Wed. March 22, 2023: Feeling Spring-y

image courtesy of Jill Wellington via pixabay.com

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Waxing Moon

Cloudy and cold

The latest Process Muse, about physical space, dropped this morning. You can read it here.

I had trouble settling into the page yesterday morning. I thought doing the dishes would help focus me, but I sat down and there were a million little fidgety things demanding my attention. Since I was in that kind of headspace, I did the social media rounds for yesterday’s episode of Legerdemain. I answered emails. I’ve got all but one email account down to manageable levels, and I’m working on that last one, while doing upkeep on the others. That one’s a little rough because I got on an email list for a “media company” that bulk sends sales emails, and every time I “unsubscribe all” they just send it from a different “publication.” I think I’m going to start reporting them as spam. I’ve put in multiple requests to take me off everything, and they ignore it. And they’re mucking up the email.

It’s not where I get my main business/writing email, thank goodness.

Hoopla is finally distributing The Topic Workbooks et al; I have so many links to add to my various pages. I need to block in time to get on top of that.

I’m getting another bonus for the serials, which is nice. I’m working on some paid advertising for them this spring.

I have Process Muse topics planned into next January! I managed to do a little bit of work on an upcoming post, but I need to fact check a few things. I will finish it up tomorrow or Friday and schedule it.

Put in a request to have maintenance come and take a look at the dishwasher. I’m pretty sure it needs a new power board; hopefully they’re willing to do that, and not just switch it out with whatever subpar dishwasher they have on hand. The guy was going to stop by either yesterday afternoon or this morning; it wasn’t yesterday afternoon, so I hope it’s this morning.

Turned around a coverage in the afternoon. It was warm enough to work out on the porch, with hyacinths and cats.

I’m looking forward to April, with the DG’s End of Play providing the emotional space to write FALL FOREVER, and then I’m doing an eco/wellness challenge with the yoga studio. I mean, daily life and script coverage and the rest is in there as well, but I’m really looking forward to those two pillars of the month’s structure.

Yoga was great last night. The woman behind me grew up on the street where I currently live, so we had a lot to talk about. Her daughter is opening a vintage clothing shop within walking distance, so I look forward to checking it out when it opens. I had some good conversations with several people there. The studio draws a really interesting, eclectic group. I’m looking forward to spending more time there.

Picked up takeout on the way home (I need to stop doing that). And someone was in my parking spot. I moved over two slots, to a space that’s usually free, because I didn’t want to take anyone else’s.

Slept well, although I had busy dreams. I was in an office I remembered in the dream from another dream. It had to do with horse racing. It was something about jockeys being drugged without their knowledge/against their will. I need to make a few notes, because there’s the seed of something there (and I haven’t written about horse racing in a long time).

Up early. Off to the laundromat (believe me, it was necessary). I was the only one there, which was glorious.

While the laundry went through the machine, I started the first read-through of THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH since I finished the first draft in December. When I finished the draft, I was relieved that it was finished, but I was discouraged. However, starting the read, there’s a lot I really like, especially when it comes to voice, dialogue, and character. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty to do on it, PLENTY, before it’s submission-ready, but there’s a good foundation. Both this and CAST IRON MURDER, I think, are suitable for agent/traditional submissions rather than small publisher submissions, as long as I don’t get boxed in to “cozy.” TREES is definitely historical mystery (1957) with an older, amateur female sleuth AND deals with the issues of the day, so it would be difficult to try to push it into a cozy box. CAST IRON deals with contemporary social issues; it could be heavily revised to be a cozy, but that would destroy the book, in my opinion. Both have strong, older female protagonists at the center. Both have long-term series potential.

I will sit down and write a series overview for each as I work on revisions, and have that ready, in case it’s requested. I have thumbnails of the first three books in each series. I have publishers in mind that I think would work for each of them, but I will probably query agents first, although I don’t think that will happen until autumn for CAST IRON and probably not until next spring for TREES.

But both are stronger, overall, than I thought they were when I finished the original drafts. They definitely need both a developmental edit and a multi-colored draft edit to clean up sloppy writing, but they are nowhere near the hot messes I thought they were when I finished them, and that’s a good feeling.

