Posted by: devonellington | March 1, 2017

March To Do List

March To Do List

March needs to get a bit more in balance. I have to spread things out over more projects. So, here we go:

Continue working on Book 3 in the series, but don’t make it the primary focus.
NOT BY THE BOOK — 23K
SONGBOUND SISTERS — 23K
Ostara story complete and uploaded
Continue deepening yoga/medication practice
Get back on track with strength training
International Women’s Day political activity
Do taxes
Start work on next batch of contest entries
FIX-IT GIRL additional materials
Continue Italian Renaissance research
Complete coursework for Constitutional Law class
Continue working with my elected officials
Purge basement
Work on yard when weather permits

What are your plans for March?

Posted by: devonellington | February 28, 2017

February 2017 Wrap-Up

February 2017 Wrap-Up

February was an intense, creative month, although it wasn’t focused on the projects I planned. Still, it feels good to get back into a averaging a little over 2K per day.

DONE:
Wrote 319 new pages on a project (approx. 79,750 words) that I’d just planned to give a quick re-read. This included finishing a draft of the second book in a series and getting a good bit of work done on the third book in the series.
Wrote 25 pages of revisions on an earlier portion of the same project (approx. 6250 words).
Adapted a pilot script and five episodes from novel to television format (nearly 50 pages per episode).

IN PROGRESS:
SONGBOUND SISTERS– I’m restructuring some of the outline to deepen the plot and heighten the stakes
Ostara story outlined
Yoga/meditation practice deepening
Working on FIX-IT GIRL notations
First batch contest entries almost done.
Italian Renaissance research
Constitutional Law class

MOVED/DROPPED
NOT BY THE BOOK moved to March.
Devon’s Random Newsletter — I want to wait until some of these projects are ready to launch.
Marketing plan for Topic Workbooks and Digitial Delights — with the chaos going on in the world, it seems trivial to push these projects at the moment.
Didn’t purge boxes

UNEXPECTED ADDITIONS:
Switched primary focus onto projects I wasn’t expecting to work on right now, but which are part of a long-term plan that I think will take me in the direction I want to go.
Adapting a novel into a series.

DISAPPOINTMENTS:
People

SUCCESSES:
Writing nearly 100K in a month.

Creatively, it was a spectacular month. I will have to pull back a bit in March, but I hope I don’t lose the creative groove.

How was your February?

Posted by: devonellington | February 15, 2017

Mid-Month February Check-In

February mid-month Check-In

I’m behind on NOT BY THE BOOK and SONGBOUND SISTERS. I’m rethinking some of the plot of SONGBOUND, and I hope to dive back into it later this week.

I have not drafted the short story yet.

I haven’t been as vigilant on my cardio/strength training as I should (in spite of shoveling snow), but I’m in a good place with the yoga/meditation.

I’m rethinking the marketing for the Topic Workbooks and the Delights. With everything going on in the world, it seems petty to focus on marketing. At the same time, I need to in order to sell and make a living. So that’s a dilemma.

Working on changes for FIX-IT GIRL.

Working research for the television pilot.

Pushed the newsletter to March.

Haven’t done any basement purging.

The Italian Renaissance research is going very well, and I’m loving it.

The Constitutional Law class is challenging, and I alternate between loving it and being depressed by the way the current administration is determined to destroy the Constitution and take us back to colonial times.

However, all is not lost writing-wise. I’ve written 177 pages, 44,500 words these past two weeks, on a project I’d put aside, because I wasn’t sure what to do with it. It’s pulling at me, and I’m clearer, so I’m rolling with it. That makes up for anything and everything that’s not getting done. It feels good to be back in the writing groove again.

In other words, I’ve been making use of snow days!

How is your February going?

Posted by: devonellington | February 1, 2017

February 2017 To Do List

February 2017 To Do List:

NOT BY THE BOOK — 30K
SONGBOUND SISTERS — 25K
Draft short story for Ostara
Cardio/strength training
Yoga/meditation
Start implementing marketing plans for Topic Workbooks & Delectable Digital
Delights
Notations on current draft of FIX-IT GIRL on required changes
Continue research for television pilot
Devon’s Random Newsletter
Organize/purge 20 boxes from basement
Finish first batch of contest entries
Continue researching Italian Renaissance
Coursework for Constitutional Law class

Last night, I’d added a ghostwriting project that had gone to contract; however, that blew up overnight and has been removed.  That’s the way it goes.

