Thurs. May 24: Writers Worth, Writing, and Weekend Prep

Thursday, May 24, 2012
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Sunny and foggy and pleasant (all at once)

I was felled by a migraine for most of yesterday, so I wasn’t online much. I didn’t get a chance to send you over to the Writers Worth Week post of the day, which is Peter Bowerman’s terrific article about “deserving” or not deserving to make $5 to $10 an article. Peter’s inspiration helped give me the courage to make the leap. He’s always got something great to say, and this is no different.

Today’s post is by the wonderful Cathy Miller on a Freelance Writers’ Dictionary, which is awesome.

Took my mom to the eye doctor — her eyes are healing well, and she’s allowed to drive again. It will be good for her to gain back her independence.

Revised six chapters of the book — only 10 more to go. I’m not cutting enough yet, and that concerns me. I’ll have cut close to 8K in the draft, but a lot more needs to go. Worked on my article. Waiting for quotes. Did some more PR for my classes. Spent time with students. I REALLY need the upcoming holiday weekend break, and I intend to enjoy it thoroughly. I plan to spend a lot of time in the garden, a lot of time reading and writing, and very little time online!

I read Garry Marshall’s new memoir, MY HAPPY DAYS IN HOLLYWOOD, which reminds me of the good things about the business. And I read an anthology created by Mercedes Lackey called LAMMAS NIGHT, which is outstanding — some of the best short stories I’ve read in ANY genre. The controllers of the purse strings might be bitching and moaning that the paranomal/urban fantasy market is glutted, but there’s always a hunger for outstanding fantasy. This volume was published in 1996, and it’s as relevant today as when it was published — maybe even more so.

Don’t forget to vote on Facebook, on Saturday the 26th, for the National Marine Life Center in Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good program. Winning that Highlander would be fantastic!

Yoga was great this morning, but boy were we worked hard!

Have a GREAT memorial day weekend, people! I’ll put up the link — I’m the featured guest on Words on the Page to wind up the two Writers Worth Weeks tomorrow — and then I’ll see you again on Tuesday!

Devon

Don’t forget the Setting Up Your Submission Systems Workshop on June 2, online. Far too many submissions go unread and automatically rejected because writers don’t submit properly. Learn how to avoid that, and set up a system that makes submissions a breeze! Information and registration here.

Tues. May 22, 2012: Roller Coaster Day!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Yesterday was such and up-and-down day! Managed to revised six chapters of HEART SNATCHER, which was a great note on which to start. Got some other work done, spent time with students.

Had a few hours of alternating fury and misery when I discovered that some individuals on a job in whom I invested hundreds of hours of time and trust just threw it back in my face. Well, what are you going to do? I already knew the situation was not one in which I wanted to stay past the current commitments — but at least I FULFILL my commitments. It’s about fear, power, manipulation, done via passive aggression — you know how well THAT goes over with me! You don’t get your own way all the time, Pickle, especially when you’re wrong and doing something destructive to yourself and others. Imagining how to fictionally kill them off in a story made me realize just how ridiculous it all is, and how it’s not worth my time and energy. New doors are opening for me; I have no reason not to take fresh risks. Especially not out of misplaced loyalty.

The Writers Center wants to put me on their regular roster for Tomorrow’s Writers Today — they thought I did well, the kids responded positively, and they want me back. Good! I can take what I learned from this go-round, switch up a few things, focus it differently, and make it better.

I got some more good news — a piece one of my private students worked on under guidance has been offered a contract! I’m thrilled for her. She worked hard on it, and it was a case of taking a good idea and going deeper, that’s all.

I got my next assignment for Confidential Job #1 — a double this time! Can’t wait to do it. Didn’t manage to finish the article (still waiting for quotes). Managed, however, to do a good deal of press for my upcoming workshops — putting them up in local events calendars, etc. — and got some ads for business services out there. Got a negative response back on a pitch — but the content of the refusal had nothing to do with what I actually pitched, so I think they might have sent me someone else’s letter. In other words, I dodged a bullet!

Very tired, but that’s just the way it is right now. Looking forward to the holiday weekend break. I’ll be writing, but not interacting.

The West Dennis Library is doing a benefit on June 10. They asked me to donate a signed copy of ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT for the Book Basket they’re auctioning off. I’m delighted! More information here.

A few things to think about/remember/check out:

On Saturday, May 26, from 10 AM to Midnight EST, please click over to 100carsforgood.com with your Facebook account and vote for the National Marine Life Center — we’re a finalist in the program, and have the chance to win a Highlander in order to transport wildlife to and from the hospital. It would make a huge difference to the center, so please stop by and give us a vote!

Writers Worth Week continues with Kimberly Ben’s article on Flexing Your Confidence Muscle.

Don’t forget to sign up for Setting Up Your Submissions System online seminar on June 2. I’ll walk you through bios, loglines, submission packets, clip files, the types of ways to prepare your files so all you have to do is attach, and more. The resource guide is worth the price. More information and registration here.

