Posted by: devonellington | April 14, 2014

April mid-month Check-in

I just realized that I never posted the “to do” list for April. Probably a good thing, since I’ve had to throw it all out!

I started a new job last week that’s also a new career path. In addition to being a full-time writer, I am now a part-time librarian. I’ve wanted to work in a library since I was a little girl,so this is a dream come true. I’m jumping in with both feet.

I also landed an educational script writing job that I wanted — jumping right into that, too.

SEAL TIDES flyer - 2nd version-1

I have two client projects to wind up, and the play opens next week.

I’m guest-lecturing at a local college, helping my new library with their big spring fundraiser, and then teaching at a Writers’ Conference.

med_TrackingMedusa

I managed to get the deadline for the second Gwen Finnegan novel to July 1. TRACKING MEDUSA, whose cover is above, is releasing shortly.

I just turned around the edits for the ghost story, “Lake Justice”. I’m sure we’ll have another round of edits, but it will release soon — which means you’ll be hearing about it!

med_LakeJustice

I pushed back the deadline for the first draft of the ferry girl novel to Oct. 1.

The next three weeks will be gloriously busy and intense. I am deeply grateful for these opportunities, but will stop pitching until mid-late May, and not take one any new clients until the end of June/beginning of July.

Taxes are done and ready to mail — a relief.

How’s your April going? Post in the comments and let me know.

Posted by: devonellington | April 1, 2014

March 31 Wrap Up

A lot fell by the wayside this month, because so much energy/attention has to focus on the play.

But here’s the list:

March Wrap Up

Complete:

Pitches — 64
Writers Vineyard Article
Ink in My Coffee
GDRs
Garden Journal — a bit behind
Adventures in Vineland
Flyers for SEAL TIDES
Contest entries

In process:
Ferry Girl novel — got a rough of Chapter one done
Media Kits for Lake Justice and TRACKING MEDUSAa
NMLC press kit
Script packets submitted

Moved to April:
BALTHAZAAR TREASURE — didn’t get anything done
Finish “New York Movie”

Meetings:
CCWC Executive Committee Meeting
Mermaid Ball Meeting

Other:
Seal Tides play
Complete Editing Intensive
Continue Sparkle & Tarnish Development
Yoga
Meditation
Planting

Posted by: devonellington | March 15, 2014

Mid-month Check-in: March

How’s your March going?

Mine is up and down. I’m more productive than in February; less productive than in January.

The focus is turned mostly to the play, and trying to keep enough short-term freelance work hopping to pay all the bills.

I’m behind on all other writing.

Winding up the Editing Intensive, and will be glad to have a break from teaching for awhile.

Some great new opportunities are on the horizon, but it means making some decisions.

Happy March — I’m ready for spring!

Posted by: devonellington | March 3, 2014

To Do List: March 2014

We’re off to another month, and there’s plenty to get done:

To Do List March 2014

Pitches: 3-5/week
Follow-up December pitches

Writing:
1K Day on Primary Project
Writers Vineyard Article for March
Ink in My Coffee (5x/wk)
GDRs (3x/month)
Garden Journal (2x/wk)
Adventures in Vineland (1x/wk)
Comfort and Contradiction whenever appropriate
Finish “New York Movie” short story
Format and release one Topic Workbook
31K on BALTHAZAAR TREASURE
At least 3 chapters on Ferry Girl novel
Media Kit for “Lake Justice”
Media Kit for TRACKING MEDUSA
Flyers, etc. for SEAL TIDES
Read at least half the books for the contest
Complete NMLC Press kit
Find/pitch/write to one new top tier article market

Editing/Revisions:
Final script tweaks as needed
Revise “New York Movie”

Submissions:
Submit script packets
At least 3 backlogged projects
Submit “New York Movie”

Meetings:
CCWC Board Meeting
NMLC Board Meeting
Mermaid Ball Meeting

Other:
Cast and start rehearsals for SEAL TIDES
SEAL TIDES presentation for Arts Council
Continue Editing Intensive
Continue Sparkle and Tarnish Development
Continue Stowe-Eliot-Bronte Development
Yoga
Meditation
Ostara celebration
Planting starts
Work in garden on any nice day possible

Posted by: devonellington | February 28, 2014

February 2014 Completion List

This was a tough month. When Mercury is retrograde, things like communication, travel, electronics always go wonky. I wish I was more productive. All I can do is dig in harder for March.

