Posted by: devonellington | February 18, 2015

Mid-February Check In

February Mid-Month Check-In

How’s your February going? We’re suffering from serious snow fatigue here in New England. We’ve been pounded with storm after storm after storm.

But it allows some good writing time.

I’m not where I want to be on the radio play, but I’m getting there.

KILLER QUINTET galleys are done and back to my editor.

Polished a 30-minute television pilot that will go out this week.

Have an idea for an hour-long pilot and a new screenplay.

Stalled on BALTHAZAAR, hope to get that back on track soon.

Have a possibility of doing a radio play for a company in Paris.

Researching historical play.

Had a meeting for a project that I could tell, from the meeting, was a non-starter.

Posted by: devonellington | February 4, 2015

January 2015 Wrap Up and on to February

January 2015 wrap-up and looking forward to February

Creatively, I slowed down the second half of January, which was unfortunate. There was some chaos going on that affected my writing more than I should have allowed.

The Burns/Woolf script was well received, which was nice. The radio drama percolated, and I started research on the historical play. I wrote a few pages of another script because the opening scene was so clear, and I didn’t want to lose it. I realized what I’d been using as the prologue for BALTHAZAAR TREASURE is really the final scene.

I did the edits for KILLER QUINTET, and the cover art is done. It will come out in February, so I have to get the promotion going on that. I did a guest appearance on a blog.

The snowstorms took up a lot of time and energy. I’d hoped to use the snow days to write, but it didn’t work out that way.

Looking forward to February, I want to get a rough draft of the radio play done, delve more deeply into the research for the historical play, and get a good chunk of BALTHAZAAR TREASURE done. I need to do a polish on a screenplay that has to go out in mid-March.

By the end of the month, the books should arrive for the contest I’m judging, and that will take up a lot of the next two months.

But having my primary focus on those four projects is the most realistic plan, I think, is the most realistic.

How is your February shaping up?

Posted by: devonellington | January 2, 2015

Answers to the Questions: January 2, 2015

Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions Questions Answered for 2015:

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?

2014 was a year of ups and downs. It started low; it picked up as the year progressed, although there were many rocky patches. I started a job I always wanted — in a library. Three novellas, a novel, and a short story in an anthology were published. A play of mine was produced, and I wrote an audio script for a company in California. I cut back on the teaching, and I need to cut back on the teaching even more. I didn’t pitch for as much freelance writing, because of the library job and the contract schedule in the fiction. I started INITIATE, which is one of the books I believe most in, of anything I’ve written. I joined Sisters in Crime, although I have not had a chance to take advantage of its opportunities. I fell short of my expectations of myself — a combination of lack of information, believing the wrong people, and allowing other people’s agendas to distract me. I will fulfill a term commitment I made to an organization that ends later this year, and then step away from the organization. It does not meet my needs, either creatively or professionally. I don’t believe I exceeded my expectations anywhere, unfortunately. I fell short.

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?

Most of the answer to this question is not ready to be shared publicly yet. I need to make some adjustments on the path. As stated above, I allowed myself to be distracted by other people’s agendas, and that has to stop. I have to remember to be ruthless when necessary.

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?

Most of the disappointments cannot be discussed in a public forum, because it is inappropriate. The disappointments are connected to specific individuals. But that’s okay. People grow and change in life, and sometimes it means they grow away from each other. One of the major disappointments has to do with the difference between the perception that there’s a vibrant artistic community in this region and the reality — most of the “artists” only work when they “get around to it.” That’s a huge disappointment. I need to be around people who commit to their art, not do it “when they have time.” I’m also tired of people who claim to want change, but aren’t willing to take the actions that create that change. They want results without work, or they want someone else to do the work for them and reap them benefits. I’m not interested in being that person.

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 were they a distraction?

There was a lot of positive, and even the negatives taught me something that will help me go forward. Even the distractions proved useful. And it’s all material, that will come out in the fiction over the next few years. One of the most positive things I did is to disconnect at least one day and often more per week. That quiet, uninterrupted time is precious and crucial.

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?

Creatively, it’s up and down. When I write, when I fulfill the daily writing discipline, yes, I feel fulfilled creatively. When I let other factors drain me and keep me from the daily writing, I get frustrated and it resonates into every area of my life. Personally, it’s been up and down. There are some personal changes that I am determined to make this year. Spiritually, it was up and down, but, in the last quarter of the year, that part of my life began to strengthen again. Hopefully, I can build on that cycle. I need to cut some deadwood out of my life, make some difficult choices, and, again, not let other people’s agendas interfere in my path.

List three goals for 2015 — concrete things that you wish to achieve. Under each goal, list three specific action steps you can do to achieve each of them.

