Wed. July 27, 2022: Clearing The Desk

image courtesy of donterasse via pixabay.com

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Dark Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron Retrograde

Partly cloudy and pleasant

THE COMPLEX ANTAGONIST releases today. I’m excited to have these Topic Workbooks going back out into the world.

Yesterday was busy, although I didn’t get as much done as I hoped.

Worked on CREATIVE STIMULUS in the morning. It needed more rewriting than I’d hoped. Wondering if I should move the release date.

Got rid of a massive amount of email.

Ran an errand at Wild Oats, dropped off/picked up at the library, mailed some stuff at the post office, went to the bank,  put gas in the car, and hit up Cinnamon Girl Apothecary for a few necessary crystals.

Turned around three coverages. Wrote and sent in a book review. Found out the artist working group to which I was invited is Friday, not Thursday, which means I can go! I’m delighted. And it’s outside, even better. It means being up very early on Friday, to write before I leave, and getting a lot of work done in the afternoon, before I head off to yoga that evening.

I’m playing with an idea for a short story submission to a Shakespeare horror anthology, which is right up my alley. I sent them an email, because I would like to try something that might push the guidelines a little too far. I’ve got a handful of ideas, so if they don’t want me to do that which I’m asking permission, I have some others to play with. I want to work with some of my favorites, who aren’t as well-known as, say, the characters from MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM. I’m sure there will be many entries tied to that. But no. . .I have other ideas! (And those of you who know me well are laughing, because you know exactly who it’s going to center around).

It’s due in mid-August, so I want to get it drafted next week, as soon as I get my article off to Llewellyn.

The producer who’s doing “The Collector” radio play let me know they’re going into casting for it, which is very exciting.

I’m playing with an idea for a poem for one of the upcoming Word X Word events. Not sure I’ll get in, but I pitched. That’s also in mid-August. I’d actually started playing with the idea driving back from Saturday’s event. If they don’t have room for me, I can massage it into flash fiction.

We’re eating leftovers out of the freezer right now until I can get to the Farmers’ Market on Saturday. I’m looking forward to weather cool enough to I can do up another batch of Moosewood’s mac and cheese and Moosewood’ ratatouille, two of our standbys around here.

Chef Jeremy at Kripalu posted a recipe for a watermelon gazpacho that I just might have to try. I’m excited to be in his class again next week. In addition to being a magnificent human, he’s a wonderful teacher.

Finished packing/repacking my bags in the evening. This morning, I did a few things out and about online, like the prompts and my Italian lesson. And now, I am on the road!

We’ll catch up when I get back!

Fri. July 15, 2022: Of Books and Cheese

collage by Devon Ellington from stock photos

Friday, July 15, 2022

Waning Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune Retrograde

Sunny, warm, and pleasant

Meditation was good yesterday morning. Charlotte enjoyed it, too!

Got the ads for THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS and THE COMPLEX ANTAGONIST scheduled to post/run through the end of September. Created the ads for the other five workbooks, so as soon as I have buy links going live, I can add them into the content calendar, and we’re good to go through August and September. In early September, I’ll decide what I want to do through the end of the year.

I might put some of those ads and some of the ads for The Big Project into an updated marketing portfolio, because they are fun. The ads for the Big Project, in particular, have a rather wacky sense of humor to them, which I think will engage readers.

Did a library run, and dashed into the grocery store to grab some Lysol spray since I can’t find ours. Really excited about some of the novels that arrived. I’m looking forward to reading them.

Spiro Squirrel climbed the kitchen window screen, trying to get in this morning. Willa chased him off. We’ve started closing the kitchen window at night. All we need is for him to figure out how to remove the screen and get inside.

Freelance Chat was fun.

Turned around two scripts in the afternoon.

Skipped Open Studios as MASSMoCA. I needed to focus on my work. Also, the though of getting dressed, putting on makeup, and pretending I wasn’t feral for a couple of hours was overwhelming yesterday. I’m not sure if masking is still required (the email was unclear), and if it’s not, I would have had to leave anyway, because they get crowded. I’m going to have to play each month by ear, and see how what they’re doing fits in with what I’m doing, and with what I need to do to keep us safe.

I’ve done more content calendars than I can count for clients over the years, but doing one for my own work has been invigorating. Having it all there on the calendar inspires me to get it done. It also helps to track the ebb and flow of projects, so I can see where I have room to do more, and where I can pull back a little and not overdo.

Buckle up, my lovely buttercups: The last week of July and the first week of August are going to have a lot of promotion going on!

A Twitter pal and her husband is taking their first ever trip to NYC for 5 days, and I sent them a boatload of suggestions for weird little fun stuff. I really love New York, and I’m so grateful I lived there the years I did. Even though it’s not where I need to be right now, I do love it.

The sentence about the children’s screams cut out from the Uvalde videos released will haunt me the rest of my days. For the parents, who are going through more pain than any of us can imagine, I hope this helps them (rather than insults them, and different parents will feel differently). For those who stood around and did NOTHING while those children were slaughtered, may they never be free from the screaming. May they be haunted the rest of their miserable lives for this, and may they suffer in eternity beyond their own deaths. May they never, ever rest in peace.

I intentionally cleared off the script reading early this week, because I wanted to have three days without it. I’m headed to Pittsfield to a book sale at the library this morning, then taking my mom over to Wild Oats, where the Von Trapp Farmstead is doing an event around their cheese. I never thought I would build time into my schedule focused on cheese, but there you have it. My mom loves cheese, so we are going.