What are your plans for February?

Posted by: devonellington | January 31, 2017

January 2017 Wrap-Up

January 2017 Wrap-Up

Completed:
Rehearse MOBY DICK
Holiday decorations down and packed away
Day of Resistance
Boston Women’s March
Outline for new novel (see “additions”)
Outline for new play (see “additions”)
Proposal for possible spring project (see “additions”)
Short story: “A Place at the Table”
Contract negotiated for ghostwriting project

In Progress:
Started cardio/strength training
Working with my elected officials
NOT BY THE BOOK — behind where I want to be
SONGBOUND SISTERS — behind where I want to be
Yoga/Meditation
Marketing Plan for Topic Workbooks
Marketing Plan for Delectable Digital Delights
Re-read FIX-IT GIRL and made decisions; now have to implement
Started research for television pilot
Devon’s Random Newsletter — so many things were changing moment-to-moment
with contract negotiations, it didn’t make any sense to send out something
with information that would be almost immediately negated.

Moved/Dropped:
Re-thought the arc of a connected series of short stories. Instead of one
story every six weeks all year, there will be one story every twelve
weeks over two years. Next story is moved to next month.
Had to give up my slot as a reader for MOBY DICK because of blizzard
I did not start the basement purge as planned

Additions:
First batch of contest entries arrived, and I started working on them.
Drafted outline for new novel
Four sets of contract negotiations — two successfully completed; one walked away from; one still in negotiation
Drafted outline for a new play
Play about Italian Renaissance painter commissioned — due in December
Research begun on Italian Renaissance
Accepted into class for Constitutional Law and started it.
Proposals for a potential project in spring
Negotiations for another project

Disappointments:
People

Successes:
Play about Italian Renaissance painter commissioned
Boston Women’s March
Accepted into class for Constitutional Law

Overview of the month:
The contract negotiations and the political work threw off the writing schedule, and I have to get back on track with that in February. I wasn’t feeling well, and had very low energy. It was hard to get and stay motivated. The Women’s March was great, but I don’t feel my elected officials are taking strong enough actions to fight the current dismantling of democracy, and I will not let up on them. It was hard to respond to opportunities that came up, but I did so. In some cases, I am glad, because, such as the play commission, it has a positive result. In other cases, the contract terms didn’t make it work my time, and I walked away, which was the right decision. The short story took some interesting twists and turns; hopefully it is what this anthology is looking for. The play that sprang into life as I was driving back from New Bedford at the end of the month gnaws at me and demands attention. I am physically and emotionally depleted, but simply carrying on and focusing on the work helps. While I didn’t accomplish as much creatively as I wanted to, I fulfilled duties to my community that were necessary. I have to get those two parts of my life back in balance for February.

Posted by: devonellington | January 15, 2017

Jan. MidMonth Check-In

January 2017 Mid-Month Check In:

It has not been the productive start to the year for which I hoped, unfortunately, bu I got going on a few things. A great deal of my time is spent with my elected officials, making sure they know where I stand on current issues.

Done:
Rehearse MOBY DICK
Holiday decorations down and packed away — which took far longer than I anticipated!

In process:
Short Story for Anthology
Started cardio/strength training
Working with my elected officials
NOT BY THE BOOK
SONGBOUND SISTERS
First batch of contest entries arrived, and I started working on them.

Unexpected Additions:
Drafted outline for new novel
Three sets of contract negotiations going on – not sure where they were lead

Although I rehearsed MOBY DICK, I had to let it go, because a blizzard prevented me from participating in the marathon. Disappointing, but here on the Cape, our life is dictated by the weather.

