Posted by: devonellington | May 15, 2017

Mid-May Check-In

May is proving to be a challenging month, but also a creative one.

Here’s where I am on my list:
Dealing with the personal stuff
Nearly one half way through the second draft of WINNER TAKE ALL
About 30K into the second draft of FIX IT GIRL
Finishing up the Lavinia Fontana research
Pitching and working on articles
Negotiating a reviewer gig
Yard work — which has run into some problems because of mower issues

I’m behind on NOT BY THE BOOK, the basement purge, and “Axe to Grind”.

But I’ve also outlined some new projects, I was asked to submit a proposal for a new play, and I’m plugging along. And I drafted a new short story, that I hope to polish and send out this week.

Fingers crossed that May only gets better. How’s your May?

Posted by: devonellington | May 2, 2017

May To Do List

May 2017 To Do List

Continue dealing with personal stuff
Revision of WINNER TAKE ALL SCREENPLAY (at least one, maybe two)
Start second draft of FIX-IT GIRL (six weeks, hopefully, so it will finish in Mid-June)
23K on NOT BY THE BOOK
Continue Lavinia Fontana research
10-12 article pitches
Yard work
Purging basement
Finish, revise, submit “Axe to Grind”
Make final decision on short story adaptations — either do them or drop them.

Posted by: devonellington | May 1, 2017

April 2017 Wrap Up

April Wrap Up:

Complete:
First draft of the screenplay WINNER TAKE ALL
Contest entries read and judged
6 article pitches

In Process:
Life stuff
NOT BY THE BOOK – behind where I want to be
Lavinia Fontana research — ongoing until end of June
FIX-IT GIRL — research keeps rolling in; figured out where I have to create new scenes in this draft and working on them before starting second draft. Will start second draft in May.
POWER OF WORDS
Yard Work (will be ongoing until the next snowstorm)
Purging basement (will be ongoing until done)

Dropped/Moved:
SONGBOUND SISTERS moved to later in the year

Unexpected Additions:
WINNER TAKE ALL screenplay
“Axe to Grind” short radio play
Revisions on “Seven of Swords”
Outline begun of art heist screenplay
Potentially adapt one or two short stories for radio
Playing with new mystery idea
Submitted radio play

Disappointments:
Some project interviews were disappointing and the decision was made not to go forward.
Not moving fast enough on a couple of things and missed the opportunity

Successes:
The craft on WINNER TAKE ALL.
Writing the first draft of a screenplay in less than a month (19 days)

Overview:
An up and down month, but overall, quite creative. It felt good to write a complete screenplay without interruption. POWER OF WORDS moves along, although in different ways. NOT BY THE BOOK needs to get back on track. The unexpected radio opportunities need to be grasped, and I had ideas and momentum for articles, which I haven’t felt in a long time. Didn’t do as much yard work as I hoped, due to all the rain. Did the final push on the contest entries, and I’m satisfied with my decisions. Still too much personal chaos that needs sorting out, and that drains energy from everything else.

Posted by: devonellington | April 18, 2017

April Mid-Month Check-In

April Mid-Month Check-In

Life stuff — ongoing.

NOT BY THE BOOK — Behind where I should be

Lavinia Fontana Research — still don’t have the catalyst for the plot

FIX-IT GIRL — research mostly done; plot points decided; working first draft of new scenes into book.

POWER OF WORDS — skipping around in it a bit. Some stuff I’m working on now informs earlier sections, so I did some inserts. Skipping ahead a bit to write sections set in Paris, on the Orient Express, in Venice, and in LA. May add sections set in Berlin and Milan. Debating about Costa Rica section.

Yard Work — ongoing, although not as fast as I would like, due to being out of shape.

Contest entries — finished two categories; almost done with smaller, final category and digital entries to read.

Purging boxes — not where I want or need to be with that. Have to get on the stick with it.

