Posted by: devonellington | November 7, 2022

You Don’t Have To Spin

(Image courtesy of Yan Stavchansky via

The last day of October was Samhain, a big holiday on  my personal calendar, so I chose to celebrate it rather than post what I got done in October. Now, we’re well into November, so it doesn’t make sense to post about October.

I’m happy with what I got done in October. It was a lively, creative month. I always feel I’m not getting “enough” done, no matter how much I do, and I’m trying to train myself out of that toxic whirlpool.

We’re a week into November. I’m trucking along with my Nano words every day, learning a lot from this experience, and trying to figure out how it will affect my overall writing life and process past November.

There’s also a lot going on, between Twitter being intentionally destroyed by an egotistical, insecure manboy, tomorrow’ s election (in the US), and things like a full moon and an eclipse, and all the other influences (like Mars retrograde) that are making something difficult even more so, especially since most of us are just trying to get through the day and keep a roof over our heads.

I’ve been up, down, and all over the place the past few days. My meditation practice has helped a lot.

One of the techniques I learned in meditation is not to try to push away or repress ugly feelings, but to acknowledge them. So that’s what I’m doing: acknowledging grief, stress, anxiety, fear. I also acknowledge that people feel different things at different points, and deal with them differently. I don’t feel what they do, and I don’t “have” to. I can give them room to feel what they feel without lashing out at them. Even if they lash out at me.

I can, however, choose not to engage with those who are lashing out either because they don’t know how to deal with the emotions, or who delight in using what’s going on as a reason to escalate their cruelty.

I protect my work  (my writing) first. If it interferes in my ability to create, it is removed from my life. That’s as true of people as of situations. Unless it’s a client who’s paying me, I don’t have to engage with toxic individuals. And, if it is a toxic client, I can finish the project and fire the client.

I don’t have to spin in someone else’s emotional abyss.

Neither do you.

Breathe. Choose with whom you engage or disengage. Give room to those worth keeping in your life who are hurting and handling it differently. Remove those who are out to cause harm.

Protect your energy. Protect your heart.

And, if you’re in the US tomorrow, VOTE! We don’t want this election to be our last election.

Peace, my friends.

Posted by: devonellington | October 31, 2022

Blessed Samhain

(image courtesy of Larissa Koshkina via

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I am more mindful of taking holidays, rather than just posting content when a posting day falls on a holiday. This is a big day in my personal calendar, and I’m enoying it.

I hope you take off important days in your personal calendar, too!

Posted by: devonellington | October 24, 2022

Breath Under Duress

image courtesy of Dean Moriarty via

We are getting into a particularly chaotic time, between midterms, digging down to prepare for another COVID surge in spite of the deniers, and what’s happening astrologically.

Although Saturn, the pattern of life lessons, went direct yesterday, we’re not out of the woods. Look at the life lessons you learned since the retrograde began on June 4. How will you apply them moving forward to that you don’t get hit with them again when Saturn goes direct next year?

How are you going to listen to that deep inner voice of KNOWING and let it guide you?

What have you learned about the people in your life, those you can trust and those you can’t?

We still have Mars in Gemini until March of 2023 (I know, I know, I moan about this regularly BECAUSE IT SUCKS). Now, we have Mars going retrograde while it’s in Gemini, and it will be retrograde until January 12, 2023.

It bodes for more argument, more aggression, on multiple levels, on personal and larger levels.

The holiday season is stressful enough, with family expectations and everything else going on. Add the retrograde Mars in Gemini energy, and it can be overwhelming.

I chose the title for this piece “Breath under Duress” for several reasons:

We need to breathe to live.

Pausing to take a few deep breaths in the midst of stress helps steady and give clarity to deal with said stress.

COVID is airborne, makes breathing difficult, and we have to make sure we are not in situations where breathing will kill us.