If you’re in and around the Cape area in June and July, I’m teaching in person at Three Fish and A Ram Community Art Center in Mashpee. There’s a tarot class for artists in all media, a writer/performer collaborative, and a writing workshop to stretch technique. I’ve got a page with details set up here.

I’m off to mediation now — I need it! Then, it’s back to work.

Devon

Monday, May 21, 2012: Busy weekend and Kick-Ass Editing Morning!

Monday, May 21, 2012
Waxing Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Rainy and cool

Busy weekend! Honestly, I can’t remember what I was doing on Friday, other than prepping for class and getting press releases done and working with students.

Oh, wait — I went to an art opening at the Cape Cod Cultural Center in Yarmouth. That was fun. My friend (one of the inspirations for the upcoming Bellini Girls comic mysteries) invited me. The artist is the wife of a musician we know. Her work is lovely! I also met the mother of the previous tenant in this house (small world) and the associate director of the center. And a bunch of other people. It was a lot of fun.

Saturday was the Tomorrow’s Writers Today program. My fellow writer/teacher is terrific — he taught the non-fiction portion and I taught the fiction. We swapped books at the end — I can’t wait to read his book over Memorial Day weekend. What a treat! The kids were split into two groups and we each had one in the morning, and then we switched. I was pleased and impressed by the talent in the room. These kids are not writing pop culture derivatives. They’ve got IDEAS. And they’re more competent and understand the significance of things like spelling, grammar, and structure more than many of their adult counterparts. If I’m asked back, I’d structure it a little differently — I was trying to give them an overview of several different aspects, and each session had slightly different exercises. I think I’d want to either do a scene-by-scene story building or a revision intensive, if they wanted to bring me back. The sessions were so short, it was hard to build a group dynamic easily — if we worked, say, for two or three sessions together, it would have made sense to read aloud and split them into critique partners and stuff, but in a session this short, I didn’t want anyone to feel put on the spot. I might do a round-robin one-line of a story next time at the beginning to get them warmed up. IF I do it again.

But I’m glad I did it. I was wiped out, though, by the time I got home. I had a glass of wine on the deck, and then went in to watch the Preakness. As much as I wanted my friend to win, I was also glad that I’ll Have Another got the second leg, and there’s the chance for a Triple Crown this year. Creative Cause was still my favorite horse in the race, but I think both he and Gemologist will really come into their own during Saratoga and Del Mar.

A positive aspect of not officially covering the races this year is that I get the chance to simply enjoy them again. My coverage the past few years grew cynical. With this break, maybe next year I can approach it with a fresh enthusiasm.

I was so tired I did an hour of restorative yoga and was in bed by nine. I slept for 10 hours.

Sunday, I spent time with online students to make up for not being available Saturday, but finished fairly early. I walked to get the papers instead of taking the car, which was good, and read them out on the deck. Tessa was in the crate, having a good time. I also got some marigolds, so that I can transplant the tomatoes this week, and pair some eggplants with them, and put them in the new bed and the vegetable bed.

I already revised six chapters on HEART SNATCHER (today’s quota). I’ve got some pitches to get out, some follow-up to do, and hopefully the quotes for my article will come through today, so I can finish that and get it off. I want to do some work on HEART BINDER this afternoon and a couple of short stories. I was supposed to get a definitive answer on Friday about another manuscript, so I know how I have to fit that into the schedule, but nothing, so I’m not going to stress about it.

Over on Billy Root Blogs, “he” talks about Actors Filling Time. Writers Worth Week continues over on Lori Widmer’s blog on Finding Your Niche — which I totally DISagree with. Just so you know. 😉

My student and fellow author Nina Benneton has a great blog post over at Writer’s Digest here.

And hey, don’t forget to sign up for the Setting Up Your Submission System online seminar on June 2! You’ll be walked through each piece of the process and wind up with a reference guide that will help you for years! More information and sign-up here.

Devon

Tues. May 15, 2012: Intoxicating Lilacs

Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Venus Retrograde
Cloudy and pleasant

Got a lot done, yesterday, which is good. Weeded the vegetable bed. Planted peas, spinach, bok choy, and radishes. Started creating a new, round bed in a rather desolate patch (someone used to have a woodpile there) where I will grow herbs. I need to get a few more stones for the edge, and then I can put loam in it and start planting. Got the morning glories and the moonflowers into the ground — the morning glories are starting to bloom, and they’re lovely. The lilacs are absolutely intoxicating this year, and I often just stop whatever I’m doing and inhale.

Revised six chapters of HEART SNATCHER, wrote about 840 words on HEART BINDER, and then went back and tightened things some more in the revisions. I worked on my article, caught up with my students, etc.

Finalized some dates — I’ll be teaching locally for Three Fish & a Ram Community Art Center in June and July — a tarot workshop, a writer/performer workshop, and a writing workshop. The first two are detailed up on the Workshop page here on the blog (I’ll have to update my website later today). And I’ve got some more Fast & Fun topics coming up.

I went to meditation this morning, but no one was there. I hope everything’s okay. So I stopped at Nirvana, got my usual Tuesday morning treat, and came home to enjoy the morning on the deck. I’ve got a lot of work to do today, plus things like grocery shopping, finish my article, and finish the write ups for Confidential Job #1.

