Fri. Aug. 25, 2017: Thoughts on Forced Extroversion by an Introvert

Friday, August 25, 2017
Waxing Moon
Neptune Retrograde
Uranus Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Sunny and cool

Ten more days of Mercury Retrograde. Ack!

Sent out some pitches and an initial step of a proposal for a project I’d really like to do. I only heard about it very close to their deadline, so they may already have hired someone, but nothing ventured, nothing gained, and it’s in my wheelhouse, right on target (to mix metaphors), so I gave it a shot.

Worked on “Labor Intensive”, which lived up to its name.

Worked on the revisions for SAVASANA AT SEA. I thought I’d done so much, because I’m in serious beat-to-beat change territory, but it was only a few chapters. A little discouraging, but slow progress is better than no progress.

Got another round of copy edits back on PLAYING THE ANGLES. I don’t understand all of them — some of them refer to changes I made — so I have to go over it with the copy editor. Not sure if the changes didn’t save properly, or if I have to enter them differently in the document or what. We’ll get it sorted out.

Sending back some research books for projects that are farther out in the schedule, because I can’t effectively use them in the current timeline. Noted them, so I can order them again when I need them.

Did some promo for the Topic Workbook The Graveyard of Abandoned Projects which holds up well. This fall, I need to apply some of the techniques, as I reschedule projects for 2018.

Getting the balance right between the fiction and the nonfiction is always tricky. That and deciding where and how to use the peak of my creative energy on any given day.

There was a fantastic piece posted on Facebook, leading back to an article about introverts. As an introvert, it resonated. One of the things I deeply resent about living here is that I’m constantly forced into extroversion, which is painful and makes me miserable. In NY, you were who you were, and, as long as you did your work, no one cared. Here, the pressure to be constantly extroverted — and always to someone else’s convenience — makes me both miserable and furious.

I feel like I’ve lost a vital part of what made me good at what I do, living here. On the one hand, the place itself — the ocean, the land — have definitely helped my work, and in some ways, the quality of life is better. But the constant intrusions into my personal space and needs and the demands that I change the core of who I am to “fit” — well, guess what? I won’t. “Fitting in” has never driven me. I tried to be a civilian and a part of community life, and the prevalent “gimme culture” here doesn’t work, along with the lack of support for the arts (in spite of pretending the opposite). So I’m redrawing boundaries, and I don’t really care if it suits anyone else.

The theory that one can’t have privacy or a personal life if you work in the arts or set foot in social media (or even outside one’s own door) is ridiculous. I get to decide what to share with others. They get to decide what to share with me. The only exception is if any of us are involved in something that actively hurts those around us, instead of peaceful co-existence.

Remember, fellow female travelers, all those times you walk down the street, minding your own business, mulling over whatever needs attention and some jackass calls out, “Smile, honey!”

Forced constant extroversion is the same thing.

I’m not going to damn smile if I don’t want to. Not then nor now. (Which, since I usually am smiling, if I’m not, you can be sure there’s a reason for it, and back the eff off).

I’m not going to be forced into being someone I am not, and someone I do not wish to become.

Nor do I have to explain WHY I don’t want to do something or go somewhere. If I say “no” it is no, and I don’t need to qualify it.

I’m going back to being who I am.

Wherever that may lead.

That’s how I got to Broadway and lived my dream. That’ll work moving forward.

In any case, have a great weekend! I have lots of hearth-tending to do this weekend, along with A LOT of writing.

Best wishes to those in the path of Hurricane Harvey. I hope something happens and the storm weakens and it’s not anywhere near as bad as predicted.

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Published in: on August 25, 2017 at 8:49 am  Comments Off on Fri. Aug. 25, 2017: Thoughts on Forced Extroversion by an Introvert  
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Wed. April 13, 2016: Intense Writing

Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Waxing Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Intense few days. Very productive, but intense.

The two new Topic Workbooks, THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS and ORGANIZE YOUR WRITING LIFE , are both available here and through the Premium Catalog (which means Kobo, Nook, etc.). I’m pleased that they turned out so well. I’ll be adding them in to the various necessary web pages this week.