I joked over on Ink in My Coffee this morning, and on Twitter last night, to keep me away from sharp objects and flamethrowers, because I Am Done. Only it’s not really a joke. I can feel the rage gathering, urged on my Mars getting ready to go retrograde in Gemini. While there are plenty of rage-worthy targets, I want to make sure I don’t aim at those who don’t deserve it, and I want as little collateral damage as possible.

Every time I feel the rage building, I stop.

I take a few deep breaths.

I ask myself if the thing/person I’m furious at/with in the moment is really the cause of my rage, or am I deflecting?

If it is the cause, how can I use the anger in a constructive rather than destructive way?

If it’s not, how I can I move my focus to what IS the actual cause, and use the anger constructively?

It’s difficult.

It’s also necessary.

Built your bubble for the winter surge. Don’t give in to peer pressure and keep masking/refusing indoor activities. Create space so that you CAN take a breath when you’re under duress, and do so safely.

Posted by: devonellington | October 17, 2022

October Mid-Month Check-In

image courtesy of Pexels via

I can’t believe it’s already the middle of October. I love autumn, but time is accelerating.

How is your October going? Mine is busy and creative. I’m slowly feeling less burned out and more optimistic. However, with the virus numbers going up in my area, I’m hunkering down for the winter. I’m looking forward to it, planning my time and space to be creative and cozy.

Here’s what’s been going on:

Wrote 2 short plays

Submitted 1 play

Got back on track with my daily yoga practice

Kept up with Ink in My Coffee & Gratitude and Growth

Kept up with script coverage work

Kept up with book reviews

Wrote ahead on Ink-Dipped Advice

Participated in a marketing game (which is ongoing until the end of the month)

Worked on the next arc of LEGERDEMAIN

Worked adapting chapters of ANGEL HUNT back into serial format

Re-read part of EARTH BRIDE with an eye to adaptation

Helped a colleague with her website


Worked on the outline for THE TREES WHISPERED MURDER

Created and dropped an ad campaign at the last minute for the Kindle Vella Binge Reading week

Created a logo for the new project going live next week

Outlined and planned the new project going live next week

Wrote four of the posts for the new project

Attended the Boiler House Poets reading

Decorated for the season

Did a storage run

Got an oil change to prep the car for winter

Started the document for the December newsletter

I did not get out  any LOIs at the beginning of the month, which concerns me. I need to up my game for the second half of the month there, or I will regret it over the winter.

How’s your October going?

Posted by: devonellington | October 3, 2022

September Wrap-Up

image courtesy of Messan Edoh via

I never did a wrap up for August, but that’s long in the distance. Safe to say, I re-released all seven Topic Workbooks and did a lot of promotion for Legerdemain, and taught virtually at a conference. September was pretty busy, too.


Working Artist Group meeting

Quarterly newsletter out

Kept up with script coverages

First arc of LEGERDEMAIN polished/uploaded/scheduled through early Dec.

Episode-specific ads created/uploaded/scheduled

Kept up with book reviews

Kept up with Gratitude and Growth

Kept up with Ink-Dipped Advice

Created and posted 2023 GDR questions

House guests

Started working with DramaQueen software

Dumped project management software

Signed up with Substack

Meeting at the local television/radio station

Submitted 5 stage plays

Authors Guild virtual seminar on serials

Outlined Lighthouse short story

Got the plants in

Sewed two curtains

Created/uploaded ads for 30 Tips for 30 Days through October

Posted profile on Creative Ground

Updated Pages on Stages Website with radio links

Created ANGEL HUNT logo

Attended a colleague’s reading

Visited the law library for research on the Retro Mystery

Got COVID Shot #5

Voted in the primaries


Outline for Retro Mystery

ANGEL HUNT adapted from novel to serial


Material for the Legerdemain website


Graphics for Topic workbooks campaign for October -December

Organizing creative projects for 2023

Fearless Ink Quarterly postcard


Withdrew from Authors Guild in-person conference due to lack of COVID protocols



Submission calls

Short story outline (lighthouse)


Project management software does not meet my needs. It lacks the flexibility I want.