I have a meeting tonight about another possible teaching gig in Falmouth — looking forward to it.

Hop on over to Lori Widmer’s Words on the Page for Writers Worth Week — today’s article is by Susan Johnston about the per word rate.

Onward!

Devon

Mon. May 14: Busy, Productive Days


The Stewartsonian Azalea

Monday, May 14, 2012
Waning Moon
Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Partly sunny and pleasant

Busy weekend, but a good one. Friday was all about all kinds of work, catching up with students, and finishing the prep for the workshop. And working on revisions. I got out the newsletter (yay, rah, rah) and did some work on the Fearless Ink website. I’d like to change the template, but I’m not sure to what. Basically, I just want to fill the background a bit, but it’s not working.

Worked on my article. Worked on the assignments for Confidential Job #1. Looked at some listings, and will send out pitches this week, some of which are in Boston. It would be good to get into Boston on a regular basis! Ran some errands, got in some stuff for Mother’s Day.

I also started mowing the meadow, and I had an idea about an additional bed I want to put in.

Saturday, I was up early, checked on the conference forum, then went out and mowed the rest of the meadow. It looks REALLY good. I’m pleased as punch about it, and the mower and I seem to have reached detente.

The Amazing Antagonists workshop went really well. It was lively, interactive, those who participated got a lot of information and individual attention. I had a great time (I even stayed live for nearly an extra hour). It was fun. I’m adding some extra resources into the resource guide in the next day or two, and then out it goes.

And, of course, I’m prepping for this weekend’s Tomorrow’s Writers Today at the high school, and for the Submissions Workshop for June 2. I’ve got to confirm some other dates and then put up the next round of Fast and Fun workshops, and I’ve got some in-person meetings this week on other projects.

Mother’s Day was good. I wound up the Antagonists workshop, finished two projects for Confidential Job #1, and discovered that I’m back battling ants on the front lawn!

This morning, we were up early to take a walk on Sandy Neck Beach. Tons of fun.

Busy week — in addition to writing up the assignments for Confidential Job #1, getting out the workshop handbook, writing an article and working with my students, I’ve got a project meeting tomorrow night, Writer’s Night Out Wednesday night, and an art opening on Friday night. Plus, a slew of proposals to get out and my own writing. Busy, busy!

I plan to do some work in the garden today, in the vegetable bed, and then put in the morning glories and moonflowers. We’re supposed to get rain, so I better get out in the garden sooner rather than later!

Billy Root and I had an epiphany — check it out on his blog.

And Writers Worth Week starts this week over on Lori Widmer’s blog. Today’s entry is from Ashley Festa on “How To Use Your Time Wisely.” Check it out!

Devon

Guest Lori Widmer Asks Fiction Readers: What Is Your Writer Worth?

I am on the road today, so the wonderful and talented Lori Widmer has a guest post here, in preparation for Writers Worth Day.

Fiction Readers: What is Your Writer Worth?
By Lori Widmer

You loved that latest book, didn’t you? The story was compelling, and the writer took the time to develop the intricacies of the plot. You felt moved by it, entertained by it, and maybe even changed by it a little. That begs the question – do you know what your writer was paid for all that work?

This week marks the 4th anniversary of Writers Worth Week (extended to a week this year), an annual awareness-building campaign designed to help writers realize their value as skilled professionals. Make no mistake – fiction writers are no less business people than non-fiction writers. Yet many factors in the publishing industry are working against fiction writers. Did you know:

Writers are being expected to pay for book promotion. Once a standard part of a publishing contract, promotion is a bill now being pushed onto the writers. Publishers budget less for marketing and promotion for anything but the top-selling authors. The writer is now expected to pick up the slack. Swag costs money, and most publishers aren’t paying for it. More and more publishers demand a marketing plan as part of the submission package. It doesn’t help that self-styled “marketing gurus” and even other other authors encourage or demand writers to spend the advance on marketing.

Writers are being burdened with more promotional responsibilities. Publishers are requiring writers to put in much more time into promoting their own products. So now writers have to be not only great writers, but also sales and publicity experts.

Writers are receiving lower and lower advances. Gone are the days of huge advances for that killer book. Writers are fortunate to receive four figures let alone six.

Writers are expected to churn. It’s why that last book by your favorite author wasn’t as good as the first one. Writers lucky enough to receive multiple-book deals are expected to supply up to two new books annually.

Writers are being asked to pay for consideration. Some publishers are willing to consider your work – for a fee. Or worse, they promise publication – online – for a fee. This practice devalues a writer’s skills and value in the market.

In the spirit of Writers Worth Week, tell your favorite writer today what his or her work means to you. Also, write to the publisher and let them know, as well. Help writers protect their value and increase their ability to earn a living at their craft. Boycott products from publishers that charge for reading or publication. Let them know you expect better treatment of writers by the industry, and that you won’t stand for it as a consumer.

Lori Widmer is a veteran writer, editor, and author of The Worthy Writer’s Guide to Building a Better Business.” She blogs to the writing community at Words on the Page.