Posted by: devonellington | November 14, 2019

GDR Questions for 2020: A Year of Transition and Transformation

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Questions for 2020: A Year of Transition and Transformation

I’m doing something a little different this year. I have a theme for 2020: “Transition and Transformation.”

I anticipate several huge transitions in my life in the coming year. I want to use them to transform my life and get it back on the track I need it to be on for this next cycle.

So let’s start.

1. Reflect on 2019. What worked? What didn’t? What did you release, even if you thought you wanted it early in the year, because it didn’t serve your life?

2. Do you have any regrets? Are any of them something you can work on in the next cycle, or do you need to let go and move on?

3. What was your biggest obstacle in 2019?

4. How do you plan to transform this obstacle in 2020? List several active steps so to do.

5. Where are you getting in your own way of achieving your goals, dreams, and resolutions? Is there anything you need to change in your approach in order to achieve what you want and need?

6. Are there specific goals you know you MUST reach this year, instead of simply WANTING to reach them? What are they? What steps do you plan to take to get there?

7. How does your health affect these other aspects of your life? What can you do to improve your health and build strength to make necessary changes in the next cycle?

8. What illusion do you need to release in order to move forward?

9. Did you make any compromises in 2019 that you regret? What kind of course correction will you do in 2020?

10. What tools for organization, health, and creativity did you find most useful last year? Will you continue to use them?

11. Is there a tool you are eager to try this year? What is it and why?

12. For your big goals, how can you break them down into specific steps to reach by specific points in the year, in order to achieve them?

13. What are you not willing to compromise?

14. How can you build or strengthen your support system to work on your goals, dreams, and resolutions?

15. List a handful of smaller, fun goals that you have on your list because you WANT them, not because you have to get them done. Things that will give you pleasure, that you’ve always wanted to try.

16. Are you more comfortable in gradual transitions or in fast changes? This year, do you want to do anything differently than you usually do?

17. Do you need or want to change anything about the way you present yourself to the world?

18. How does the economic and political landscape affect your goals, dreams, and resolutions? How will you deal with them this year?

19. There’s a lot of talk about ending the decade and what we’ve achieved in the last ten years. When I look back at the past decade, on the one hand, I’m discouraged because things didn’t manifest in the way I hoped and planned. On the other hand, I’ve been through a lot, learned a lot, grown a lot. I made a choice not to let myself be discouraged and angry and feel “less than” because life took different directions. That doesn’t mean I don’t plan to work hard in the next cycle to achieve certain things. I feel like this was a decade of change, but also of refueling and preparation for the cycle I’m about to enter.  I realized that, even if I’ve failed in some areas, it takes off all the pressure. It gives me the freedom to do anything. How does the change of decade affect your choices this coming year, if at all?

20, What are three DEMANDS (things you have to do or need to get done, that might not be a goal, dream, or a resolution, but are necessary to your life). How will you integrate them with your goals, dreams, and resolutions?

21. List your three biggest goals, and at least 3 steps to achieve each.

22. List your resolutions and at least 3 steps to achieve each.

23. List one dream you’ve put aside, and list 3 steps you will take this year to make it a reality.

24, List 3 dreams you have and are either still working on (from previous years) or will add into the mix this year, and 3 steps for each you plan to take.

We will post our answers to these questions on the Home page of the GDR site on January 2. I am posting these questions on both the Home page and on its own page. The 2020 Questions page will remain up all year so that people can join in at any time they find the questions useful.

Posted by: devonellington | September 30, 2019

Mon. Sept. 30: September Wrap-Up


Not the traditional month-end wrap today, because things went cattywumpus again. Even though my list was reasonably short this month, other things kept charging in to interfere.

So my list is off-kilter, and a lot of things are up in the air, and I can’t even make the To Do list for October until some things are settled which are up in the air.

I’m working on the GDR for 2020. That will probably get done before the October To Do List.

How was your September?

It feels like it was over in a heartbeat.

Posted by: devonellington | September 23, 2019

Mon. Sept. 23, 2019: Just One Thing

image courtesy of Bessi via

Feeling overwhelmed by all you have on your list?

Pick just one thing.

Look at your list. Pick the thing that you feel is the most important.

Do it.

Now you have one LESS thing on your list.


Look at your list.

Pick just one thing.

Do it.

Focusing on one thing mindfully and completing it will help you complete your list in a way staring at the whole thing and feeling overwhelmed will not.

Try it!

Posted by: devonellington | September 16, 2019

Mon. Sept. 16: September Mid-Month Check-In

How’s your September going?

We lost our beloved rescue cat Lucy on the 7th, which has set back everything. Grief is a heavy emotion; although sitting down and doing the work gives some relief, I can only do so in short bursts.

I’ve gotten some good work done on the radio play “Pier-less Crime”

I’ve worked steadily on this draft of GRAVE REACH and on the first draft of ELLA BY THE BAY (which isn’t on the To Do list, but I’ve been working on it steadily for the past few months)

I’ve been playing with some other ideas to see if they are viable.

I’ve already sent out 15 LOIs, and am on track for quite a few more.

Only 1 article pitch out so far, but I’m working on some more.