I’m waiting for the maintenance guy to come and take a look at the dishwasher; I don’t want to get caught up in writing Legerdemain and then get interrupted; at the same time, if he doesn’t show up on time, or is hours late, I don’t want to lose that writing time.  I guess I could fold laundry first, right? And then, if he’s not here by the time it’s folded and put away, I’ll sit down to write and hope he doesn’t show up until afternoon!

I have one script in my queue today and two tomorrow, so I’m in decent shape.

Episode 17 of Angel Hunt drops today. I hope you enjoy it.

Have a good one!

Thurs. Feb. 23, 2023: Back To Winter

image courtesy of mbll via pixabay.com

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Waxing Moon

Snowy and cold

Read about the garden progress on Gratitude and Growth.

Got next week’s Process Muse polished and scheduled. Did the social media rounds to promote yesterday’s episode of Angel Hunt, yesterday’s Process Muse on marketing, and the day’s #28Prompts.

Did a final polish and proofread of the article, added the photos, and sent it off. It’s in a week before deadline, which gives us time to work on it, if needed, since it’s the first time I’ve worked with this publication. The editor confirmed that she received it, so now it’s just about waiting for notes and doing another pass, if necessary.

“Met” a fellow serial writer over on Mastodon who has the same serial up on both Vella and Substack. I didn’t think one could, but she said as long as Substack stays behind a paywall, one can. I have to grow my Substack a little (a lot) more before I can even think of paywalls, but that’s good to know, and I’m curious as to how the two platforms A/B test.

I feel the beginnings of an article happening. I’ll have to figure out a pitch and then decide which editor to which to pitch it. I can think of a couple who might like it.

I think I will tie the Legerdemain giveaway to the 100th episode of the serial. Not sure when I’ll do the Angel Hunt giveaway; sometime this summer, probably. I’m deciding what kind of swag to get done for each serial, along with some other fun stuff to put in.

Submitted a play to a call. Turned around a couple of pitches and scoring sheets. Started a coverage, and will finish it and do another today. Finished one book for review. Stayed up way too late with the other (because it was really good) and finished that one, too. Will write up the two reviews this morning, send them off, and ask for my next assignment.

The second box of contest entries is on the way, which means I better finish the first batch this weekend. But I’m in decent shape, and not worried. I do have to enter some scores on the sheets, though.

Meditation this morning, then writing, then coverage. I might get out a couple of LOIs, too. Skipping an online event today, because they are AGAIN talking about “niche.” I’ve participated in this conversation multiple times and I have nothing new of value to add. I am the anti-niche. That is why I continue to build my career in economic downturns – because I’m not limited to “niche.” But they don’t want to hear that, because the bulk of them bow to the Altar of Niche. Hey, it works for them, great, but as I said, I’ve had the conversations before, I have nothing new to add, so there’s no point in participating.

Same with the writers who keep asking about balancing “personal” and “professional” writing. Honey, ALL my writing is professional, even if it hasn’t yet been contracted, or I’m experimenting in new forms. It’s all a part of my career. And, as I’ve said a gazillion times, I can do this because I always put my own work first, and build the client work and other responsibilities around that. Which doesn’t mean I short shrift the client. The client gets full concentration and talent; I just arrange my workday differently, aiming different energies to different tasks, so they all get good work.

Putting your own work first does not mean you are neglecting your family or your other responsibilities. It energizes you and allows you to have a stronger relationship with all of the other parts of your life.

In meditation this morning, we did something very interesting: we were asked to be aware of the blood flowing in our bodies. What a strange sensation! Not negative, although a little disquieting. But very interesting.

I have bread on the rise. I’m not going out in this weather (except to dump the garbage and pick up the mail). I’ll make breakfast, and then it’s back to the page.

Have a good one.

Thurs. Dec. 29, 2022: First Draft of THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH is Done!

image courtesy of Dom J via pexels.com

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Waxing Moon

Uranus, Mars, Mercury Retrograde

Partly sunny and mild

Finally, there’s a new post up over on Gratitude and Growth!

To say I am unhappy about a FOURTH Mercury Retrograde this year is an understatement. I need a full year with NO Mercury Retrogrades (yeah, I know that won’t happen).

