Thursday, March 31, 2005

Thursday, March 31, 2005
Waning Moon
Jupiter Retrograde
Mercury Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde
Sunny and cool

The last day of March. Boy, this year is flying by!

The loss of the moderator for the freelance writing group and the migration of the professional writers from the board are difficult. I relied on that group quite a bit lately, because of my forays into business writing. It’ll take awhile for the new forum to get set up, and I miss the “coffee chatter” about contracts and job leads and ways to set up newsletters, etc. The majority of the people left in the old forum are new to the business, ask questions that have been answered ad nauseum, and it’s becoming a newbie board. So, I need to bow out of that one and just wait for the new one to get set up. One of the things I liked best about it was a strong balance between the freelancers who do this full time and the ones just breaking in to it.

Went for a walk on the beach yesterday. Watched the dogs playing, got more ideas for the characters for the “Dogs on Beach” stories (the first one is up on Emerging Women Writers now).

On impulse, went over to Larchmont to a favorite store; it had a sale, and I bought three shirts and a dress for summer. Drove around a bit, just enjoying the day. I might go back to the beach again today. It’s still a little too cold to sit out there and write, but hopefully, in a few weeks, I’ll be able to do that – take my coffee and my notebook and spend a few hours there. I live close to the beach – why not enjoy it?

Lost was hit and miss for me last night. There was a lot I liked; some I didn’t. Again, I got ahead of the story in the flashback, which was annoying. I was pleased that Jack was finally given something to do which showed his humour, his compassion, and his intelligence. The scenes between Jack, Kate, and Sawyer, used as the B storyline and comic relief tonight, worked beautifully. The A storyline’s walking a tightrope right now. I’m interested to see where it goes.

West Wing was good, although the repetition of Josh advising Santos to do one thing and Santos doing something else, which turns out to be the right thing, has gotten old. The reason Santos hired Josh is because he’s innovative, and the writers haven’t allowed that for this arc. Once or twice makes sense, but it’s happened too often this season. The scene between Josh and Leo, where Josh stood up to pressure from the White House was good and I hope that the next episode and into next season, the writers let Josh fly again.

Time to assess March:

Completed:
Serials
60+ pages Ransagh
Ink in My Potting Soil
Worked on both non-fiction proposals
Worked on the marketing plan
Updated Devon Ellington site (thanks, Colin!)
Worked on Cerridwen’s Cottage Site

In Progress:
Articles
Periwinkle
Library Letters
Copywriting direct mail

Not done:
New short story
Re-read Clear the Slot
Query letters for Elsa’s Sweater
Ink in My Kitchen

More than expected:
Finished Book I of Ransagh
Started Book II of Ransagh
Submitted reprint to new publisher with whom I’d like to work
Sent out at least a dozen job pitches from job boards
PR for music co.
Worked on Quick Sell novella
Started Vince/Annie piece

Disappointments:
Tough time personally
Too much illness
The pulled article and the editor’s snotty response
KIC mag folded
Internet problems
Class cancelled at Valhalla
GCE’s ridiculous, disrespectful machinations
Forum frustrations

Achievements:
Working for friend’s music co.
“Creative Roadmap” reprinted in Celtic Hearts
The slavery argument section of Widow’s Chamber
Llewellyn contracted 2 new articles
Finished Book I of Ransagh
“Dogs on Beach” published by Emerging WomItalicen Writers
Worked on Prospect List
Meeting my glorious fellow writers at the Botanical Garden

Reading:
The House on the Point by Benjamin Hoff. Wonderful tribute to Franklin W. Dixon and the juvenile series fiction I love so much.

The Prize Game by Donald A. Petrie. Interesting look at the privateering side of piracy.

Bread Alone by Judi Hendricks. Lovely, sweet, warm novel.

Spirited Bones by Carolyn Haines. Liked most of it; had a few problems.

Dinner at Antoine’s by Frances Parkinson Keyes. Interesting New Orleans novel by a popular novelist who split her time between New Orleans and Massachusetts. Her life seems very much like the life to which I aspire.

Cooking for Mr. Latte by Amanda Hesser. Charming book with good recipes.

Stations of Solitude by Alice Koller. Had to put it down because the pages dripped with such venom and justification for the venom that I couldn’t stand it.

Death on Beacon Hill by P.B. Ryan. I love this series, and it’s hard to wait a year for each new book to come out! Her research, her detail, her characters, her story – all are terrific.

With an eye towards what did not get done this month, I need to focus more on the business writing and stop dithering. I am nowhere near the financial goals I’ve set for myself, and that’s because I’m dragging my feet on the business writing. To make up for it, I’m taking more theatre work, which leaves me less time for writing, and it becomes a spiral in a direction I don’t want to take. I need to get off my ass and re-read Clear the Slot, do another draft, and start querying. It’s been sitting too long, and it’s cowardice that keeps me from pursuing it. I need to get off my duff with the query letters for the children’s books – it’s inexcusable that I’ve let it slide for three months. I can yap about the need to streamline the query process all I want, but I just need to sit down and do it. Ink in My Kitchen needs to be expanded for all cooking. I cook a great deal, but do not have the time right now for serious recipe experimentation.

At the end of April, I will go back to reassess my GDR and see how I need to refocus.
But for the beginning of April, I need to get off my duff and be smarter in a business sense. I also need to be more aggressive about finishing Periwinkle and figuring out how to build in the Quick Sell Novel – 55,000 extra words is not something to be taken lightly.

Some of the serials need to come to an end at the end of my contract. I’m not sure yet which ones. I have to look at the long view of the stories and see what’s going on. I hate to lose any of them, but I have to stop thinking of it as “losing” them. Once the rights revert back to me, I can rewrite them as novels and market them to print publishers. And I can always start new serials. Four is a huge commitment, and more than is sensible to take on. I don’t regret doing it, but this November will be my second anniversary and I need to think about putting some of them to bed, unless I get another huge bump in subscriptions over the next few months.

I was invited to be part of an editing service. I asked about the money and was told that they didn’t know yet. I made it clear that if the money was not comparable to my regular rates for critiques/coaching, I wouldn’t do it. So what do they do? Send me tests. I sent them back notification that I would hold on to the tests, but, until we talked money, I wasn’t taking them. I don’t have that kind of time to waste.

Booked some dates for Rent in mid-April, which will be fun.

And now, I have to focus on the writing. I have deadlines to meet, and I came across a publication for which I’d like to become a regular contributor. So, I need to figure out the proposal.

And, maybe later, I’ll go to the beach.

Devon
www.devonellingtonwork.com
http://www.keepitcoming.net/widows-chamber.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/tapestry.html
http://keepitcoming.net/angel-hunt.html
http://www.keepitcoming.net/cutthroat-charlotte.html
For a free issue of any of the above serials, click the appropriate link and download.

1 Comments:

At 11:13 AM, Blogger Debra Young said...

Hi, Devon. Just want you to know that reading your journal is such an education for me. Your goal-setting has helped me think more clearly than I have in the past about how to go about creating the freelance writing career I want. You've given me some great ideas about that, and your encouragement toward my writing keeps me from losing confidence. Thank you. May you live long and prosper. d:))

 

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