Posted by: devonellington | July 6, 2020

Monday, July 6, 2020: Using Your Will as a Tool

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We’re not doing a list this month, again. With a pandemic still raging amidst reckless re-openings and people who are too selfish and stupid to take the most basic precautions, a basic To Do list, for me, adds more of the negative stress and does not make me feel secure and functional.

If list-making and crossing items off as you do them makes you feel better during this time, then, by all means, please do it. We have to make the individual decisions to get us through this as long as they don’t harm others.

Refusing to wear a mask and social distance causes harm.

Making or not making a list does not.

There’s a huge difference.

There are things that HAVE to happen in the scheme of my universe over the next few months. I am out of time. The fact that I’ve been ill (non-COVID-related) and there’s a pandemic doesn’t change that certain changes are coming.

What I have to do is pull myself out of feeling helpless, angry, and in despair, and feed all of those emotions into my will so that I can use my will as a tool to get done what needs to be done, in spite of additional obstacles.

It means, for me, strengthening boundaries. It means NOT letting things go that are harmful, just to avoid confrontation. Too many people are taking advantage of what’s going on to claim that whatever they’re thinking and feeling takes priority over anyone and everyone else’s needs, and that working together for a collective good gives them, somehow, less.

Have you noticed, these are the same people who behave this way when things were so-called “normal”?

What do you NEED?

Not want but need. Those are different, and far too many people think the minute they want something, it’s a need. It is not.

What steps to you have to take to fulfill that need WITHOUT causing harm to those around you?

Again, too many people believe that if they are inconvenienced, or if they have to change “what they’ve always done” in some way because not changing causes harm, THEY are being harmed. That’s simply not the case.

What do you NEED?

What actions do you have to take to fulfill that need without harming others?

How will you go about fulfilling the need?

What is your timeline? How much of it is decided by external factors you can’t control, and how much can you control?

How does that change your action steps?

When you feel like you just can’t anymore, take a breath, take a step back. Rest. Recharge. Maybe you can only do so for a few hours. Look at the issue from a different angle. Look for a different approach that will fulfill your need without causing harm.

Change your action steps as needed.

Dig deep and WILL it to become a reality through your actions. Wishing won’t make it real. DOING will.

My month of July will be filled with searching for answers and appropriate actions to these steps.

Because there are several issues on which I’m running out of time, and only through using my will as a tool and taking action will I be able to chart my own course, rather than be forced into something I don’t want, that will cause harm to me and my family.

Best of luck with July.

What are you working on?

Posted by: devonellington | June 15, 2020

Mon. June 15, 2020: Just Rest

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Normally, this would be a mid-month check-in.

My creativity this month has been all over the place. I’ve gotten some good work done, but it’s been difficult to maintain the pace I need.

While I’m frustrated, I’m also trying to cut myself a break.

Anger took too much of my week last week, and I did not do a good job of riding the wagon.

I’m preparing for surgery next week, so for the next few weeks, I’m going to rest as much as I can, and try to be gentle with myself.

Please do the same.


Posted by: devonellington | June 8, 2020

Mon. June 8, 2020: Ride The Dragon

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We’re going through a lot of emotions right now. Every day is a roller coaster. Feeling more than one thing isn’t wrong. You feel what you feel. You’re better of acknowledging it than repressing it.

I’ve read a couple of hundred articles at this point about the psychological strains – for myself and hoping to find something great to share. Bits and pieces of many of them give a second or two of relief. Nothing gives me the sense of safety I need or want right now.

In fact, most of them leave me feeling worse, because so many phrases became overused so quickly that when I see one, I instantly turn off.

“Unprecedented times”

“We are in this together”

Neither of the above are true. Diseases have wiped out large percentages of the population throughout history. The difference here is that there was advance warning. Which was ignored. There was advance planning. Which was dismantled. There is a lack of leadership.

We are NOT in this together. If we were, there would be leadership. People would not refuse to wear masks or stay home; they wouldn’t demand re-opening to put everyone at risk so they can get their nails done. If we were in this together, we’d have UBI until it is actually safe to re-open, not as we are doing now, because the top executives don’t like making single digit millions instead of double digit millions and would rather people die.

We are NOT in this together or black people wouldn’t be murdered for simply existing. And those murders would not go unpunished.

Of course we’re angry. The people who are supposed to handle this, who are put in place to keep us safe and free and healthy so we can go about all the different daily details of our lives – they are the ones actively trying to kill us.

So what do we do? How do we juggle a government with absolutely no care or respect for our lives with the pressures we already have of keeping a roof over our heads and food on the table?

I think of it as riding the dragon.