Had to drop the idea of meeting some submission calls because I could not prioritize the time to write the pieces necessary.

Lack of COVID protocols at conference, which meant I had to withdraw

Lack of synopses for stage plays (on the list for the coming months)

Behind on posting links for the Topic Workbooks

Injured by fireworks

The amount of time it took to recover from the booster

Recruiters (so sick of them wasting my time)

Fire in the building



Creative Ground

Bonuses from Script Coverage

How was your September?

Posted by: devonellington | September 26, 2022

Questions to Help Plan 2023

image courtesy of Andrea Piacquadio via

It’s been another rough year, the third year of the ongoing pandemic. Take some time to think about where you’ve been in 2022 and where you’d like to go in 2023.  The questions will move to their own tab and sit, so you don’t have to feel rushed; you can revisit.

I will post mine shortly in the New Year. You can post or not post in the New Year in the comments as you wish.  Remember that Mercury goes retrograde again on December 29, with Mars still in Gemini, so going into the New Year could be rougher than usual.

Here are some things to consider:

Assess 2022. What are the major highlights? What are the big disappointments? How do they weigh against each other?

Given your GDRs for 2022, what did you achieve, what are you still working on, and what did you release?

Looking at 2023, consider these:

What is your relationship with the ongoing COVID pandemic? How will you continue to protect yourself, your family, your community?

Where do you need to change things on your path? Is it work? Is it nonwork?

What creative explorations do you plan to make in 2023?

List 3 goals for 2023, in any area of your life. Underneath each, list 3 active steps to start the work they need.

List 3 dreams for 2023, in any area of your life. Underneath each, list 3 active steps to start launching them.

List 3 resolutions for 2023, in any area of your life. Underneath each, list 3 active steps to start your commitment.

What do you need to release, in any of these areas, to clear your path to achieving your goals, dreams, and resolutions in 2023?

What is one new type of creative endeavor you will play with during 2023? (And the emphasis here is on “play.” We don’t build in enough playtime for ourselves).

What is one stretch goal, dream, or resolution that you want, which will probably be a multi-year endeavor? What is one small step you can take this year to get it going?

As always, take your time to think about it. Only share, in January, what you feel comfortable sharing.

Posted by: devonellington | September 12, 2022

Learning To Take Breaks

image courtesy of Dariuz Sankowski via

Hello, and welcome back after the August Blog Rest here.

But last Monday was September, so why no post?

Because here, in the US, it was a holiday. I am being more stringent about taking holidays and not working or posting.

So why not write ahead and schedule to post?

Because I’m training myself and walking my talk by taking holidays, and that means that not only do I not work on them, but I don’t act like it’s any typical workday and schedule posts. I’m trying to train myself to get into the habit of holidays being genuine time off, not pretended time off.

We’re so used to everything being work or about work or prep for work or work showing up when we’re away that we don’t take breaks. Taking breaks from posting gives me, as the content creator AND the readers, a break.

But readers will forget about you! Or they’ll be angry and go elsewhere for their content!


If I’m that forgettable, then they should find someone whose posts excite them. If they get angry because I TAKE A REST, then they are no longer my target audience. They may have been at an earlier point in my career, when I bought into the whole “always have content dropping” but my focus has changed, which means the readership changes.

That’s okay.

It’s part of growth and change.

I don’t want to be afraid that my readers will turn on me or away from me. I need to fulfill my purpose and my vision, creatively and professionally. I certainly have enough information out there so people can find my work and can spread the word. And if they don’t like it or want it, then they have the right to go and find other work that speaks to them.

There’s room for everyone, and there’s room for people to try different things. There’s room for people to change and grow differently, and away from each other. That’s all part of it. That’s a good thing.

So I am going to honor holidays and breaks. I am going to honor YOUR holidays and breaks. That way, when we spend time together, it’s because we WANT to, not because we’re on a schedule that doesn’t serve either of us.