Then it’s back to work, on The Topic Workbooks, and finished the first big arc of The Big Project, so that the next parts of the process can hum along on time, and I can actually make the Big Announcement and The Big Reveal next week, and all of this will make sense.

Then comes the Big Marketing Campaign, which will last for months, so. . .be warned!

Have a great weekend, and I’ll catch you on the other side! The weather has been just gorgeous here, and I hope it is where you are, too.

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. July 13, 2022: Working Through the Storms

image courtesy of Brigipix via pixabay.com

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Full Moon

Pluto, Saturn, Neptune Retrograde

Cloudy and humid

Yesterday was a pretty decent workday. Got a nice chunk of The Big Project done in the multi-colored draft over at the laundromat. Got everything washed and dried, and put away as soon as I got home. Dealt with email, did follow up from the networking session (there’s still some more to do today), got some bills mailed, got the box from the mail carrier that was stuck in the slot (because he shouldn’t have put it there in the first place).

Did a good chunk of work on the Topic Workbooks. THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS just needs a final proof, and it’s good to set for release. THE COMPLEX ANTAGONIST got a solid revision/update, and also needs a final proof. There’s some formatting wonk, but I hope to fix that today and set that release date, then update across the various websites.

Did a couple of ads for them, too. Also created a style cheat sheet, so I can keep the look/details consistent throughout.

If I meet my own goals, the six revised workbooks will release in the weeks leading up to the conference workshop, and the workbook built around that workshop will release the week after. There’s class material for two more workbooks out of classes I’ve taught, and I have ideas for at least two more.

The Topic Workbooks give clear action steps on their topic, and I intentionally keep them inexpensive so people on a budget can afford them and use them.

Finished the script coverage I’d started last night, and did a second one. I have five more scripts I my queue for this week. I won’t hit the preferred mark for the pay period, but I’ll hit the necessary mark. I have to hope the work comes in steadily in July, although I’ll have to work through some weekends, because I’m taking some time away from the work in some of the midweeks.

I also need to get started on the article for the Llewellyn annual, because that deadline is racing toward me faster than I’d like. And, of course, my editor contracted the most complex topic I pitched!

Heard from another editor about an anthology. I wrote and submitted, because I wanted to work with her, and this anthology gave me a chance to stretch. I was shortlisted for the anthology – not promised acceptance, but made it through the first round of 1K submissions. Then, the publisher ran into difficulties, and it looked like things were off. But now the publisher wants to move forward. The editor has left the project. If we choose to continue under consideration (again, no promises, but we’re the shortlisted group), we have to submit directly to the new editor. I don’t know if I want to. My gut tells me to stay far, far away. My ego encourages me to go for it. The smarter choice is my gut. My ego is just going to have to get over itself. I’ll look at the piece again, and find another possible market.

Thunderstorms and pounding rain did little to break the humidity. The next couple of weeks will be hot and humid. Still not as bad as last year, but the cats, who’ve already grown in their winter fur, are miserable. They are little fur puddles. Charlotte was smart, last night. Instead of sleeping on the bed, she slept on a side table in front of an open window (and only came into my room to wake me up for attention a few times).

Started reading the next book assigned for review. It’s good. Hard to settle in to meditation, but came up with a project title. Not sure if I will use it for something already in the pipeline, or if it’s for something new.

The computer decided to do an upgrade this morning. It only took one hour instead of 4, but then none of the software talks to each other, and it will be a mess to untangle it. There go hours of the workday for which I had other plans. Windows11 Sucks.

Back to work on the Topic Workbooks and The Big Project. I hope to have the official announcement for the latter ready to go next week. And then script coverage.

The Jan. 6 Hearings continue to horrify. And the seditionists continue to get away with it. Very discouraging.

Have a good one.

Published in: on July 13, 2022 at 7:04 am  Comments Off on Wed. July 13, 2022: Working Through the Storms  
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Wed. April 10, 2013: Time to get back to work

Wednesday, April 10, 2013
New Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Sunny and cooler

I’m over on Babette James’s site today, interviewed about OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, the play, and the topic workbooks.

Antagonist Cover

I’ve released another Topic Workbook by the way, called THE COMPLEX ANTAGONIST. It deals with creating interesting, complex antagonists in your pieces, instead of cardboard cut-out ciphers. This one is only $1.99 (because it’s shorter than the others), but also contains a mix of exercises and lectures. It’s available on Smashwords.

Yesterday, we went to Salem. It was a gorgeous day. We had a nice drive up there, walked around, checked out the stores. Some of the stores seem to open randomly, which was a shame, because those were the ones in which we would have spent money! We were looking for stuff that’s unique, and that we can’t get anywhere else– because that’s the point of going to Salem! We had a nice walk on the common, meeting a very cute Yorkie puppy named Teddy who was just the friendliest thing, and a cat sitting in the window of one of the houses we passed just wanted attention!

We had a lovely lunch at one of the restaurants, Victoria Station — our waitress had a great sense of humor.

Traffic coming back was awful. We were stuck in the Big Dig and it was crawling all the way down to Braintree — for pretty much no reason, except that the cars at the beginning of the line were being stupid and not moving along. A rock hit our windshield and nicked it, which upset me. The temperature also dropped again as soon as we hit Plymouth — it had been in the 70s up around the North Shore.

Didn’t do much but watch TV last night — was very tired.

Now, have to get back into the swing of work! There’s plenty of writing to get done! And I have to polish the presentation for the conference at the end of the month.

Devon