I think of my anger personified as a dragon, and learning how to ride it. Learn how to aim and focus the anger and find constructive ways to help create positive change. I want a better world for most people. I won’t say “everybody” – that term is bandied about too much.

It’s a great utopian concept that we should have a better world for “everybody.”

My amendment to that is that I want a better world for those who do not actively try to destroy the just, peaceful, better world we are working towards.

Those who are trying to kill us, those who don’t want social, racial, and economic justice – there need to be consequences for their crimes.

I’m trying to learn to ride the dragon, to use my anger constructively. For me, destructive anger means I let it eat me up while paralyzed and overwhelmed. Constructive means I find ways to work for positive change. It may not be the same way others do, but it’s a piece of the larger puzzle. Constructive doesn’t mean I go along with the route of conformation. But it does mean I’m taking action instead of letting the anger fester and destroy me.

The anger, the exhaustion, the fear: they’re all debilitating. But if I learn to ride the dragon effectively, and I join others working in the same direction (masked and properly distanced), I do believe we can rebuild something better and more equal. We cut out the rot, we have consequences for the crimes. We don’t pretend they didn’t happen. We make the changes so it will be a long, long time before the cycle begins again.

I can’t predict what will happen by the end of the day, much less in a few weeks or months.  But I also can’t be a voyeur instead of a participant.

Posted by: devonellington | June 1, 2020

Mon. June 1, 2020: The Self-Defeating Argument

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Normally, I would have a list ready on June 1, of all the things I wanted and needed to accomplish in the month.

There are many things that must get done this month, including survival.

But there’s no list.

Because things continue to change so much, day to day.

I’m berating myself for not having a list, and yet it makes no sense to set myself up for failure like that.

There are enough exterior pressures trying to daily put my life in danger. I need to tone down the internal pressures.

Every time that nasty voice starts up, I remind myself that I am surviving. I have a roof over my head, food on the table, I’m working to stay healthy, I’m still working, in general. I find I need a lot of emotional space right now, as well as physical.

Everything else needs to build from that foundation, and it needs to be on MY terms, not those who want to use me for their convenience at my risk.

It’s not an easy internal conversation to have multiple times a day, but I’m working on it.

How are you holding up?

Posted by: devonellington | May 25, 2020

Mon. May 25, 2020: Just Rest

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Today, in the US, is Memorial Day. We have a lot to remember right now.

But it’s also important to just rest.

Give yourself the room to rest.

Posted by: devonellington | May 15, 2020

May 15, 2020: Mid-Month Check-in

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Normally, this would be a list of what we’ve accomplished thus far this month.

Life is different, so we are different.

You’re alive?

You’re doing great!

Do something nice for yourself this weekend. Love and peace!

Posted by: devonellington | May 11, 2020

May 11, 2020: Adaptability

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Monday, May 11, 2020
Waning Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Saturn Retrograde

A few weeks (or maybe it was months?) ago, I talked about the need for flexibility. Life throws curve balls; how we deal with them has a lot to do with achieving our goals and dreams.

It has never been truer than what we’re going through right now. If we get careless or lazy or distracted or bored, we could, very literally, die. Or kill someone else.

Those of us able to work remotely are doing so. Despite bosses and managers who are convinced that if they can’t stare at us in their own space while we do it, it must not be “real work.” Hopefully, that is one positive change that will come out of this – that, in some professions, they realize we don’t have to be onsite to do our work, and, often, we do it better without them looming and interrupting. Because, let’s face it, it was never about productivity. It’s always been about control.

We are learning how to navigate out of the house wearing masks. At least, those of us who actually give a damn about other human beings are doing so. Many of us are making masks. We are learning to plan ahead – we can’t just run out to the grocery store for “one thing.” We are learning that we need less.

We are finding our inner resources and inner life. We have days when we feel like we can take on the world, and days where anything sets us off into tears. Sometimes we feel all of that in the space of a day, a few hours, a few minutes.

Parents are learning how to be co-teachers in an online learning environment, and kids are learning a new way of socializing that’s even more dependent on technology than before.

We are learning that the people we trusted to handle basic issues of living in society have failed us, and that they don’t give a damn how many of us die, as long as they can profit.

How we adapt to all of these new rules of living so that we can actually stay alive, and how we step up to shape the rules moving forward to that we remain alive to LIVE a life means we have to be both adaptable and smart.

Humans have the capability. But do we have the will? History will tell us, even if we’re not here for the answer.

On a daily basis, we need to remember that our actions have consequences. We need to protect ourselves and our loved ones. We need to, as much as is possible, distance ourselves from those who wish us harm, or are so selfish they don’t care if we’re harmed as long as they can satisfy a whim of the moment. We need to figure out how to work together (even if we can’t be physically together) to fix what is broken in the system that got us to this point and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

On a personal level, I am working remotely as much as possible and minimizing contact when I’m forced out. I am only going grocery shopping, and as infrequently as possible, and occasionally doing curbside pickup for other things that I either can’t get delivered, or where I’d rather put the money into a small, local business than a big box store. I am keeping abreast of the facts and using them to make decisions moving forward.