I worked on Saturday, and was exhausted by the time I came home. I spent Saturday and most of Sunday working on contest entries. I can’t believe how many entries are well beyond 500 pages — I’m talking 750, 850, 1410! And, in all those cases, it’s Book 1 which is so long! Few of them are well-written enough to sustain that length. Most of them are overwritten, have pages of info dump, and the pace can’t maintain the marathon. The characters and the plot aren’t strong enough to compensate.

Monday morning, off to Buzzards Bay for the Board meeting, followed by the Capital Campaign meeting.

When I got back, I was ready to dig in to the writing. On a whim, I pulled out the second draft of HEART SNATCHER, which I’d put in stasis for awhile, because I was frustrated with it. I was surprised by how well it held up. I made notes — mostly having to do with cuts. It’s in good shape, and I think in another draft, it will be ready to go. I then started re-reading what I have of the second book in the trilogy, HEART BINDER — needs work, but there’s promise, especially since I outlined the entire trilogy and smoothed over logistical lapses early on. I want to find a way to add it into the current schedule, while not dropping the ball on either SONGBOUND SISTERS or “Just a Drop.”

Got some work done on Non-Fiction #2, which is chugging along nicely.

Tuesday morning, I rewrote about the first 100 pages of HEART BINDER, fixing a lot of the problems and making it continue smoothly from HEART SNATCHER.

In the afternoon, I finished up the contest entries and made sure the choices were the ones I believed in most strongly.

By the end of this week, I’ll get in the entries for the radio contest, and those will be done by the end of the month.

This morning, I revised the prologue and first three chapters on the next draft of HEART SNATCHER. It will be a long day at work, but I’m eager to get back home this evening and write some more. I’m going to spend the next three days on this trilogy, and then, once I’ve got that in the groove, add in SONGBOUND and “Drop” over the weekend.

Of course, because I have to be inside for the next three days, it’s gorgeous out. But the weather is supposed to hold all weekend and finally get warmer, so maybe we can start setting up the deck.

Devon

Published in: on April 13, 2016 at 9:49 am  Comments Off on Wed. April 13, 2016: Intense Writing  
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Nano Prep: Oct. 28: Outline or Blank Page?

There are two traps here: one is to over-outline and use that as an excuse to not get down to writing. The other is to blank page (also called “pantsing”, an expression, which, to me, means “lazy amateur who doesn’t care”) and then not know what to do next.

There is nothing wrong with either technique, unless it prevents you from doing the actual writing.

If you have tight deadlines or juggle multiple projects, I suggest that you outline. That way, you can sit down each day and have an idea of the day’s work, thereby meeting your quota. When you Blank Page, it’s very easy to sit down, be overtired or unfocused, say “I can’t”, get up and walk away. Do that for a few days, and you’ve blown your goal.

You’re not in competition with any one except yourself, but unfinished projects drain creative energy. In fact, I teach a class called “The Graveyard of Abandoned Projects”. Make the commitment to do this, fulfill the commitment during the month, go past it if you need to in order to finish, and THEN decide where you’ll take it.

Remember, you are under no obligation to ever publish this. So don’t look at it and think, “it sucks, no one will ever want it.” If you choose to keep working on future drafts, it will have a life beyond the first one. If you choose to stick it in a drawer and use what you learned on a different project, that’s fine. It’s your CHOICE. But make sure it’s a CHOICE and not a cop-out by not finishing.

If you decide to outline, it doesn’t need to be anything fancy. I do what I call a “Writer’s Rough”, which is basically a scene list with a sentence or two of description or dialogue about each scene. When I sit down to write, I fill it in. For me, that is the best of both worlds – I’ve got a framework, but I’ve got room to explore.

There’s also nothing wrong with keeping it all in your head, if you’re good at that. Sometimes, writing it down dilutes the creative pressure, and you need to build it in order to have the momentum to carry you through.

Don’t be afraid of tangents – the focus of a first draft is words on paper. You cut and shape in the next draft(s).