Posted by: devonellington | January 3, 2017

To Do List January 2017

There’s a lot on my plate this month, but I’m diving in and doing the best I can.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

To Do List January 2017

Rehearse MOBY DICK
Read in MOBY DICK Marathon at New Bedford Whaling Museum
Short Story for Anthology (5K)
Short piece for Imbolc (10-15K)
Go back to work on NOT BY THE BOOK
22K on NOT BY THE BOOK
Go back to work on SONGBOUND SISTERS
Outline SONGBOUND SISTERS (Writer’s Rough)
17K on SONGBOUND SISTERS
Continue to Query DEATH OF A CHOLERIC
Deepen yoga & meditation practice
Start 6 month Fitness Training program w/strength & cardio training
Devon’s Random Newsletter
Work on marketing plan for the Topic Workbooks
Work on the marketing plan for Delectable Digital Delights
Regular contact with elected officials
Jan. 19 — Day of Resistance
Jan. 21 — Women’s March/Boston
Take down holiday decorations and pack away
Unpack 17 boxes from basement
Re-read FIX-IT GIRL and make some decisions/do research on it
Research and background for the television pilot

Posted by: devonellington | January 3, 2017

GDR Questions Answered for 2017 — Delayed

I had the work done – I have the pages printed out in my journal — but, for whatever reason, the file did not save and i have to retype it. Frustrating, but typical Mercury Retrograde. I will post it in the next few days, when I’ve retyped the file.

Posted by: devonellington | December 31, 2016

Dec. 31, 2016: 2016 Wrap-Up

GDR Wrap Up 2016

Looking back at 2016:
2016 was a difficult year. I was unhappy in my work situation, and feeling drained. When the position was eliminated at the end of June, I was shocked at the abruptness of it, but it was much better for me on many levels. I did theatre work through the summer and consulting work through the fall. Plus, I wrote. A LOT. I signed with a new agent, and we’ll see how that goes.

I also chose a word for 2016: Reciprocity. I felt things had gotten very out of balance. That, in certain situations, I was giving, supporting, paying, and getting nothing in return. By holding the word “reciprocity” in mind, I was able to re-balance some of that, and cut some toxic people out of my life. I also faced some hard realities about how the reality of living in this area does not live up to the fantasy. Now I have to make decisions as to what I want to do about it.

At this point, I have four novels out on submission, two plays out, and I had a radio play produced. I wrote two short stories, and re-released three digital shorts.

I had my first piece of mixed media art hung in a gallery show.

I have developed more than one book series, and am in the process about making some decisions about how I want to shape and handle my career.

I also said no to some freelance assignments I knew would be unfulfilling on both creative and financial levels, and I feel good about that.

I feel more confident about my abilities in the house and garden, and I cooked a lot.

I focused more on my yoga practice, but I still want to go deeper. I also re-connected with some spiritual practices that had fallen by the wayside.

The election of the Narcissistic Sociopath is a cause for great concern. While I would like to ignore that creature, he has put together a cabinet that is incompetent, corrupt, and bent on destroying what I believe are the founding principles of this country. I would like to simply ignore his existence for the coming years, but looking the other way is a form of acceptance, and I’m not willing so to do.

Do you feel you are on the right path? If so, what do you want to build on from this year to make next year even better? If not, what do you want to change? How do you intend to change those things?
Creatively, I feel like I’m getting there. I don’t like the way the traditional industry is going — what is “popular” and how it’s marketed isn’t the way I want to go. So I have to find a new way that balances the creative needs with unique marketing campaigns that put my work in front of the people who will positively respond.

Apart from my writing work, I’m not sure where I will land. I am not willing to stay in this location working a shit job I don’t like that barely pays minimum wage. I am willing to move for work I enjoy that also pays appropriately. The “gimme” attitude around here, where people want you to “donate” all the time, but aren’t willing to pay for skills or reciprocate in in-kind support, works my last nerve.

Take a look at the disappointments from this year. Can you find their root cause? Did you get something positive from them, in spite of the disappointments?
The disappointments have more to do with other people, rather than myself. My determination for 2016 was that it be a year of “reciprocity”. When that did not happen, people and situations got dropped from my life, and I got better at so doing. When things got out of balance, especially when I gave and gave and got nothing in return — something that happened far too often in 2015 — I got better at redrawing boundaries and being ruthless. I tried to do it with the least amount of unpleasantness to others, but when things were really out of whack, well, too damn bad.