I’m doing well on keeping up with the blogs and expanding their reach. I’m happy with the way Affairs of the Pen is coming along, and I hope that gets more readers.

I started a separate Twitter account for Fearless Ink here, so that I can separate the business writing from some of the other stuff I do. That was a good choice. As always, I build the Twitter following slowly, but there’s genuine interaction.

I’m keeping up with client work and putting together a direct mail for new clients.

I’m not where I’d like to be on everything, but I’m working steadily. I love autumn – it’s my favorite season.

Where are you on your goals?

Posted by: devonellington | September 9, 2019

Mon. Sept. 9, 2019: Flexibility is the Necessity

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We post lists and try to hold ourselves (and each other accountable). Often, we don’t achieve what’s on the list.

Nothing annoys me more than the “experts” who say that’s the time to lower expectations. No. You keep your expectations high. If you only post what you know you can achieve, you won’t grow.

You SHOULD be frustrated when you don’t reach your goals.

The solution, however, isn’t to throw up your hands and whine that you’re depressed and anxious because you didn’t meet your goals, and give up.

The solution is to analyze what those goals are and figure out WHY you didn’t achieve them.

Often, it’s time management. We all have 24 hours in a day. How we choose to use them defines us. We have demands on us about earning a living and taking care of our families and also doing stuff that makes us happy and helps us recharge so we CAN earn a living and take care of our families. But we also have to figure out how to work our goals into that mix.

We get tired. We get discouraged.

Maybe some of the goals aren’t things you actually want, but things you THINK you want. If that’s the case, there’s nothing wrong with removing them from the list.

As we learn what we want and need in our lives, our goals shift. That’s a good thing.

Often, my To Do list is derailed because an unexpected opportunity lands on my desk. Unexpected opportunities are a double-edged sword. On the one hand, if you follow every “new, shiny” you will never get anything finished, and it’s a self-defeating spiral. On the other hand, Opportunity often knocks once. If you dither or don’t do it out of fear or because it’s not on your list, it won’t come back.

And, with unexpected opportunities, you usually have to make a decision FAST.

The trick is to trust your instincts. Your heart will work on impulse, your head will make everything ten times more complicated than it needs to be, but your gut will lead you true. Trust your gut. As you get into the pattern of making the best decisions for you, you’ll learn how it feels when it’s “right.”

What happens if you make a wrong decision? Then you correct course. Take what you can from the experience and apply it moving forward.

Life is about movement, change, growth. Just because something is or is not on a list doesn’t mean there isn’t room for something better.

Learn to trust your gut. Learn to be flexible in a positive way. See how that improves your life.

In this month, this new cycle, keep an eye out for opportunities. Grab one that you normally would hesitate to try — IF IT FEELS RIGHT. Knock something off the list, if you need to, that feels less right.

Keep track of how it works, or doesn’t work.

Feel free to share your experiences in the comments.

Posted by: devonellington | September 3, 2019

September To Do List

September To Do List

The summer went cattywumpus, so I’m trying to get back on track. September often feels like the start of the year, to be met with fresh enthusiasm and organization. Here’s what needs to get done in September:

Finish galleys for GRAVE REACH
Finish, polish, and submit “Pier-less Crime”
Start writing the play about Canaletto’s Sisters
Finish next draft of THE BALTHAZAAR TREASURE
15 LOIs
8 Article pitches
30 boxes cleared out of the basement
Keep up with blogs & expand blog reach
Client work
Refinish the sewing table and the small drop-leafed table

What’s on your agenda for the month?

Posted by: devonellington | May 15, 2019

May Mid-Month Check-In

I had a big problem hit me this month, with a major car repair. So that threw everything out of kilter.

But here is where I am:
15 LOIs
Complete the contest judging and submit winners
Keep up with book review gig
Keep up with yard work
Switch out from winter curtains to lace panels
Sit down and do a recalibration plan
Kentucky Derby
Stanley Cup Playoffs
Work on new comic play for contest
Start developing new Caribbean idea

How is your May going?

Posted by: devonellington | May 1, 2019

May To Do List

I have some serious re-calibrating to do this month, so a lot of this list may change. But from where I sit now, this is what needs to get done.

May To Do List

15 LOIs
3 trade journal pitches
Finish revisions on “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” and submit
Get back on track with Gwen Finnegan
Get back on track with Nautical Namaste
Complete the contest judging and submit winners
Keep up with book review gig
Finish and submit Writers’ Ghetto article
Get to the MFA to do research on Canaletto and the Bibiana families
Keep up with yard work
Purge 20 boxes from the basement
More planting
Switch out from winter curtains to lace panels
Sit down and do a recalibration plan
Work on marketing plan for the second half of this year
Kentucky Derby
Stanley Cup Playoffs
Work on anti-gun violence play
Do at least 2 more monologues for WOMEN WITH AN EDGE RESIST
Work on new comic play for contest
Work on “Organizing the Dead”
Start developing new Caribbean idea

Posted by: devonellington | April 30, 2019

April 30, 2019: April Wrap Up

Honestly, I’m so tired at this point, I’m not sure what I’ve done.