I did some work on some of the websites yesterday morning. The Devon Ellington Work website is missing a bunch of material I’d uploaded over the past months, which is disturbing. I managed to add the Serials page and rearrange a few things that weren’t working. I need to take down and re-upload the slide show on the landing page. I did some fixes on other pages, but also have to add in more buy links, since additional markets opened for some of the releases. I did some work on the Legerdemain website, but not enough. I wrote the blurb for ANGEL HUNT, and came up with the logline, which I will add today.

When all that was done, I sat down and worked on THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH. By the end of the first 2K, I knew I was only a couple of chapters away from the end. So I kept going (thank you, Paula, for the encouragement along the way). I wrote a total of three chapters, around 6K, and finished this first draft. Phew! I made my goal of finishing the draft by the end of the year.

It came in just over 68K,which is a little low for this genre, but it leaves me room to layer in more period detail, integrate it better into the story, and maybe put in another red herring or two as I revise.

Now it can sit for two months, before I start working on revisions. Before I revise, I also have to spend some quality time in the library archives with newspapers from the months the book covers, for more color and detail. I’ll have to see, on the schedule, if I need to book library time the prior week, or if that’s part of the “start of revisions.” It will depend how the rest of the schedule shakes out.

I noodled with some ideas I’m playing with. There are a couple that seem viable, but until I write my way in for a few chapters, I can’t be sure.

I should have worked on downloading the rest of the software and getting the other Gmail accounts up and running again, but I didn’t. No doubt, with Mercury Retrograde again, they will be a PITA. I shouldn’t be forced into 2-factor authentications for email. It has nothing to do with “security” and everything about collecting and selling my information.

I received the next two books for review; I hope to get them done over this holiday weekend, so I can submit the reviews and invoice for this last bunch. Since I took the time off from script coverage (not that anything was even coming in), I want to be able to invoice for at least a little bit at the top of the month. I have bills, plus things like another Chewy order coming up.

Brainstormed a bunch of ideas for The Process Muse, Ink-Dipped Advice, and the Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions blog, so now it’s about sitting down and doing some batch writing this week and next week. I’d like to get a little ahead, in case of more technical difficulties.

I read THE FORTUNE TELLER by Gwendolyn Womack last night. Wow. That was an intense book. If you like tarot, old manuscripts, and adventure, it’s a good read. I’m going to track down and read her other books, too.

Up early this morning, to the glorious smell of freshly brewed coffee. It’s amazing how much that small indulgence improves the start of my day. Charlotte kept waking me up all night, wanting attention, so I don’t feel particularly well-rested.

I wrote early, a few pages in longhand, playing with one of my ideas. It’s going well (in spite of the pages written at the busy laundromat last week, which don’t really make sense). It was difficult to stop and switch my focus over to meditation group, but I did, and I’m glad I did. Charlotte was thrilled to be back up on Zoom again.

This morning, I’ll probably do a little more work in longhand, before doing some more work on LEGERDEMAIN and ANGEL HUNT. I also want to work on ahead on some posts for next week, typing up the answers to the GDR Questions for 2023, and posts for Ink-Dipped Advice and The Process Muse.

I also hope to have time to make some specific notes on another project I’m noodling. Basically, I’m noodling three (or is it four?) different projects to see which is viable and can be fitted into the schedule, as I work on the writing schedule for this year. There’s a lot I want to finish and get out the door, and I also have to leave room for new work, work that’s coming out of stasis, and new opportunities. As I get an idea of how everything is earning its keep, I can make decisions on how much and what kind of freelance work to take on month-to-month.

Instead of being a roadmap, this year’s plan is more like a big lake of writing, and then I need to see which rivers of words are the most viable on creative and financial levels, and put my energy there.

Mercury just went retrograde, and I’m already over it. I dread putting up the new printer, but I need it.

And I’m finished a bunch of admin work and clearing file space, so I can put AWAY the old year, and make room for the new, with all its opportunities. I dreaded the turn of the last year, much as I wanted 2021 to be over. I feel like the internal work I’ve done this year is getting ready to affect the external portions of my life in 2023, and for that, I am grateful. I’m still a little afraid to be hopeful, but I’m grateful.