For the past few years, I felt like a hamster on a wheel, just trying to survive. This year, I got angry enough to say, “No, this isn’t the ONLY way to do this and survive. I’m doing something else. Too bad if it doesn’t suit you, because you haven’t lived up to your end of the equation.” That’s hard to learn to do, but I’m learning.

Take a look at unexpected events which changed your path. Were the changes positive or negative? Did they send you in a new direction you might not have found otherwise, or where they a distraction?
The biggest unexpected event, in June, will, in the long run, be for the best. Even though I knew it at the time, it was still a shock. It set into motion some other decisions which had been necessary for a long time, but which I’d hesitated to take, again, issues where the reciprocity equation was unequal.

This year has certainly made me much more cynical, especially the election.

Do you feel fulfilled creatively, personally, spiritually? What contributes to that? If something is lacking in any of these areas, what actions do you need to take in the coming year?
The creative fulfillment in the process is growing. The Sophie Batchelder mystery is making the rounds with the agent; PLAYING THE ANGLES and TRACKING MEDUSA are both out on submission, looking for a home for re-release. DEATH OF A CHOLERIC is out on query/partial submission. “Courting the Lioness” is in New York. By the time this posts, JUST A DROP will also be on its way to New York. I re-released “Personal Revolution”, “Plot Bunnies”, and “Severance.” I wrote “Won if By Sea”, which is out on submission, and “The Ghost of Lockesley Hall”, a holiday present to readers. I worked on revisions for HEART SNATCHER, which should be ready for submission soon, am prepping to finish THE FIX-IT GIRL, and taking another look and another view at TAPESTRY. I’m preparing a solid writing schedule for next year, and I’ve been invited to submit to an anthology. I’m developing a new pilot script, and working on another play.

I also had my first piece of visual art in a gallery show. That was exciting for me.

Creatively, I’m getting back on track. Now, I need to re-form how I want to market that creativity. I don’t like the forced paths that marketers and publishers say I have to take. I want to find more unique, more inclusive ways to engage my audience.

Personally, it’s been up and down. When the creativity is sorted out, the personal tends to take care of itself.

I’m getting back on track spiritually. Work in progress, but I’m in a better place than this time last year, albeit a more cynical one.

Looking back at my three goals for 2016 and the steps to achieve them:

Goal 1. Meet the writing schedule I set out, yet have flexibility
when unexpected opportunities arise.

A. Don’t get distracted by other people’s agendas
B. Manage time and energy better; don’t let the energy vampires
drain me
C. Recognize the difference between “opportunity” and “ego.”

Result: In quantity, I met what I wanted to achieve with my writing, but the projects were shifted around due to opportunity. Some of those manuscripts need to be rolled over to finish in the coming year. I was better at not getting distracted by other people’s agendas, although it was difficult to balance the writing with the theatre work this summer. I managed my time and energy better, cutting out energy vampires, and taking off time when I needed so to do. I refused several things that I was tempted to take out of ego, rather than because they were good for me on any level. I’m pleased that I did not succumb to the Nano temptation — that would have really derailed me toward the end of the year.

I didn’t achieve it to the letter, but I’m pleased with the progress I made.

Goal 2. Can’t be shared publicly yet; just know that I’m in the process
of taking the steps to fulfill it.

Result: Part of it was achieved, although not in the way I anticipated, when my position was eliminated. The rest of the pieces are still in play. Partial victory.

Goal 3. Again, up the physical activity, and get back in shape.
A. Deepen the yoga practice
B. Add other physical activities to the roster
C. Recognize steady, but necessary increase increments

Result: The yoga practice was deepened, but I want to take it further. The theatre job got me temporarily back in shape, but I’m losing it again, and I have to find ways to do more physical activity I enjoy, and raise the increments. I’m better than I was at this point last year, not as fit as I was at the beginning of autumn, but I want to make sure I don’t backslide.

Dreams for 2016:
I didn’t discuss them publicly, and had to look back in my private journal. I worked on the dreams, but did not fulfill them this year. I’m tweaking them a little for next year, and working on them in a more practical way. I’ve also decided to let go of at least one, and replace it with something that fits more of what I want, not what I feel I should want.