Completion List February 2014

Pitches: 50 (not counting whatever I do today). Resulted in 2 new immediate clients, and 7 clients who didn’t need me in the moment, but are interested in hiring me in the upcoming months. One could not afford me for the project in the ad, but wants to work with me on a smaller project in the future. Also had continuing work from a client who was new as of January. Higher response rate from LOIs than from companies who posted ads.
Follow-ups from November: because my records weren’t good for the second half of last year, that didn’t work too well.

Completed:
Writers Vineyard article for February
Ink in My Coffee (5X/week)
GDR (3X/month)
Garden Journal (2x/week) — most weeks, it was only once
Adventures in Vineland (1x/week)
Western novella revised and submitted
2 book reviews
CCWC Membership Task Force Meeting
CCWC Executive Committee Meeting
NMLC Mermaid Ball Meeting
Yoga
Meditation

In Progress:
Working on scripts for packet
Draft introductory letter for new fundraising contact
Write short story (back to “New York Movie”)
Revise SEAL TIDES
Revise and polish scripts for packet
Editing Intensive
Sparkle & Tarnish development
Ostara planning
Organize/purge 20 boxes (only did 4)

Moved:
Work on non-fiction project (moved to June)
Comfort and Contradiction — no posts this month
Format and release one Topic Workbook
Work on BALTHAZAAR TREASURE (March — deadline is June)
Stowe-Eliot-Bronte Development (will start up again in late March or early April)

Dropped:
Find/pitch/write at least one new article market (separate from pitches listed above)

Additional:
Cover letter LOI for script packets
Started working with writing friend writing our novels in tandem — chose the ferry girl novel
Drafted rough of NMLC Press Kit
Books arrived for contest judging; initial check-in/paperwork/set up system

Submissions:
Sci-fi horror novella (accepted)
Western novella (accepted)
3 short stories
Requested partial novel to traditional publisher

Disappointments:
Too much time taken up by corporate crap, especially Comcast issue
Potential “clients” trying to get work for free

Successes:
Sci-fi horror novella accepted
Western novella accepted

Posted by: devonellington | February 19, 2014

February Mid-Month Check-in

This is a few days late, but I feel like the whole month is not as productive as I’d like. I feel creatively flat, as though I don’t have enough mental space to create, which is bad, since the deadlines are pressing on me from all sides.

I’m doing well keeping up with the pitches and with some committee work, but I’m not happy with the quality of my writing OR the quantity.

Very frustrating.

Having an entire month in Mercury Retrograde doesn’t help, either.

How’s your February going? Hopefully, much better than mine!

Posted by: devonellington | February 4, 2014

To Do List — February 2014

I forgot that I hadn’t yet posted this on the blog. Sorry about that.

Short month, so the list is shorter than last month’s, but no less intense.

Mercury is retrograde for most of the month, so be careful — give yourself more travel time, think and pause before you speak, try to act with compassion rather than RE-act with anger, be careful with mechanical items, try not to sign contracts or buy big ticket items, great time for bargains/antiques, and choose silence whenever possible.