Have a good one, my friends.

Published in: on December 29, 2022 at 10:07 am  Comments Off on Thurs. Dec. 29, 2022: First Draft of THE TREES WHISPERED DEATH is Done!  
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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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Fri. Feb. 4, 2022: Let’s Hope Freezing Rain Doesn’t Freeze My Brain

image courtesy of adege via pixabay.com

Friday, February 4, 2022

No Retrogrades!

Freezing rain, temperature dropping

Can you imagine? No retrogrades!

It rained all day yesterday, and now, as I type this (in the morning), it’s switching over to sleet/freezing rain and rather nasty out there. I need to dash to the mailbox at the end of the street (not going all the way to the post office) at some point to mail more bills, but that will be the extent of leaving the house today.

Yesterday was another mixed day. I finished one of the radio plays. I worked on, but didn’t finish the other, and I need to get that done, because the two have to be submitted together. And that damn well needs to happen today. As it is, I might have missed my window.

I spent too much time brainstorming on the anthology, and need to curb my time on that a bit, because it’s interfering with The Big Project and a couple of other things I have going. I need to write up my proposal, draw up a floorplan for a building that can be shared space in the anthology, and then not spend several hours every day on it until we have more parameters and deadlines.

I finished THE CHRISTIE AFFAIR. Very well-written, and gave me a lot to think about.

Worked on script coverage, but didn’t get as much done as I hoped, so I have to buckle down today, once I finish and submit the radio plays.

I also want to buy Scrivener today and get that installed. I had hoped to start learning how to use it (I think it will be helpful for The Big Project), but I’m not sure I can make the time, with everything else that needs attention.

There were a couple of communication snafus (typically as Mercury is retrograde and stationing direct). One of them is a big red flag, client-wise, and I’ll have to see if it straightens out appropriately, and make decisions from there. The other was just one of those things, and totally not about me, although, exhausted, after a 16-hour day, it was difficult not to take it that way. But it wasn’t, and I put my ego aside, and acted like a decent human being. Because we’re all stressed and struggling, and doing the best we can.

I had hoped to have a very productive week and take the weekend again, but I’m behind where I want to be on a few things, and need to use the weekend to make it up. I still had a productive week, especially when it came to my own work; now I just need to balance it with work that brings in money immediately, not a few months down the road.

Had a discussion with another writer on social media about serials. I love writing them and reading them. However, I’m not all that thrilled about a writer who simply releases chapters of a book over time and calls it a “serial.” No, you’re just charging per chapter, and I’ll wait for the damn book. Serials require a slightly different structure, within each episode, and also driving the overall narrative. Yes, they can be released as books once they’re complete (hopefully, quite a bit of time after they’re complete), but they usually need a little tweaking to smooth them out as novels.

So when a writer is on social media talking about how they’re releasing their novel as a serial, I’m not all that interested; but if they’re actually talking about writing and releasing a serial as a serial, I am.

That’s just me. Writers need to do what they want, but how it’s framed affects whether or not I’ll buy it. And if I feel lied to, I’ll just cross them off my purchase list for the future.

Anyway, the freezing rain is pounding against the windows, and I need to get as much done as possible in case the power goes out.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, May 14, 2018: #UpbeatAuthors The Next Step on the Ladder

black-and-white-construction-ladder-54335

Photo courtesy Khimish Sharma, via Pexels.com

Monday, May 14, 2018
Dark of the Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde

 

My first response to that is, “Which ladder?” I have various limbs on various ladders. I write in different genres, under different names, in a variety of formats: prose, theatre, television, film, radio. Journalism. Essays. Marketing writing. Reviewing.

I do very little editing for private clients now, because the time/money ratio doesn’t work for me, too many would-be writers default on payments (when they’re not trying to lowball me down to a fraction of my rate), and I need the primary focus to be on my own work. When I edit, I am generally hired by the publishing house to work for something under contract that has passed particular gate-keeping standards.