Resolutions and Results for 2016:

Resolution 1. Excommunicate the toxic, the crazy, the saboteur, and the
energy vampires from my personal universe.
A. It’s tied in to some of the goals and dreams I can’t yet share.
B. Strengthen my personal shields.
C. Refuse to be drawn in to other people’s dysfunction.

Results: Made a lot of progress with this and feel good about it. Also getting better at recognizing early warning signs and removing myself before it becomes a crisis.

Resolution 2. Organize/purge/unpack basement
A. Get the supplies I need in place so I can organize and have
designated bins/areas to sort/purge
B. Create a reasonable schedule and stick to it.
C. Re-Feng-Shui the house. The place’s natural feng shui is
excellent, but the purging/organizing will help.

Result: Well, that didn’t really happen! It fell by the way side. That needs to roll over. I did some Feng-Shui work, which helped a lot, but the basement needs a lot of work.

Resolution 3. Try something new, out of my comfort zone.
A. Be open to new opportunities
B. Lack of energy is not an excuse
C. Realize it’s okay if I try something and decide I don’t
like it.

Result: This was a good one, and I’m happy with the result. I had to let go of Argentine Tango, because the time commitment and the emotional commitment was more than I could give. I still enjoy it and I’d like to get back to it someday, but this is not the time. Although it’s given me inspiration for several stories. I stretched myself into visual arts, and found I really enjoy it. I want to paint and experiment with abstract work a bit more. I also stretched myself by being a reader for the Moby Dick Marathon in Provincetown in April, and will stretch even further by participating in the marathon at the New Bedford Whaling Museum this coming January.

I’m at work with my personal plan for 2017, the plan beyond the GDRS, to set up the next few years. I hope to have it ready to share by mid-February.

On January 2, I will be back with my GDR questions answered for 2017, and on the 3rd, I will have my January To-Do list ready.

Happy New Year, and may next year bring you joy, creativity, and an abundance of all that is good.

Feel free to post your own reflections on 2016 below. We’ve lost so many inspirations this year, that we must be each others’ inspirations.

Posted by: devonellington | December 22, 2016

Goals, Dreams, Resolutions Questions for 2017

2016 has been a difficult year, on many levels.  But we’ve got the chance for a fresh start coming up in just over a week, and a good time to recalibrate.  Some of the questions are from last year, but there are some new ideas, and some things that build on the work last year.

You’ll see, in my wrap up of 2016, which will post on New Year’s Eve, why I lost focus, but, going back over the years, I also gained things I did not realize were gains at the time.  I hope you find that this past year has been more positive than it’s often felt, and let’s work together to make next year something wonderful.

Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions Questions for 2017

Choose a word that encompasses what you hope will define 2017. ONE word, not a phrase. The word “positive” is a given before that word.

My word for 2017 is “Positive ______________”.

Here are some things to think about, as you look ahead to the coming year. I will post my answers on the second of January, 2017. There may be details related to various questions that are too personal to post publicly; that’s fine. You’re not required or expected to violate your own privacy, or anyone else’s. Write as completely and honestly for yourself as you can, and only post anything that is comfortable for you to share.

Take a look back at the last year, and give yourself an honest assessment. Remember to be kind to yourself. Did you achieve what you hoped to achieve? Where did you fall short of your own expectations, and why? Where did you exceed them? What unexpected events changed your direction? What did you choose to give up because it no longer fit your goals, dreams, resolutions, and life?

Do you feel you are on the right path? If so, what do you want to build on from this year to make next year even better? If not, what do you want to change? How do you intend to change those things?

What needs to be released? There is nothing wrong with removing things (or people) that no longer work for your life. What of those can you discuss and how will you let go of them in a postive way?

Take a look at the disappointments from this year. Can you find their root cause? Did you get something positive from them, in spite of the disappointments?

Take a look at unexpected events which changed your path. Were the changes positive or negative? Did they send you in a new direction you might not have found otherwise, or where they a distraction?

Do you feel fulfilled creatively, personally, spiritually? What contributes to that? If something is lacking in any of these areas, what actions do you need to take in the coming year?

How will you participate in your community? Go beyond yourself and make changes that will positively affect others? In this time of negativity and defensiveness, going beyond the self is very important. If you have spent a great deal of time out in the community this past year, what has fulfilled you? What has not? What changes will you make to prevent burn out?