Published in: on October 28, 2015 at 5:00 am  Comments Off on Nano Prep: Oct. 28: Outline or Blank Page?  
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Mon. Feb. 4, 2013: Workshops and Rewrites

Monday, February 4, 2013
Waning Moon
Cloudy and cold

We had snow both Saturday and last night. Not bad, just a dusting. It’s pretty.

Imbolc was good on Saturday, and I’m looking forward to spring.

The January Wrap-Up is up over on Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions. I still have to post February’s To-Do List. The webhost’s server was down yesterday, which was very frustrating.

Gorged myself on Louise Penny’s Armand Gamache series over the weekend. I really like the books, and I’m eager for her next release in August. She is the only contemporary author I can think of who can effectively use third person omniscient and it doesn’t feel jarring.

Caught up on classwork. I decided to give the Astrobiology quiz a shot (I planned to audit, not take it for credit), but I got 9.50 out of a possible 10.00, so I just might give it a shot. It’s interesting to see how the Astrobiology course echoes material learned in Sustainability, Philosophy, and the two other astronomy courses. Did the reading for the SF/Fantasy class — Grimm’s Fairy Tales, the Lucy Chase 1882 version. Interesting to re-read them with an adult perspective, and also, realize how many of them have been filtered and changed through others’ visions and how little I remembered of the actual tales. The Philosophy class is interesting, and I’m curious to see what direction it goes it. It does prove why the Right wants to cut education funding — because education encourages independent thought, and that means questioning special interests and fundamentalists.

Finished the article for my editor and sent it off. I have to get some press out for the play today and putting us in the events calendars. I’ve been working on the revision of the other play, SEVEN OF SWORDS, which I have to finish today. The first 2/3 hold together better than I expected, but the last third needs focus. I’ve been playing with different possibilities, so now I have to sit down and apply them. Writing one of the other short stories in my head, and have to sit down and finish another story today. Plus, some scenes from a different piece are bugging me; I want to note them so I don’t lose them, and then schedule them in the queue.

I need to finish up work for an editing client, and “The Graveyard of Abandoned Projects” starts today. I also have to put finishing touches on the handbook for “Sensory Perceptions.”

You can still sign up for “Journal into Fiction” next week, here. And, also next week, if you’re an actor based on Cape Cod/South Shore, the audition details for the play are here.

Better get going – today’s busy!

Devon

Wed. Jan. 30, 2013: Moving Past Frustrations

Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Waning Moon
Jupiter direct
Cloudy and cold

Well, yesterday was a frustrating day, full of cleaning up messes that shouldn’t have been mine, interrupted writing time, and getting a knife in the back up to the hilt. Fortunately, I have a long reach, have removed the instrument of destruction, salved the wound, cleaned the weapon, and now I’m biding my time.

On a happier note, my editor suggested me for a gig. I contacted the person hiring, who’d filled all the slots, I made a flippant comment about keeping me in mind WHEN someone flaked, and he immediately responded that I was right, I should consider myself in as an alternate and part of the loop from Day 1! Getting hired because I’m a brat — I love it.

Also, back-and-forth with my wonderful agent on a couple of things, and more people signing up for the upcoming classes, and some possible new editing clients.

Unfortunately, I also got hit with a migraine in the middle of the day; however, stuff had to get done, so other than lying down for about 20 minutes, I had to push through. Nothing like feeling someone’s repeatedly driving a pickaxe through your skull to sour the day.

I wrote a review this morning, and I have to clear a few things off my desk. I have to take my mom to the clinic later — it’s a regular appointment, but she fell yesterday, and I want to make sure she’s checked out for that, too, when she goes to the doctor on Friday.

Audition notices go out today — if you’re in the area, come on by! As far as writing goes, you can still sign up for “The Graveyard of Abandoned Projects” on Feb. 4-6 and “Journal into Fiction” from Feb. 11-14 here.

Onward to meet the day!

Devon

Mon. Jan. 28, 2013: Gearing Up for A Busy Week

IMG_0813
Iris enjoys a winter nap

Monday, January 28, 2013
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Sunny and cold

Busy weekend. Have to put the finishing touches on this draft of the play today.