I am with more than one publisher. One of them, who has signed several projects, is small, just starting out. We are taking a risk on each other. Among the reasons I was excited to work with them was that they pay small advances, don’t demand their writers acquiesce to a boiler-plate contract AND, instead of POD, they do small print runs. The print runs are after a certain digital threshhold is reached, but the POD model was not working for me, so I wanted to try this. I am still with another publisher who is doing the POD model, and I have submissions out to several other publishers, who work on a mix of models, so we’ll see what happens. I also liked them because the editor with whom I’m working constantly pushes me to be better. And that is my goal — that every book I write is better, in both craft and art, than the previous books.

About a year ago, I sat down with a lawyer, an agent, an editor, and a marketing advisor, and we came up with a plan. I was unhappy and frustrated with the way things were going in my career. I knew I wasn’t writing what the Big Five wanted; I wanted to explore some things that they are currently giving lip service to, but not following through on, and I wanted to do it in my way. We were not a good fit at the time. I knew I was going to part from an agent I’d been working with for several months, because we were not a good fit. When we got together, she was excited by my work and my voice; but the more we worked together, the more she wanted to dilute it and take out what made it unique. She kept telling me my themes and issues were “too hard for the typical reader.” In other words, she wanted me to dumb things down, and I didn’t want to do that. Also, she only wanted to commit to a book at a time, and I need an agent who is interested in long-term career planning. She has since signed a friend of mine, and they’re doing great together. I’m happy for both of them; they are the right fit. We were not.

As far as the marketing writing went, I wanted to have the confidence to say “No” to the lowballers locally and reach farther afield. The interesting thing is that as soon as I did that, I landed two clients locally with whom I work well, WHILE also reaching beyond the bridge for clients who pay better.

We took four or five days together, and I took about twenty pages of notes. We crafted a plan. Some of that we followed; some of that has fallen by the wayside for various reasons.

I re-stated my commitment not to “niche” — to me, that’s a death toll for a creative life. Far too many people who “advise” freelancers sneer and call what I do a “generalist.” I prefer to call it being a “Renaissance Writer” and I’ve written on this topic for both WOW-Women on Writing and Write Naked!

I wanted to get back into article writing, which fell by the wayside for a bit. I started pitching again, and I did pretty well, but that seems to be one of the things that falls away first. Since I enjoy articles — every part from the pitch through the research through the writing and the polish, especially working with a good editor — I need to get back on track with that.

One of the big changes I made was in the way I do pitch letters. Instead of trying to frame what I do to sound like what they want, I’m more specific in the elements I think will appeal and more specific in where our paths diverge. I’m more myself in the cover letter — while still structuring it the way I find works — hook, one paragraph summary, technical info, bio, why this market. And the results are good.

This year and next, I’m on a brutal contract schedule. I’d spent a couple of years working on different types of material, on working on craft. Now, with a commitment to more than one series, I am sitting down and writing the books.

Last year, PLAYING THE ANGLES was re-released, as the first of the Coventina Circle paranormal romantic suspense novels (in its original incarnation, it was a stand-alone). The second book in the series, THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY, just released, and the third, RELICS & REQUIEM, will come out in October of this year, with the fourth, GRAVE REACH, coming out in May of 2019. So that’s a tight schedule.

Last year, the first Nautical Namaste mystery, SAVASANA AT SEA (as Ava Dunne) released. It’s a not-quite-cozy mystery series, whose protagonist is a yoga instructor on a cruise ship. Only one of those books comes out a year! But the next one, DAVY JONES DHARMA, is due in early December this year.

TRACKING MEDUSA, the first Gwen Finnegan mystery, re-released this past January. As I worked on the second book, THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE, I realized that there was a chunk of it that slowed down the plot. Yet the information was necessary to where my characters were in their emotional lives and how they’d built their day-to-day relationships. Flashbacks and info-dump conversations wouldn’t work; so my editor and I decided to pull out those chapters, flesh them out into a “between-the-books” novella, now called MYTH & INTERPRETATION, and put that out this summer. BALTHAZAAR is still scheduled to come out in January of 2019, and that is now back on track, the pace and content correct.

In the meantime, I had three terrific opportunities. One was to pitch a serial. Those of you who’ve known me for several years know that I used to write four serials in four genres under two names for 18 months a few years back. A total of 8000 words a month. I love writing serials, and I miss it. I had the chance to pitch to a company that specializes in serials.