List three goals for 2017 — concrete things that you wish to achieve. Under each goal, list three specific action steps you can do to achieve each of them.

List three dreams for 2017 — things you would like to do, but that may not be ready to manifest. List three action steps under each dream that you can start this coming year, on the road to manifestation.

List three resolutions for 2017– definite things you want to change about yourself or your life for the better. Under each one, list three action steps that you can take to start achieving those resolutions. Again, remember to be kind to yourself.

Take a look back at the last several years, and then look ahead to where you are and where you want to be. Take some time and figure out a one year, three year, and five year plan. Your personal “strategic plan”, so to speak. Your Personal Plan takes time and is a living document, which means you revisit it and change it as you see fit.

Let’s try to have our Personal Plans ready by mid-February.

Have a wonderful start to the New Year!

Please feel free to share your own goals, dreams, and resolutions below.

Posted by: devonellington | May 27, 2016

April & May Wrap-Up

I apologize for not posting an April Wrap-Up or a May To Do List. I went on vacation at the beginning of May. So I have both of these months included in the May wrap-up:

Complete:
5 submissions
Entries judged for the Indie Next Generation Book Awards
Entries judged for the Ear for Drama Radio Contest
1 short story written/polished/submitted*
DEATH OF A CHOLERIC 2nd draft – now it has to sit, because I have to cut at least 20K!

In Process:
SONGBOUND SISTERS first draft (behind)
“Just a Drop” first draft (behind)
Non-fiction #1
Garden

Moved/Dropped:
*Two short stories that were not contracted – I had decided not to do these, but the publication requested that I submit at least one piece, so I did.

Unexpected Additions:
Next round of edits for HEART SNATCHER started – not sure how to fit it into the schedule.
Need to find a way to put the entire Harpy Trilogy back onto the roster, without dropping anything else.
Re-reading INITIATE, and getting fired up about that again, but not sure what to do
Discussions with agent, who requested a rewrite of CHARISMA KILLINGS that resonates, so I have to figure out how to get it done on time without dropping the ball on anything else.

Disappointments:
Of a personal nature; not appropriate to discuss here.

Successes:
Agent interested in representing me.
Some risk-taking submissions

Have a wonderful holiday weekend, and I’ll check back in with you for June’s list next week!

June is also the half-way point of our year, so at the end of June, we’ll be doing a reassessment.

Posted by: devonellington | April 15, 2016

April MidMonth Check In

Mid-Month Check-In April

How’s your April going?

Mine is busy – in the best possible sense of the word.

I decided to wait until early May to start revisions on DEATH OF A CHOLERIC. That gives it six weeks to rest – a good compromise between the month I scheduled and the two months I prefer.

SONGBOUND SISTERS and “Just a Drop” are on track – I still plan to have the first draft of the latter done by the end of the month.

I’m also looking for a way to add the next round of revisions of HEART SNATCHER and finishing the first draft of HEART BINDER back into the mix, without dropping the ball on any of the other schedule projects.

I may drop the two short stories, since they are not contracted. I think I have enough on my plate without them.

I finished the judging for one contest, and just received the entries for the radio contest.

I’m behind in submissions, but the work is going well on both nonfiction projects.

It’s rained almost every day I’ve had off, so I’m behind in the garden, but I hope to catch up this weekend!

Hope your April is spectacular!

Posted by: devonellington | April 1, 2016

April To Do List

 

My April To-Do List looks short, but is actually quite time-and-labor-intensive.  Writing the first draft of one book while revising the draft of a different book is always an interesting challenge.  At least CHOLERIC is in first person, while SONGBOUND is in third, so I’m not switching between first person voices.

Knocking out two short stories will be a challenge, but one is partially formed in my head.

The contests will take the biggest chunk of time, and are on the shortest deadline.  But it will be fun.  What does your April look like?

To-Do List April:

Work on SONGBOUND SISTERS
Start revisions on DEATH OF A CHOLERIC
Finish, edit, polish, and send off 2 short stories
Finish “Just a Drop”
3-5 submissions/pitches
Finish Contest entries
Judge high school radio contest
Continue work on Non-Fiction #1 and Non-Fiction #2
Garden

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