Here’s the list:

To Do List February 2014:

Pitches: 3-5 pitches per week
Follow up on November pitches

Writing:
1K every morning on primary project
Writers Vineyard Article for February
Work on scripts for packet
Draft introductory letter for new fundraising contact
Work on one of the non-fiction projects
Find, pitch, write, submit to at least one new article market
Ink in My Coffee (5x week)
GDR (3X month)
Garden Journal (2x week)
Adventures in Vineland (1x/week)
Comfort and Contradiction — whenever appropriate
Write short story
Format and release One Topic Workbooks
Work on BALTHAZAAR TREASURE (28K)

Editing/Revisions:
Revise SEAL TIDES
Revise scripts and polish packet as scripts are finished
Revise western novella and submit

Submissions:
Submit two novellas (note — one was submitted and accepted the same day)
At least 3 backlogged pieces

Meetings:
CCWC Executive Committee meeting
CCWC Membership Task Force Meeting
NMLC Development Committee Meeting

Other:
Continue teaching Editing Intensive
Keep up with Sparkle & Tarnish Devlopment
Keep up with Stowe-Eliot-Bronte development
Yoga
Meditation
Garden Planning
Ostara planning
Organize/purge 20 boxes
Set up rehearsal schedule for SEAL TIDES
Set auditions & rehearsals for SEAL TIDES

Posted by: devonellington | January 31, 2014

January 2014 Wrap Up

How did your January go?

I look back on the list, and I’m surprised. I’m pleased where I was able to keep focus, and pleased how I was able to fold in some new projects while reshuffling, but not jettisoning, some other projects. That makes me feel better about my overall plan.

Today is the Chinese Lunar New Year, moving into the Year of the Horse. I’m so ready for it!

January 2014 Completion List:

Complete:
Pitches: 83 — out of that had a handful of interviews, some which went well, some where they so-called “clients” basically didn’t want to pay for the services. Will hear back on a couple of gigs in the next few weeks and have some follow-up “we want to use you in the future” with some good companies. Really tracking it this month, I’m surprised by how many people advertising are, basically, scammers with a sense of entitlement and nothing to back it up. It also shows which sites has the postings where the posters are legitimate, thoughtful and courteous, even if they choose not to use one. The Media Bistro site has been the biggest disappointment to me, which is surprising. I’d always considered it the top site, but a couple of the other sites I now visit regularly have a much better tier of client for me.

My tracking system last year wasn’t as good, and the October follow-up wasn’t as useful as it should have been — entirely my fault.

STALEMATE DEATH revised
CTS Teleplay drafted & revised
Writers Vineyard post
VISCERAL INVISIBLES revised
Pitched to 3 new-to-me article markets for features
BROWNSTONE pilot revised
CCWC Board Meeting
Finished, revised, submitted airship steampunk story
Final 2 articles for Fifty is the New Fifty
NMLC Board meeting
NMLC Development Committee Meeting
Ink in My Coffee (5X week)
GDR (3X month)
Garden Journal (2X week)
CCWC Memberships Task Force Meeting
NMLC Cocktail party
Daily yoga
Daily meditation

In Progress:
SEAL TIDES
Teach Editing Intensive Workshop (this runs until April 4)
Marketing Writing Contest
Working on remainder of scripts for packet
Sparkle & Tarnish Development
Stowe-Eliot-Bronte Development
Biblio Paradise Schedule
Garden Planning
Imbolc Planning
Organize/purge 20 boxes (did 6)
Drafting letter for new funding contact
Prepped 2 novellas for submission (backlogged projects)

Dropped/Moved:
Topic Workbook formatted/released (moved to February)

Unexpected Additions:
Reviewed 2 books (should have been on list — ongoing gig)
Contract offer on TRACKING MEDUSA means THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE has to go back into the writing queue
NMLC Development Committee Meeting
Wrote synopsis for STALEMATE DEATH
Wrote synopsis for VISCERAL INVISIBLES
Wrote synopsis for THE BROWNSTONE
Book Editing Client
Tryout project w/new client
Roughed out NMLC Media Kit

Disappointments:
Late payments from 2 clients, who will be dropped
Escalating issues with Comcast
Didn’t get a job I wanted & was the right person for

Successes:
Invited to participate in a theatre festival (declined)
Contract offer for “Lake Justice” (accepted)
Contract offer for “Tracking Medusa” (accepted)

Posted by: devonellington | January 15, 2014

January Mid-Month Check In

January Mid-Month Check-In

How do you feel your month is going? Are you sticking to your goals?