Unexpected additions: New screenplay, hit the halfway point; new short radio play; revisions on one act play. All for deadlines/markets that came up since my To Do List was created at the beginning of the month.

How is your April going? Having some good weather makes a big difference!

Posted by: devonellington | April 3, 2017

April 2017 To Do List

To Do List April 2017

The Private Life Stuff I can’t publicly discuss
NOT BY THE BOOK — 20K
Lavinia Fontana Research — find the incident that makes the play go
FIX – IT GIRL — complete costume research; decide other remaining plot points
POWER OF WORDS — whatever needs to be done on it
Yard work (per the weather)
Finish contest entries & make final decisions
Purge 20 boxes from the basement

Short list, but it makes more sense, given the “life stuff” that has to be handled before anything else can fall into place.

Posted by: devonellington | March 31, 2017

March 2017 Wrap-Up: Adjusting to Life’s Surprises

March was certainly a month of personal challenges, most of which I can’t discuss publicly.

Needless to say, I don’t even want to look at my To Do list, because it will read more like a “To Didn’t” list.

A great deal of the month was caught up in political activism, as it must be, if there’s any hope of surviving with this country as a democracy. Or having things like air to breathe, food to eat, etc. The level of corruption right now is immense. I’m working with my ethical representatives DAILY to try and make things better. Doesn’t mean we always agree, but at least they know where I stand, so they can represent.

On the positive side, I did a LOT of work on POWER OF WORDS — probably nearly another 30K.

On the negative side, I didn’t get anywhere near enough work on NOT BY THE BOOK, just a few thousand new words, and nothing done on SONGBOUND SISTERS.

I’m doing the research and plotting needed to finish the first draft of FIX-IT GIRL, but it’s not there yet.

I decided not to do a short story; in fact, I decided not to write several short stories for several potential markets because the calls for submission didn’t spark. I SHOULD go for them, but I want to skip them this year. Part of it is probably still being bitter about working so hard to meet a deadline for an anthology in which I was invited to participate, and then the publisher not having its act together enough to see it through, and the publisher not even having the courtesy to contact authors individually, but, instead, posting it on social media. Not professional by any standard.

At least I know that I don’t want to work with them in the future! đŸ˜‰

There was some other conflict with a wanna-be who nagged me into agreeing to do something I didn’t want to do, and, when I put my own work aside to do it (as an unwarranted, unearned favor), tried to push it even further. Then argued when I put my foot down. Sorry, buh-bye. I shouldn’t have said yes in the first place; that’s on me. I had hoped that by giving an inch, that would end the constant nagging; instead, it made it worse. So, now, I have a firmer boundary, which I will not give on again.

I believe in “giving back”, I believe in sharing knowledge, in helping others, in answering questions and giving advice (if I’m in position to advise — otherwise, I’ll point them to a better source of information). However, there’s a difference between asking someone to share knowledge and experience, and demanding that they boost your career when you haven’t earned it or bothered to learn the craft, and, most importantly, make it clear that you have no intention or interest in so doing.

Between that, and the refusal, last month, to accept contracts that were detrimental to both my creative and financial life, the past weeks have been a lot of “no”. The positive part of that is it paves the way for more positive “yes”. While I may not have cleaned out the basement as I wished (or finished the spring cleaning as I wished), I am cleaning out a lot of detritus from my professional life that I think will only wind up as positive in the long run.

Doesn’t mean it’s easy now, but at least I’m making decisions based on knowing what’s best for me both creatively and financially, not out of mis-placed loyalty or fear.

The most important thing, for a writer, is to protect the work.

The To-Do List for April won’t be up tomorrow; I will most likely put it up early next week. I need to re-think a few things this weekend, and come up with something that makes more sense than my plan for March!

But that’s what Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions are — fluid. Living documents. That’s how you find the right path — by sometimes taking wrong turns, learning from it, and moving on.

Let’s move on, and hope it’s a more productive, creative, lucrative spring, shall we?

How was your month?

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

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