Posted by: devonellington | January 31, 2009

January 2009 Wrap-Up

Can you believe January is already over? It flashed by. Wow.

Instead of forgetting half of what I did during the month, I tracked what I did and what I rolled over as it happened, which made for a more accurate list.

My wrap-up for the month reads as follows:

Pitches/Queries – 19
January newsletter
Created 2009 submission log
Created 2009 Pitch log
Submissions – 2
Scruffy Dog Review blog posts – 2
Re-read ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT with an eye to edits

In Process:
The next Jain Lazarus story (from Billy’s POV) – begun
Worked on new Fearless Ink brochure
Started clean up of 2008 Submission log
Only sent out one short backlogged piece instead of three
Men’s monologues

Work on the Big Project – must get back to it in February!
Begin ANGEL HUNT revisions – rolled over to February
Mick Feeney story — rolled over to February
Women’s monologues – roll over to February
Return to the first Helena Francis Mystery – rolled over to March
Next Merry’s Dalliance story – rolled over to March
Begin Project S – rolled over to March
Work on Nina Bell – that was questionable, and rolled over
Work on Meribeth story – that was questionable and rolled over
Work on Carlton Thorne story – that was questionable and rolled over

Unexpected Additions:
Worked on The Lucy Gothic
Drafted a direct mail piece for fiction
Accepted a slot as a contributor on Sole Struck Fashions
Till Death Do They Part Press Release
100K Manuscript polish
Additional “emergency” scene for play
Invitations to guest blog on Urban Muse and Star-Crossed Romance
Sold a YA mystery
Wrote 10 minute play
Jain Lazarus press release
Jenny Storm photo shoot

My computer
Potential “employers” who turn out to be scammers – this is where my skeptical, suspicious nature comes in handy
Scumbag UHaul
Scumbag financial institutions

Started my stretch into a new type of writing with the work for Sole Struck Fashions.
Sold a YA mystery
Wrote a ten minute play
The play that opened is getting a wonderful response!

Books Read:
John Cheever’s Journals. Beautifully written, and, while I continue to admire him as a stylist, I am glad I never had to deal with him in life.

MAKING MONEY By Terry Pratchett. Brilliant, delightful, frighteningly relevant social satire about the banking industry.

A BOOK OF ONE’S OWN by Thomas Mallon. A wonderful book about people and their diaries; I re-read this about once a year.

Book for Confidential Job #1. Since it’s confidential, I can’t discuss it. But it was good. 😉

PAGES FROM THE GONCOURT JOURNALS. I read about 50 pages and then put it back on the shelf. Their loathing and disrespect for women is sickening. While I might need to refer to it in the future if I ever set anything in Paris during this time period, it made me angry and I stopped reading.

A RING OF CONSIPIRATORS: HENRY JAMES AND HIS LITERARY CIRCLE by Miranda Seymour. Interesting literary and social history of James’s years in Rye, England. It’s a book to be dipped into, not read through solidly, so it is unfinished, but enjoyed.

THE NEW DIARY. Tristine Rainer. Interesting take on techniques to go deeper with one’s personal journal writing. This was a re-read, and I found some of the assumptions and points of view dated.

WRITERS AT WORK. Fifth Series. Edited by George Plimpton. Interviews with writers. Fascinating. Needs to be dipped into, not read all at once; therefore unfinished.

Overall, I feel good about what I accomplished against what I set out to accomplish at the beginning of the month.

Although I fell well into my projected pitches, I’m actually surprised that I only pitched for 19 jobs. Most of them came from job board listings, which is the least likely way for me to get really viable opportunities. Hopefully, I can complete the direct mail pieces in February, which will position me for better jobs in terms of quality of work and quality of pay.

I had a pretty good return on the pitches; however, quite a few of the ads that responded turned out to have quite different terms and much lower or shady payment plans that was originally advertised, and those I turned down. You get torn between, “I did pretty well because I got so many responses” and “I’m not going to take that because it’s a scam or not what it advertised”, so you don’t really know where you are, except in a better place than doing a lot of work and THEN discovering you don’t get paid.

I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to have a contract in place BEFORE you start to work.

Some wonderful opportunities came across the pike, and I”m proud of myself for remaining open to them and to be willing to reshuffle my list in order to fit them in without stress.

I’m also thrilled that the play which opened is getting such a strong response and booking additional dates, and that I sold a YA mystery.

Many of the frustrations had to do with things that were somewhat beyond my control. I have to figure out what I can control in each of these situations, and then figure out how NOT to let what I can’t control upset me so much.

It’s been an unusually enlightening month.

I look forward to February, and I look forward to hearing about your Januaries!


  1. That’s quite some achievement. Very well done.

    January started very well with lots of motivation and energy. Then one thing, once again, happened after another, very much like last year. Difference is, last year I let it have a knock on effect throughout the rest of the year; this year I’ll pick myself off, brush myself down, and start all over again. (I think I know a song about that.)

    Here then is how I did:

    * wrote something or worked on writing work most days
    * worked on Stevie Tarot 1: The Fool most days
    * typed up 1 filler written during writer’s retreat weekend (I held off the other 2 until I heard if they were interested in fillers or not – needless to say they’ve not let me know either way just yet)
    * updated writing blog at least every working/week day

    Day job
    *worked out content for March magazine
    *trawled for content for March newsletter
    * weekly timesheet
    * emailed contributors to magazine
    * emailed contributors to newsletter
    * attended tele-conference for continuous improvement panel

    Health and fitness
    * passed over daily walking in favour of daily Wii workout
    * Wii workout most week days (just not when I pulled a muscle)
    * single weekend yoga workout
    * 3 weekend walks
    * stop weighing myself every week – Paul McKenna doesn’t encourage it
    * updated slimming blog at least once a week
    * continued to cook healthily and from scratch

    * baked and/or batch cooked something every weekend
    * updated gig list every day
    * made Saturday a housework day
    * R&R every weekday night from 9pm

    Actually, just looking at that makes me feel a helluva lot better. Much has been carried over to February, a shorter month that’s already started. Should I lower the bar slightly or should I keep it at the same level in a hope I’ll get much more done? Hmm.

    Food for thought.

  2. Congrats on your progress!

  3. A tad late but I’m still here and still watching everyone’s excellent achievments. Well done Devon and Diane!

    My own January sum-up:

    * Work on Blood Ties – still IP; worked a lot on the plot and character development.
    * Write one new flash/short story – complete.
    * Re-submit any rejected/recalled short stories – 4 to go back out.
    * Enter at least one writing competition – complete.
    * Work on the fiction output from October’s Muse Festival – IP.

    * Write one poem per week – wrote 12!

    * Work on Scotland’s Treasure column for SDR Spring edition (Apr) – nothing written but several ideas to look at for next issue.
    * Query higher paying writing markets, not more lower paying ones – cutting out querying/pitching for the less-paying gigs made me feel I’m not doing as much as last year, but I have to stick with it.
    * Remain flexible for any TLB assignments that come through – complete; new opportunities still coming in.
    * Continue work amalgamating web design and freelance writing sites to – IP.
    * Examine TLB contracts prior to re-negotiation – complete; strategy for getting more work developed after advice with experienced friend.

    * Stay on top of RR submissions – delayed; need to set aside more time.
    * Start laying out RR issue 6 – 70% complete for content; front cover tba; editorials and fillers pending.

    Marketing and Promotion
    * Brainstorm ideas for podcasts/videos – not done yet.
    * Keep website(s) up to date – complete.

    Reading & Learning
    * Doors Open by Ian Rankin – complete.
    * Day by AL Kennedy – IP.

    * Start new diet – IP; not weighed in this month, though.

    Things That Turned Up
    * Edinburgh photographer requested some major site enhancements; work ongoing

    Submissions Made

    Submissions Outstanding
    2, novels, 1 novella, 9 short stories

    Nothing major or minor; steady as she goes but feel I could always be doing more. May need to adapt my working pattern to suit new demands being placed on me at the day job.

    4 short story rejections

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