I feel good about the rate at which things are getting checked off the list. I’m pitching at a higher rate than planned, which is good, too.

Some unexpected things came up — good things, prose contracts — happened, which means I have to shift the rest of this year’s schedule somewhat to fit in what needs to happen both with the material specific to those contracts, and the future material needed for these venues.

I’m in the process of winding up and shedding relationships with the lowest-paying, slowest-paying (interesting how often those are often the same), to make room for a better tier of client that values my work.

It’s shaping up to be an interesting 2014.

How are things on your end? Have you needed to make any adjustments, adding/dropping items as needed?

Posted by: devonellington | January 2, 2014

To Do List January 2014

Here’s what I need/expect to accomplish this month:

Pitches:
3-5 pitches per week for a total of 15-25
Follow-up from October pitches

Writing:
1K every morning on primary project (TBD)
1st draft of SEAL TIDES play
Finish Airship Steampunk (this counts as the story for the month)
Writers Vineyard Jan. article
Final 2 articles for Fifty is the New Fifty
Work on other scripts for packet
Add in new assignments as needed
Draft introductory letter for new fundraising contact
Finish CTS pilot
Work on one of the non-fiction projects (TBD)
Find, pitch, write, submit to at least one new article market
Ink in My Coffee (5X week)
GDR (3x month)
Garden Journal (2x/week)

Editing/Revisions:
Finish revisions on VISCERAL INVISIBLES
Revise THE BROWNSTONE pilot
Revise CTS pilot
Revise airship steampunk story
Revise STALEMATE DEATH script

Submissions:
Airship Steampunk
At least 3 backlogged pieces

Format/Release:
One of the Topic Workbooks

Meetings:
CCWC Board Meeting
NMLC Board Meeting
CCWC Development Meeting

Other:
Teach Editing Intensive Workshop
Keep up with Sparkle & Tarnish Development
Keep up with Stowe-Eliot-Bronte development
NMLC Cocktail party
Daily yoga
Daily meditation
Figure out schedule for Biblio Paradise
Garden planning
Plan for Imbolc
Organize/purge 20 boxes
Market Writing Contest

Posted by: devonellington | January 1, 2014

January 1: Answers to 2014 GDR Questions

Answers to GDR Questions for 2014:

Because it was a difficult year, these answers make me feel very exposed.

What makes you happy?
Writing
Working with the National Marine Life Center and the Cape Cod Writers Center
Learning new things (such as the continuing education courses I’ve been taking)
Gardening
Cooking
Walking on the local beaches and in the nature preserves
Spending time at libraries, bookstores, and archives
Teaching makes me happy, when the students actually commit to the work; when they can’t be bothered to commit or flake out, I get very, very angry and frustrated, because it’s such a sign of disrespect to themselves, the craft, me, and their fellow students.

What growth have you seen in your writing in the past 12 months?
I’m going deeper.  Even the genre fiction is getting more universal.  I’m also getting back to script writing, both for stage and screen.  I hadn’t realized how much I missed it.

How did your progress exceed your expectations?
It didn’t.  I fell short in most ways.

The only ways I exceeded any sort of expectation for myself was taking on more responsibility by becoming the Secretary on the Cape Cod Writers Center Board of Directors and joining the Board of Directors for the National Marine Life Center.

I also went back to school, and was certified in Sustainability, Greek and Roman Mythology (end of 2012, actually), Climate Literacy, Basic Archaeology, and Neuro-ethics.  That was invigorating and inspiring.

I did, however, receive a small grant to write a new play, and the organization with whom I’m working with on the play also received a small grant towards it.

I guess, in some ways, I did exceed expectations.

Where did you fall short?
I wasn’t as organized as I wanted to be, and I didn’t get as much done in the arenas I wanted.  Financially, I fell short.

Why did the shortfalls happen and how can you avoid them in the future?
I had a rash of unreliable clients who paid late, didn’t pay at all, or flaked out on contracts.  I need to tighten the contracts so that I’m paid even when they are unreliable.  Even some of the deposits bounced, and that caused all kinds of problems.  Also, people booking time and then not showing up.  I need to move up to the next tier in freelance clients, people who are actually professionals and want to hire a professional, instead of dilettantes and wannabes.

How did your goals and expectations change?
I got caught in a maelstrom of having to scramble financially when the douchebags flaked.  Yes, I can be criticized for criticizing clients, but I’m not naming names, and anyone who reads this and gets offended probably fits the definition.  Sometimes you just have to burn a few bridges to save the island.  It became about paying the next bill, not finding the best match or doing the best work, and that was soul-killing.  I didn’t descend into content mill work, but some of the clients were content-mill level clients, and those are the ones I need to avoid.

On the positive side, I landed a literary agent and am preparing for a series of meetings with some other types of agents early in 2014.

What new and different directions did you try in your writing this year?  Were you happy with the outcome?
I spent too much time scrambling, and not enough doing new things, although my course work is turning out to inspire new and better writing.

A new writing skill I acquired was learning how to script video games.  Hopefully, I can parlay that into paid assignments in 2014.

What new direction do you want to try next year?
Honestly, I’m not sure.  I want to learn how to write about food without it sounding like soft-core porn, and I want to land more environmentally-based assignments.

What direction do you want to explore more deeply?
Environmental and activist work, and I want to do more script writing, script coverage, script editing, and script doctoring work.  I enjoy it and I’m good at it.

What direction do you want to leave behind, at least for the moment?
I’m in the process of dropping my lowest-paying clients and replacing them with higher-paying, more reliable clients.  I don’t want to work under market rate any more.  The quality of client, in most cases, isn’t worth it. I want to work with people who respect writers, not those who think “anyone” can write.

What did you decide no longer served your writing life and how did you remove it?  Was it the right choice for now, or do you miss it?
Unfortunately, due to the financial scramble, I dropped things that were important to me instead of what no longer served me.  I am changing that.

How do you want to reframe your commitment to your writing in the coming year?
My own writing comes first.  Always.

What new non-writing experience do you want to add to your life in the coming months?
I’m signed up for courses in Environmental Law and Policy, and another in Computational Neuro-science, which should be interesting.

Looking ahead, what do you want to achieve in your writing in the coming year?  Remember to keep it within what you can control (which is the writing and editing, not sales or publishing).  List your goals, and three active steps you can take for each:

–Complete packet for February agent meetings
Steps needed:  Work on it every day, stay on schedule, make sure it’s sharp and clean.

–Draft three novel manuscripts
Write every day and stay focused.  Make specific choices as to what makes the most sense to work on, instead of drifting back and forth.

–Write two plays
One of them already has a grant in place; the other is still an idea spinning.  Stick to the writing/production schedule of the first one, while developing the second one.  Don’t get distracted.

–Write a half a dozen short stories
Actually, I’d like to write one per month, but don’t know if that is realistic.  I tend to batch short stories, but I wonder if I can streamline it better.

–Release at least one Topic Workbook per quarter
Polish the material; learn how to do the covers properly; format, release, promote.

–Land an assignment that’s at least partially on-site.
Find the right fit; pitch and land.  I’m spending too much time working from home and need to land something that’s away from home a few hours a week.

–Catch up on backlog and get it out
Put aside big blocks of time once a week or once a month; really focus on each project and take the time to find the right fit; decide which projects should be retired.

List three dreams you have for your life, including your writing or separate from it.  How do they feed into your goals and how are they different?  What steps will you take to start turning your dreams into reality?

I have one dream which I am not ready yet to share publicly, but all the above writing goals will feed into it.

The year has been so discouraging that I am rather dream-free right now, and that needs to change.

I guess the other dream would be to take an actual vacation this year, but that is entirely dependent on finances.

List three resolutions that you make for yourself, regarding your life as a whole.

–Always put my own writing first.
–Spend more time on my yoga and meditation practice.
–Say “no” to projects that don’t fit my vision of my career.

Posted by: devonellington | December 30, 2013

Preparing for 2014

Talk about a neglected blog!  My deepest apologies.

2013 was a year of unexpected challenges.  Some were rewarding, some where not.  As I review both my successes and frustrations for the year, I realized I was running so hard on the treadmill to survive that I was getting farther and farther away from my “real self”.  I started losing sight of what I really wanted, put myself out too much for other people and then wondered why I was disappointed.

I intend to be much more selfish this year, but in a positive way!

I re-post questions from last year, because they are still relevant, and, on January 1, I will come back with some answers.  January 2 will have to To-Do list for the month, which, I am sure will change a good deal, as I have a lot of pending contracts, and that will change everything.

But here are some questions, and let’s have a more peaceful and coherent journey this year!

Please note that although the focus is on writing, you can replace “writing” with whatever your passion/focus is.

Questions to think about as you plan the upcoming year:

What makes you happy?

What growth have you seen in your writing over the past twelve months?

How did your progress exceed your expectations?

Where did you fall short?

Why did the shortfalls happen, and how can you avoid them in the future?

How did your goals and expectations evolve and change over the course of the year?

What new and different direction did you try in your writing this year?  Were you happy with the outcome?

What new direction do you want to try next year?

What direction do you want to explore more deeply?

What direction do you want to leave behind, at least for the moment?

What did you decide no longer served your writing life, and how did you remove it?  Was that the right choice for now, or do you miss it?

How do you want to reframe your commitment to writing over the next year?

What new non-writing experience do you want to add to your life in the coming months?

Looking ahead, what do you want to achieve in your writing over the next year?  Remember, you cannot control when something is PUBLISHED, unless you self-publish.  You can only control what you complete and submit.  Keep it in terms of what’s in YOUR jurisdiction.
List your goals, and three steps you commit to take in order to achieve them.

List three dreams you have for your life, including your writing or separate from it.  How do they feed into your goals, and how are they different?  What steps will you take to start turning the dreams into reality?

List three resolutions that you make for yourself, regarding your life as a whole.

We’ll check back in on January 1, 2013 to compare notes!

Posted by: devonellington | February 5, 2013

February To-Do List

February is a short month, and often one in which it’s hard to focus.  Yet, focus is important.

Also, Saturn goes retrograde on the 18th — Saturn is the planet of Life Lessons.  If you didn’t grow and change from your life lessons last year during the Saturn retrograde, Saturn will kick your ass this time around.  I’m going to take some time and reflect on the lessons in the past year, and make sure I’m “somewhere else” — I’ll have new lessons, but at least I won’t get my ass kicked for refusing to learn from the previous ones!

 

February 2013 To-Do List:

15 new pitches/LOIs
28K on LEADING OPPORTUNITIES
28K on MURDER’S INTOLERANCE
Finish additional research for wacky proposal & take next steps on it
Revise MURDER ‘SEALS’ THE DEAL
Auditions for MSD
Rehearsals start for MSD
PR for MSD
Revise SEVEN OF SWORDS
Teach “The Graveyard of Abandoned Projects”
Teach “Journal into Fiction”
2 Round-trip drives to CT
Follow up on November 2012 pitches
Keep up with pre-release PR for OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK
Keep up with A Biblio Paradise interviews and blog swaps
CWCC Board Meeting
CBC Meeting
Finish data entry for CBC List
Set up CBC blog
Finish setting up 2013 folders
Keep up with work from Confidential Job #1
Start working on judging contest entries when they come in
Galaxies & Cosmologies class
Astrobiology class
SF class
Philosophy class
Decide if I’m going to teach at all in March
If I teach, start promotions
Development work at Marine Life Center
Imbolc story completed/released
Work on CREATIVE FIDELITY
Complete & submit “New York Movie”
Complete & print Fearless Ink brochure
Start pulling together direct mail list
Make a decision on the Helena Francis manuscript and the TAPESTRY manuscript
Yoga
Meditation
Walks 3x/week
Weight training 2x/week
Work in garden, weather-permitting to prep for spring

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