I pitched a fantasy/adventure novel. I’d written the first four chapters a couple of years ago and put it aside for scheduling reasons. But, when I had this opportunity, I wrote a few more chapters, and outlined what would be the book-length arc of this serial. I fell in love with it all over again. If it’s picked up, it goes back in the schedule; if not, it will be back-burnered again.

I also had two other ideas, stand-alones, that I played with, on and off for a couple of years, writing my way in the first few chapters, then making notes for my Writers’ Rough. On impulse, I polished pitches and tossed them into a Twitter pitch day for a specific company. Editors liked both; so I’m working on some additional chapters, polishing them, and sending them out by deadline this month. Again, if the editors want the full manuscript, they go back into the schedule sooner rather than later; if not, they are back-burnered until next year, when my contract schedule isn’t quite as demanding.

As I said above, I have a couple of other pieces out on submission; if they are contracted, they will be worked in. I also have a serial novel — which is different than a novel broken down as a serial. This is a set of novels that are all of a piece. It follows the filming of a television series over several seasons. Not a series, in the sense that each stands alone and progresses. These novels all fit together like puzzle pieces. One of my publishers has expressed interest in looking at it when the first five or so puzzle pieces are ready. When will that be? I don’t know.

I also made a commitment to do more script work again. I’m taking this year off from stage plays (I wrote four in three years for 365 Women). But one of my radio plays will be produced later this month, and I want to submit some screenplays I’ve polished.

Along with all this, I will pitch to higher-paying clients and higher-paying article markets. Gotta keep a roof over my head, and if I don’t keep up the writing pace I can’t. This is my profession, not my hobby. I am paid to write. That IS my day job. While my book sales have jumped considerably since I moved webhosts and redesigned my websites, I still need the marketing writing and article writing for income. Plus, I enjoy it.

So, my “next step” is building on the foundation of the series on which I currently write; continuing to expand the publication contracts with other publishers at higher-paying tiers, and book higher-paid marketing and article gigs.

I’ve found a process that works for me as far as the new ideas — because, as we all know, new ideas come in batches. I write my way in for a few chapters, then sit down and do a Writer’s Rough Outline. That way, whenever I can actually sit down and WRITE the book, I can drop into its world. The Writer’s Rough outline captures the initial energy of the idea, and then, as I work, I can develop the structure and the craft.

In the coming weeks, we will sit down again and assess how this last year played out. What worked, what didn’t. Where I lost focus, and what I dropped because it didn’t work. And we will craft a plan for the coming year that will guide me toward the “next step on the ladder.”

I don’t want fame. I worked in theatre and film for too many years and see how it can hurt creativity and general life; that is not what I want. I do want financial stability, and to be paid fairly for my work. There is no reason not to be paid well doing work I love. My profession is writing. I will not let ANYONE decide that it’s a cute lil hobby and I don’t deserve to be paid a living wage. I will dig in and do it, and earn my living. It will be a mix and match of projects and styles and tangents, but writing is my profession. When I decided I wanted to work on Broadway, I didn’t let anything or anyone stand in the way of achieving that goal. Now that I’m writing full-time, I feel the same way.

My next step is increased earnings and visibility for my work. It is also participating in the community of writers who love what they do and are committed to a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work across the board, no matter what the profession. It is refusing to “dumb it down” or change what I write because people I don’t respect threaten not to buy what I write. The great thing about writing is that there are plenty of authors writing in plenty of styles and genres, so there’s something for everyone. It’s fine if someone doesn’t connect with my work — there are wonderful authors out there with whom they WILL connect. But threatening me and demanding I change what I write is not going to work.

Artists have a responsibility. I believe that responsibility is to bear witness to the world, to expand people’s vision of the world, but also to create better worlds and help us find ways to reach those better worlds inclusively and fairly. A better world needs social and economic justice. By respecting our own value, our own worth, we set the tone.

For more inspiration on valuing your work, please visit Lori Widmer’s Words on the Page blog. It’s great all the time, but May is Writers Worth Month. It’s especially great now.