Allowed myself to bask in the praise from a magazine editor who liked a submission (although she didn’t take this one, too many paranormal elements), but loved the writing, the pacing, the characters, etc., and asked to see whatever I do next in the genre. So I’m doing it! 😉 Also allowed myself to bask in the praise from a Major NY agent, who saw an article I wrote (the one for WOW) and shot me an email to tell me it was a well-written piece. Baby steps in the right direction!

I felt very burned out, so took a lot of time this weekend to refill the creative well, in this case, by reading.

Read Louise Penny’s STILL LIFE, her first Armand Gamache mystery. She is the only contemporary writer I can think of who can pull off third person omniscient, because she glides from head to head, giving you time in the neutral space between the characters, instead of head-hopping. There are plenty of writers — many in chick lit, romance, and cozy mystery — who try to do this and fail miserably. But Penny is such a beautifully nuanced writer that she can pull it off. Once I read STILL LIFE, I went back and re-read A TRICK OF THE LIGHT, the first of hers I read, released in 2011, and still one of my favorite books. Just beautifully done.

I also read THE BOOKMAN’S WAKE, by John Dunning, and liked it a lot. As someone who teeters on the edge of bibliophilia and could easily tip into bibliomania, the details about the book business in his series fascinates me.

I read a book I promised to review for a blog tour — liked it, will write it up today, and started re-reading both Julia Cameron’s THE SOUND OF PAPER and Starhawk’s THE SPIRAL DANCE. I have a lot of problems with many of Julia Cameron’s tenets, although I think her book THE RIGHT TO WRITE is her best. I agree with her Artist Dates — I think they’re vital. I disagree with the Morning Pages — for me, my first writing needs to be on my Primary Project, not whatever’s on my mind, because that is when my creative time is most fertile. If I do Morning Pages, I’ve used that time for something akin to journal-keeping, and lost my best creative time. But they work for a lot of people, and more power to them. And I’m glad she emphasizes the need to show up at the page every day, whether one feels like it or not.

It will be interesting to re-read Starhawk’s work from this perspective, rather than when I first read her books in the mid-1990s. I’m looking forward to it.

Worked with students. Finished up work with one editing client and have the rest who took advantage of the editing special to do this week. The special is over, and rates are back to normal. Doing some more prep work on the February classes. “Sensory Perceptions” finishes this week. I’ve got a couple of articles I want to pitch, two short stories to prep — one for release on February 1 (the next Samantha Wright piece) and one to send to a submission call.

I want to do some more work on the play before I send it to the actors already cast, and we have to set up auditions for the three remaining roles.

Lots to do, so I better get to work!

Devon

Don’t forget to breathe new life into old projects during “The Graveyard of Abandoned Projects” Feb. 4-6, and transform journal entries into viable fiction in “Journal into Fiction” from Feb. 11-14. Information and registration here.

Tues. Jan. 15, 2013: Herding WordCats (Real Cats are Easier)

IMG_0823
Violet likes the cleared-off table — the one she’s not supposed to be on!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Waxing Moon
Rainy and cold

Temperatures are going down today. It will be chilly!

Stop by the mid-month check in on Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions, and let’s see how we’re doing this month.

I’ve got the laundry going — amazing how fast it piles up.

Yesterday felt a bit like herding cats, so today I have to remove myself from much of that and buckle down to a lot of writing. I spent a lot of hours working, I did a lot, but felt like nothing was really accomplished by the end of the day.

The NMLC got some great coverage of the seal release in several papers, which was exciting. In fact, when I went to my afternoon meeting at another organization, they’d seen it and were all excited, too. Which is great, because no matter what field we’re in, we’re all in this together, right?

“Too Much Mistletoe” was just approved for the Smashwords Premium Catalog, which is exciting. Now, I have to make the other edits and see if I can get the other pieces in there, too.

My list of things that has to get done today is LOOONG and it won’t do itself (darn it, wish I could teach those words to type themselves).

Have a great day, everyone!

Devon

Come join us at “The Graveyard of Abandoned Projects” workshop Feb. 4-6. Take a look at projects you’ve put aside. Learn how to get promising ones back into your schedule, and how to lay to rest the ones of which you need to let go. Information and registration here.