But let’s see if I can make a list:

“Confidence Confidant” produced and broadcast in Boston (that was less me this month than the production company)
First draft of “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” done
Good progress on GRAVE REACH
Pitched article to market for which I’ve written a half a dozen times
40 LOIs
Trip to Vermont
Conference presentation at NECRWA

In Progress
Second draft “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” radio play
First draft “Organizing the Dead” radio play
First Draft “Dashed Dreams” radio play
Getting back on track with BALTHAZAAR edits
Trade magazine pitches
Spinning some ideas that might or might not work
Canaletto research

Unexpected Additions
Trip to Vermont
New ideas

Someone trusted broke said trust; not sure if it can be fixed
Vermont trip turned out to be unnecessary
Feeling like I’m in a perpetual state of exhaustion this month

Not my most productive month, although it started on a high note.

I need to take some time to regroup and re-prioritize, and then prepare for May.

How was your April?

Posted by: devonellington | April 15, 2019

Mon. April 15, 2019: Mid-Month Check-In

Mid-April Check-In

There was no list for April, because everything is in motion, and I must be poised for change at any moment.

I feel like I haven’t done much, but that’s actually not true.

Here’s how April’s gone so far:

Unexpected trip to Vermont
Attended live performance of my radio play in Boston
Getting back into the groove for GRAVE REACH
First draft of “Intrigue on the Aurora Nightingale” done
Working on second draft of the above
Working on “Organizing the Dead” radio play first draft
Working on “Dashed Dreams” radio play first draft
Revision on stage play of “Confidence Confidant”
Polishing article pitches
20 LOIs out

How is your April going?

Getting back to the Personal Strategic Plan, I’ve been discussing it on the business-based blog Ink-Dipped Advice. You can scroll through the posts here.

Posted by: devonellington | March 15, 2019

March 15: Mid-March Check-In


Did anyone notice there was no To Do list for March?

March has taken on a life of its own. Trying to balance new opportunities, keep up with current work, handle unexpected life news, and work on the changes that are coming up in the next few months has been a challenge.

So even the idea of the To-Do list is out the window.

Considering how booked April is, to the point of over-booked, I’m trying to clear the decks as much as possible.

Considering that Mercury is also in retrograde, everything is more of a challenge and takes longer than I’d like.

Things are going well, for the most part. But things are also moving quickly. I have to be agile and adaptive to change in the moment.

This month, having a list felt like it would be a detriment instead of a valuable tool.

So I decided not to cage myself with it, and handle what needs handling.

How is your March going?

Posted by: devonellington | February 28, 2019

February Wrap-Up

February 2019 Wrap-Up

Well, February took its own turns, as things do. I strayed from my list, because of other opportunities, especially when it came to radio plays.

All domains moved to Name Silo. Completely free of 1&1–finally!
17 LOIs
Comic ghost story radio play finished and pitched to 2 companies

In Progress:
Contest Entries
Keeping up with books sent for review
Personal strategic plan
Straw Hat Radio drama
Research for play on Canaletto’s sisters
First act of anti-gun violence play
Catching up on Gwen Finnegan things
Catching up on Nautical Namaste things
Working on GRAVE REACH (Coventina Circle #4)
NECRWA workshop
Keeping up with client work

Justice By Harpy work is moved until I catch up on Gwen Finnegan & Nautical Namaste

Unexpected Additions:
2 meetings with potential clients; one was not a good fit & I withdrew from consideration, the other I liked and am waiting to hear back.
Requests for more radio plays
Received 3D covers for my books

Didn’t get a meeting with a client I pitched and really wanted, although I knew it was a stretch
Taking longer to wind up a client project and move on than I would like

The positive reception of the radio plays
The client meetings I’ve landed from the LOIs (even when it wasn’t the right fit, landing the meeting was positive)

I’m working on the personal strategic plan. Over on Ink-Dipped Advice, I talk about the Vision Statement.

How did your February go? What are your plans for March?


Posted by: devonellington | February 15, 2019

Mid-February Check-In

I’m behind on things, but here’s the update:

My domains are moved; I am finally completely free of 1& It took over a year of concentrated effort, after years of paying for services they refused to provide. This liberation will do a lot in growing my business.

I’m keeping up with reviews, and working on my contest entries.

I’m on track for LOIs, but behind in article pitches.

I had a meeting with a potential client and then withdrew from consideration, because I knew I wasn’t the right fit for what they need; I have another meeting with a potential client next week, so we’ll see if we’re more compatible.

I’m working on my personal strategic plan.

The comic ghost story play had to have the second half ripped out and revised, but it will go out in a day or two.

I’m about ready to work on the straw hat comic radio mystery.

I’m working on the monologues, and hope to start testing the first of them this month.

I’ve been working on blog posts, and on my NECRWA presentation.

I’ve planted the eggplants, leeks, and scallions inside for spring, and I’m about to start planting tomatoes.

I’m working on the novels, but haven’t done much work on the anti-gun violence play.

I’ve also been working with my publisher on a marketing plan.

So the list isn’t quite as short as I thought!

It’s been an emotional roller coaster for various reasons, but I hope it’s evening out a bit.

How’s your February going?

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