “writers” are talking about how they’re not writing and how much freer they feel. We all need breaks, and I’m all for vacations, even when it comes to writing. But if you keep making excuses not to write, if you feel better when you’re not writing — maybe you’re not a writer. Maybe that’s not the creative outlet for you (or the profession for you). Maybe it’s time to hang up the keyboard and spend your time doing something you ENJOY. Maybe it’s time to stop wasting professionals’ time and expecting them to create your career FOR you (these individuals have also made unfair demands of professional, published writers in the past).

Friends of ours are visiting Saturday morning, on their way to Nantucket. They’re planning to buy a house there (after visiting for decades) and will spend more time in this neck of the woods. I’m looking forward to seeing them and catching up.

Decent morning’s writing this morning, on both ELLA and GRAVE REACH. Working on my article for Llewellyn, getting out a couple of article pitches and LOIs.

Spending some time this afternoon with a travel writer friend, catching up on his recent trip to Calgary, before he takes off for Japan. Then, I’ll take a look at another friend’s radio play, and work on some reading for review pieces.

Tomorrow, I plan to get some work done at the library in the morning, then yoga, then house cleaning and cooking in anticipation for our friends.

I also have some dealings with my elected officials this week into next week, to discuss the chaos and corruption and let them know how I feel about it and what I’d like to see done. Our elected officials can’t represent us if we don’t’ tell them where we stand on things.

A lot of the work I’m doing now is internal, which is not particularly interesting to write about or read about. Things will ramp up in the coming weeks, I’m sure.

In the meantime, stay safe, keep doing your creative work, stay kind, and don’t stay silent in the face of inhumanity.

 

Published in: on August 8, 2019 at 9:07 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Aug. 8, 2019: Writing or Not Writing  
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