Take breaks. Enjoy holidays. Live a varied life!

(P.S. I’m working for the questions for 2023, and hope to post them in early October).

Posted by: devonellington | August 8, 2022

August is for (Blog) Rest

image coourtesy of asmuSe via

For the month of August, this blog is making like a European and taking a break. We all need rest.

It will be back the week after Labor Day (Labor Day is later than usual in the calendar this year, so the blog will return on Septembr 12.

We all deserve rest.

Enjoy your days!

Posted by: devonellington | August 1, 2022

July Wrap Up

image courtesy of Nevena Mikac via

July Wrap Up

August 1 is an important holiday in my personal calendar, and I intend to celebrate.

I’m happy with how July shaped up. I’d hoped for a quiet August, but it’s getting rather busy.

Here’s the wrap:


1 LOI (this is far too low, and I need to get more out in August, and definitely in September);

New editions of 3 Topic Workbooks released;

The launch of LEGERDEMAIN, the serial;

Content Calendar for the three Topic Workbooks created, uploaded & scheduled through September;

Ads for the first 6 episodes of LEGERDEMAIN created, uploaded, and scheduled;

General ads for LEGERDEMAIN created, and used as needed

#31 Prompts uploaded daily across Twitter, Ello, CounterSocial, Tumblr, and Facebook

Visited an old friend I hadn’t seen in more than 10 years

Kept up with script coverages

Kept up with book reviews

Signed up for a Kripalu cooking class

Kept up with Italian lessons on Duolingo

Participated in Word X Word’s World’s Possibly Largest Poem

Did a comparison trial between Asana and Todoist

Went to the Booksale at the Pittsfield Atheneum

Met with local candidates running for office

Found a new doctor for my mom

Kept up with meditation practice, both online and my own daily practice

Took yoga classes both online & in studio

Wrote the first draft of “Inspired By”

Wrote the first draft of “The Little Woman”

Hung up some art

Finished building The Kitchen Island Cart from Hell

Stripped the pine wreath

Attended the Northern Berkshire Artist Meetup

Applied for an artist residency

Llewellyn article for 2024 Almanac

In Process:

Uploading the rest of the first arc of LEGERDEMAIN


Episode-specific ads

Writing the second and third large arcs of LEGLERDEMAIN

Working on the poem for “Poets in Conversation – Landscape” in August

Shakespeare horror story


October mini-vacation cancelled, due to safety concerns (rising Covid & monkeypox numbers)

Unexpected Additions:

Accepted for Poets in Conversations — Landscape


A short story about which I was passionate was rejected for an anthology

Windows 11 causing problems/crashes/freezes every day

I let my daily yoga practice slide too often

October mini-vacation cancelled



Wrote/performed with Word X Word

Stayed on track with the Topic Workbook launches


Posted by: devonellington | July 25, 2022

Make Space for Enjoyment & Celebration

image courtesy of Jill Wellington via

This ties into my Intent for the Week, over on the Ink in My Coffee site. This week’s intention is enjoyment.

The next few weeks are very busy: a flurry of Topic Workbooks re-releasing, and a new one releasing the week after I teach my class. LEGERDEMAIN starts running this week, episodes releasing twice a week for the foreseeable future. I need to finish building the companion website, and start directing traffic to it, and posting fun stuff regularly, to keep it current, grow the audience, and keep the audience engaged. I have a workshop to teach at an online writing conference. I have an almanac article due. Lammas, a big holiday in my personal calendar, is coming up.

If all goes to plan, I get to spend time with a close friend in person this week.

I want to enjoy it all.

I don’t want it to be about crossing items off a list and worrying about the next thing on the list. I want to enjoy everything as it’s happening.

Too often, we don’t allow enjoyment of. . .anything. We’ve been trained to accomplish and then move on. We’re not trained to celebrate until outside sources validate us.