I do not have “all this extra time” that so many talk or whine about. I have worked, flat out, a full work week ever since the stay-at-home has been in place here. I’m working for clients, pitching, sending LOIs, working on my contracted fiction, and trying to land as much freelance work as possible, since we’re in the worst shape since the Great Depression, and who knows when the work dries up completely?

I’ve ignored the snipes and sarcastic comments from those who wonder what I’m doing with all this “extra time.” I’m working as much as possible, and I’m also adapting to the fact that mere survival takes a good deal more time and energy than it used to. I was already in the process of cutting some deadwood out of my life; this accelerates the process.

We don’t know what the future has in store right now. All we can do is the best we can do, each day, be as kind as possible as long as our safety is not compromised, and our boundaries not breached.


How are you adapting?

Posted by: devonellington | May 4, 2020

May 4: Goal–Survival

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Monday, May 4, 2020
Waxing Moon
Pluto Retrograde
Cloudy and cool

It’s been a long time since Imposter. First, my surgery. Then the pandemic.

Kind of makes the lists and the struggles look different.

The first goal, right now, s survival.

One of the biggest shocks and disappointments of the past months has been how so many of our fellow humans don’t care if we live or die, as long as they get what they want the moment they want it.

We must create and hold boundaries in spite of them.

We focus on survival. Then, we adapt our skills and our new perspectives to include survival — something we usually too for granted on a daily basis — and work toward reimagined goals for the new reality we face.

There have always been times when we needed to be ruthless about removing toxic people from our lives. Now, it is even more important, because they can, literally, kill us.

I will share some ideas these coming weeks, and I hope you will, too.

There may be false starts. We may need to take breaks because we are exhausted or disheartened. But we will find a way through.

Peace, friends.

Posted by: devonellington | February 14, 2020

Feb. 14, 2020: Break

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I’m not sure why Monday’s post didn’t go live as scheduled, and I apologize.

On Monday, everything went haywire, and I’m dealing with a health emergency, with surgery scheduled for next week.

So I’m taking a break here, although I hope to be back o regular posting in a couple of weeks.

Needless to say, my February To-Do list has gone to hell without even the handbasket.

Posted by: devonellington | February 3, 2020

Feb. 3, 2020: Accountability

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This is a word that gets tossed around a great deal. But what does it mean, in terms of achieving your goals, dreams, and resolutions?

This site is one tool of accountability. You can post your lists and goals, if you choose, and you can update publicly on the process. Or, you can look at the site and keep your own notes privately.

Some people find it helpful to be publicly accountable. It makes them work harder, because they’re ashamed if they fall short, or feel they’ve disappointed others. Some people find if they post publicly, the support they feel from others in similar situations helps them stick to the work and they can achieve their goals in community. The process of both these two viewpoints is similar, but the perceptions and self-perceptions are different.

It works better for some people to work alone. To remain silent, and then announce a goal’s completion when it’s been achieved.

I like to do a mix. There are some goals I don’t discuss publicly, for a variety of reasons. When there are a lot of moving parts, and there could be retaliation for making changes, it’s better to keep my mouth shut until it’s a done deal and can’t be sabotaged. Other goals I’d rather share publicly, and work with the support of community as we each toil towards our own goals, and cheer each other on along the way.

But what is the accountability? Does the word have any meaning if there aren’t any consequences?

There are consequences. The most obvious one is that if you don’t put in the work, you don’t achieve the goal. If you are accountable to others, you might feel shame, or you might feel you have to make excuses. You might feel and do the same on your own, but the dynamics are different if there are others involved.

Maybe it’s just one other person involved, the buddy system.

Whether it’s public, a group, a buddy, or yourself, you have to decide if the consequences are worth it. Why didn’t you achieve it? Did you procrastinate? Not put in the work? Not manage your time? Did life throw you a curve ball (or more than one), so you had to adjust?

Even more important: Did you start to put in the work, and then discover this goal is not something you wanted?

There’s nothing wrong with that discovery. It doesn’t mean you failed. It means you understand what you want and need in your life, and you can adjust.

There’s a huge sense of liberation in letting go of a goal that no longer serves you.

But you need to mindfully, specifically let go. Let it be a decision, not something you just don’t get around to. Making an active decision rather than a passive procrastination will give you fuel for the next goal you decide to work toward.

How do you stay accountable? What are your consequences? Is there something you started working toward that you discovered you no longer wanted?