1. Complete drafts of three novels, two plays, one screenplay
A. Stick with the 1K/each morning routine
B. Block in additional writing time on certain days of the week.
C. Finesse the way I move between projects

2. Enter a screenplay contest
A. Either polish a screenplay I have or polish a new one
B. Research the contests and see which one or ones are best suited to my long-term goals.
C. Prepare the application and paperwork so I can submit it in plenty of time.

3. Sewing — I want to get back into sewing
A. Pick a project and see it through.
B. Sort through my projects set aside.
C. See what needs to be finished and what needs to be jettisoned.

I have a couple of other goals that I am not yet ready to share publicly.

List three dreams for 2015 — 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.

I have these, but these are not yet for public sharing. Sometimes one needs to keep it quiet and close to the vest in order to make it manifest. Still, it’s an improvement over this time last year, when I felt like I didn’t have any room or reason to dream.

List three resolutions for 2015 — 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.

1. More physical activity
A. Up the yoga practice
B. More other exercise, such as adding weight training back into the regime
C. Try a form of exercise I haven’t yet tried.

2. Recommit to the garden.
A. Organize what I want earlier in the year
B. Stay on top of the yard work
C. Chronicle life in the garden better.

3. Reorganize
A. Finally unpack all the boxes in the basement and re-organize or purge what’s left.
B. Get my office back to rights
C. Get more bookcases.

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.

I am in my fifth year here on Cape Cod, since moving from New York. Many things have changed since I left New York. I know it’s time for me to reassess what I want and need, and how I want to get there. I let go of a lot when I left New York, and was full of hope and optimism when I arrived. Some of that has been met; but there have also been some disappointments, and I have to regroup and make new choices based on the realities I’ve found here.

One year: Sort out some of the scheduling, time management, and inter-personal issues that are interfering with productivity. I want more script work, and script work that pays better. I want to be in a higher-paid contract cycle with better advances. I would like to expand my environmental work, especially in the area of environmental law, and I want to dig deeper into issues of neuro-ethics.

Three years: Be settled in my own house. Have at least one prose series that sells well and sets a firm foundation, financially and creatively, for the other writing. Continue to get better script projects.

Five years: Be in a solid writing groove that balances personal and professional life.

LOOKING BACK ON LAST YEAR:

I’d assumed all of last year was a wash, in spite of the novellas, the novel, the play, the script, and the short story in the anthology. My overall feeling, looking back, was that I was trying to fight my way through a lot of briars that were pulling me off-course.

But, looking back to the GDRs at the beginning of last year, I see that I managed a little better than I remembered.

I didn’t quite meet my manuscript goals — I have several novels in progress, but finished few novel manuscripts. I only wrote one play, although I have at least two to write at the beginning of this year. I didn’t commit enough to short stories. I only saw one through to completion, instead of six — the three novellas I published had been previously written. I also fell short on releasing the Topic Workbooks, which is a shame, because they have good information.

However, I landed a job that was “partially on site” -a part-time job at a library. But I managed to do that.

I got some of the backlog out, but there’s still more to do.

My yoga practice fluctuated, although I think I’m getting back on track with it. My meditation practice deepened, and that’s helped a lot. Cutting back on the teaching and dropping unreliable clients has helped A LOT. I’m getting better at saying “no” to projects that I know instinctively do not suit me. And, a particular belief has been reinforced: When someone tells you to do something you know isn’t right — be it personally or in the bigger picture of right and wrong — “for the good of the organization” — it is complete and utter bullshit. It is for good of the individual who is trying to manipulate you. Trust your intuition and stick to your guns.

LOOKING AT JANUARY:

As I’ve discovered in the last few years, the “To Do” lists don’t work. I don’t like a daily To Do list, and the monthly one — I have to keep changing things and reshuffling all the time.

There are several big projects, in and around all the programming stuff I have to stay on top of for the library.

I need to:
Write at least 1K every morning
Finish the Burns/Woolf script
Get started on the Irish radio drama
Get back on track with BALTHAZAAR TREASURE
Stay on track with RED WIDOW and INITIATE

Dozens of other things will swirl around that, but those need to be the primary focal points for the month.

Posted by: devonellington | December 17, 2014

Questions for 2015’s New Plans — Long and Short Term

2014 got away from me on many fronts, although a lot happened. Here are some suggestions for looking at 2015:

Goals, Dreams, and Resolutions Questions for 2015

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, 2015. 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?

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?

List three goals for 2015 — 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 2015 — 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 2015 — 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. I am in my fifth year here on Cape Cod, since moving from New York. Many things have changed since I left New York. I know it’s time for me to reassess what I want and need, and how I want to get there. I let go of a lot when I left New York, and was full of hope and optimism when I arrived. Some of that has been met; but there have also been some disappointments, and I have to regroup and make new choices based on the realities I’ve found here.

I hope you find these questions helpful as you look ahead to a new cycle in your life.

Please post any questions or comments in the interim, and I will see you back here on January 2!

Devon

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?

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