We’re only supposed to celebrate a book release if the publisher throws a party. With the stress of a book coming out, we shouldn’t have to throw our own parties, but there’s no reason we can’t or that we shouldn’t. We should be happy. We should allow ourselves to be happy, and to enjoy our achievements, without always looking to the next thing without acknowledging and celebrating THIS thing.

It’s one of the many social constructs that need changing, and we can start the change by being the change.

Something wonderful happen? Celebrate it?

And when those lemons try to derail your happiness because they don’t take risks/can’t be happy/can’t stand to see anyone else happy, just laugh and shrug it off. Feel sorry for them, because no matter how much they do, they will never be happy, because they haven’t learned how, need that exterior validation, and it will never be enough, even if/when they get it.

Experience pleasure. Allow joy. Give yourself the space for enjoyment. Pause and feel gratitude. Acknowledge accomplishments.

Do this for your own achievements, for anything that makes you proud. It can be cleaning out a closet or baking a cake or writing a book or throwing a pot on the wheel for the first time or the four hundredth time.

Re-train yourself to celebrate your accomplishments.

Celebrate the accomplishments of those around you who are happy or relieved or excited by doing something that matters.

Making space for enjoyment and celebration, for ourselves, and others, is a step toward a more joyful community.

Posted by: devonellington | July 18, 2022

Mon. July 18, 2022: Mid-Month Check-In

image courtesy of Alan9187 via

Mid-Month Check-in July

The month feels like it’s flying by. But, creatively, it feels good.

This is where I am this month:

LOIs – 1 (yes, I’m way behind with that)

Stayed the course with daily Italian lessons on Duolingo

Revised THE GRAVEYARD OF ABANDONED PROJECTS & set it for release

Revised THE COMPLEX ANTAGONIST & set it for release


Scheduled & uploaded the ad campaign for GRAVEYARD & ANTAGONIST through the end of September


Working on the revision of SETTING UP YOUR SUBMISSION SYSTEM

Created a Style Sheet for the Topic Workbooks

Finished the first big arc of The Big Project

Working on the multi-colored draft edit of The Big Project

Created nearly a dozen ads for The Big Project

Kept up with script reading work

Kept up with book review work

Attended the Atheneum Book Sale

Shopped at the Farmers’ Market every Saturday morning

Updated websites

Experimented with Todoist and Asana (so far, prefer Asana)

Online yoga class

Kept steady with my online meditation group

Struggled with computer issues

Made vegetable stock

Finished putting together the Kitchen Island Cart from Hell

Stripped the Yule wreath of pine needles & stored them

Attended the Northern Berkshire Artists MeetUp

Wrote the first draft of “The Little Woman” (one act play)

Wrote the first draft of “Inspired By” (one act play)

Wrote and submitted an artists’ residency application

Dealt with Sense Memory Stress

Posted the #31 Prompts every day across various social media channels

Attended a virtual event with The League of Professional Theatre Women

Worked on the presentation for my class in August

So far, July has been a busy and productive month, especially creatively. And, especially compared to the last few months coming. The writing is shaking loose again, and the flow comes more naturally. Fingers crossed that continues. It feels good. Even when I’m tired by the end of the day, it feels good.

How is your July coming?

Posted by: devonellington | July 11, 2022

Mon. July 11, 2022: Nudging, Noodging, and Prompts

image courtesy of Digdeman via

If you’re following along on social media, the #31Prompts are a thing again this month. They’re scheduled on Twitter to release each day at 11 AM, a new prompt from the 1st through the 31st of July, to get you thinking.

They show up on Facebook, Tumblr, Ello, and CounterSocial whenever I can get them up, but they are going up, every day!

While the prompts are primarily aimed at writers, they can be used in any discipline — there’s no reason you can’t build a painting or a dance or a sculpture around “the bagel has landed.”

On my Ello page, I usually have Friday journal prompts, which are content exclusive to Ello. However, since I”m also posting the #31Prompts, I have paused the Friday journal prompts.