Posted by: devonellington | February 1, 2020

February 1, 2020: February To Do List

New month, new chance to get things done. Here’s the list:

8 article pitches
12 LOIs
Winter postcard mailing
Client work
Ink in My Coffee posts, including 4 Monday intent posts
4 How-to posts for this site
4 posts on A Biblio Paradise
4 Posts on Gratitude and Growth
4 Posts on Affairs with the Pen
Finish “Trust” draft
Finish “A Rare Medium” draft
Finish the steam punk radio play draft
1-2 Posts for Medium
Continue reading contest entries
Keep up with assigned book reviews
Maintain yoga/meditation practice
Maintain weight training
Walk 2x/week, weather permitting
Finish 2019 filing
Finish setting up 2020 files
Purge 20 boxes
Keep working with the cats
Finish, polish, and submit short story


Posted by: devonellington | January 31, 2020

Jan. 31, 2020: January Wrap-Up

January 2020 Wrap Up

1 Play proposal out (for 2 plays)
Walks: 1
9 Article Pitches to 6 different publications (1 more than planned)
22 LOIs (10 more than planned)
Holiday Decorations packed
4 boxes from basement purged (16 short of goal)
“A Woman for the Job” short play, 1st draft
4 Posts for this site
Intention posts/ Ink posts
4 posts on A Biblio Paradise
4 Posts on Gratitude and Growth
4 Posts on Affairs of the Pen
4 Posts on Ink-Dipped Advice
Kept up with reviews
Weight training 2x/week
Client work

In Progress:
“Trust” (short play)
Winter Solstice Romance (1st draft)
Reading contest entries
Susanna Centlivre research
“A Rare Medium” short play
Steam punk radio play
Medium posts (I’m working on several at once, although some have been reformed as article pitches)
Reading contest entries
2019 Filing
2020 files
Updating Fearless Ink website
Working on vegan cookie recipe
Prepping winter postcard
Work on socializing the cats

Will work on THE BARD’S LAMENT when BALTHAZAAR and DHARMA are done
ELLA BY THE BAY will be worked on after BALTHAZAAR and DHARMA are done
Adapting BEHIND THE MAN moved to March
Dawn Powell biography re-read moved

Unexpected Additions:
A batch of Idea Cookies, for which I took notes, including the piece set against Vaudeville, the piece set against an arts festival, a play about Faith Bacon, a fantasy novel, and a short story based on a news event.
Started Susanna Centlivre research

A couple of conversations with potential clients were a waste of time. What they said they needed and what they actually were looking for were two different things.
An article pitch accepted, but with claims of “budget constraints” that would prevent me for getting paid for my work; I refused.
An invitation to speak for free at an event where the “exposure” doesn’t net sales, by someone who has a policy of only speaking for a fee, so I refused.

The play proposal was accepted. I will write one play inspired by Susanna Centlivre and one play inspired by Isabella Goodwin.
“Horace House Hauntings” will be performed in Minnesota in October.
“Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” was performed in Florida.
Standing my ground and refusing gigs that don’t suit me or pay me.

I fell short of my financial goals, but I hit and surpassed some of my creative goals. I need to keep the level of creativity high, but get the finances to meet it.

How did you do this month?


Posted by: devonellington | January 27, 2020

Jan. 27: Precipice

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The end of January is always a dangerous precipice for those of us who make resolutions. They’re so shiny and exciting on December 31 and January 1.

But what do they look like now?

Are they too easy?

A few things that are easily knocked off our lists help us feel accomplished. But if everything is too easy, if we’re not challenging ourselves at all — well, we can only fool ourselves for so long. We need goals and resolutions that cause us to stretch and grow, on multiple levels.

Are they too hard?

It’s easy to DESIRE that this year will be different, that this is the year we change everything. But desire without action is just a fantasy.

As I mentioned above, we need to challenge ourselves to grow. Getting a gold star just for showing up becomes meaningless. But if we demand a 5-year-goal achieved in three months, we’re crushing ourselves.

Balance. That word that’s becoming so overused, and yet is so vital to our well-being.

You need some hard things on your list. You need some easy things.

You need some things that you’re not sure if they’re hard or easy yet.

A few weeks ago, on Twitter, someone posted a jokey meme about the new year actually starting in February, and January being our free trial month.

If you need to adjust that first frenzy of desire, look back over what you want this year and do it. Not just now, but at any point where you realize something is wrong.

We are living beings. Every decision, every interaction, affects us. We need to be able to adjust without giving up, let go without feeling defeated.

It’s not easy.

But at the end of this first month of the new year and the new decade, give yourself a few minutes to reassess your desires. Are you on track? What needs changing?

Be both honest and kind with yourself.

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