Because there’s a point where too much prompting stops being a nudge, and you become a noodge with all the prompting. It can get overwhelming and stop being fun, even when they are in different arenas.

The point of all the prompts is fun and encouraing creativity, not making it a chore.

In light of that, the Friday Journal Prompts are suspended until August, so that only the #31Prompts nudge, and you don’t feel like I’m a noodge!

Where have you found that too much prompting becomes self-defeating?

Posted by: devonellington | June 27, 2022

Mon. June 27, 2022: Mid-Year Check-in

image courtesy of Peter H. via

We are almost at the halfway point of the year. How are you doing? In general, and in terms of your goals?

Overall, I am in a much better place this year than I was at this point a year ago, both mentally and physically. For that, I am grateful. I feel like I’m healing the tears in my creativity, and I can creatively function again, which had become a problem when I was sick during the pandemic, and then dealing with the move and the aftermath of exhaustion.

Learn One New Thing: I’d picked the one new thing I want to learn this year as Italian, and knew I couldn’t even begin to start that commitment until July. I am investigating various possibilities so I can start the work either the first or second week of July, and carve out a little bit of time 5 days/week to work on it.

I’m learning more than one new thing, because I’m taking time to learn some graphics programs, but I’m happy to learn more than expected!

The short trips have been redefined. Ithaca has been postponed, probably until next summer. The entire reason to go was a pilgrimage to Moosewood. Since they’ve had to close several times due to COVID infections, it means the customers are coming in sick and contaminating the place, and I am not comfortable even dining outside. So I will wait. With numbers rising, I am not comfortable going to Montreal yet, either.  The conference in August is virtual, thank goodness, because I am not comfortable yet attending conferences in person.

We’ve been doing day trips: to Lake George, to the Berkshire Botanical Garden, and we have a few more planned for the summer. There’s a possibility of a couple of nights away in the autumn, provided the virus numbers look good, and we get a place with a kitchen, so we don’t have to worry about dining.

Social interactions. I’m still very cautious. Most people are still masking indoors here, so that’s a plus. I attend art events, usually early in the event, so that I can slip out if it gets crowded. I’m taking my first in-person yoga class in nearly three years tomorrow night, in a studio with strict protocols. The bulk of my social interactions happen at the Farmers’ Market or the library. I wanted to participate with Word X Word, and I am involved in the World’s Largest Poem next month, so I’m meeting that goal!

I realize that it still might not be cautious enough. The only true caution would be continued isolation. Every risk I try to calculate, because I still have to build a life here. If I mis-calculate, I will have to pay the price in illness.

There are still people who are being excommunicated from my universe (mostly virtual, at this point) because they show their true colors and cannot be trusted. But that’s just part of life. People come into your life for a period of time for a reason. Some of them drift away; others need to be removed.

Work. I’ve been doing more radio writing, which I love. I have not pushed hard enough in the content/copywriting, and I have to rev that up in the second half of the year. The script coverage has been too erratic lately, and I don’t want to depend on that income too much.

Mental/physical health. Yoga and meditation. Where I live now is in walking distance from lots of great stuff, so I’m also walking more (and bought a pair of Timberlands to support that). I’m  not yet comfortable enough to go to Kripalu in person, but I hope to do so at some point.

Dreams. I’m starting to allow myself to dream a little again. Most of my dreams are centered around travel, and I have to keep pushing back dates, because I don’t feel comfortable travelling. I’m sure as heck not going to fly yet, with the way the airlines are so cavalier. But allowing myself the dreaming and planning is fun.

Joy. I’ve been afraid to be happy for far too long, afraid I would just get beaten down again. So I’m teaching myself to be happy in the small things: reading on the porch, playing with the cats, spending time at the lake, the farmers’ market, etc. Those have always made me happy, but I’m taking more time to acknowledge and appreciate them.

How are you doing, half-way through the year?

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »