Sunday, April 30, 2006

Spring Fling and Work

It's spring, and romance writer conferences are in the air! 1) Attended the Desert Dreams conference in Arizona where I had the opportunity to talk with assorted editors and agents. 2) My chapter, Chicago-North RWA, had its Spring Fling conference this weekend. Guests included best selling authors Jennifer Crusie/Bob Mayer, Alesia Holliday, Mary Alice Monroe, agents Nadia Cornier and Nephele Tempest, and editors Margaret Marbury (Red Dress Ink & MIRA) and Rose Hilliard (St. Martins). Speakers offered humor, motivation and practical advice. We had attendees from as far away as Washington state and Florida.

I'd been hearing that the historical market was making a comeback, but the message this weekend seemed to be only sexy historicals.

I still get MANY questions about how I structure and fill my Gainfully Unemployed days. As when I had a day job, I make a list of tasks I need to accomplish on a given day and rank them in order of importance. Then I work my way through the list. Do I have enough to do? Yes. Is it sometimes challenging to stay motivated and disciplined? Yes. But I'd think that even those with bosses looking over their shoulders have days where their to do list is daunting and they'd rather be outside appreciating the weather...

Monday, April 17, 2006

Another day, another movie

Today I'm going to work as an extra again...for a British film shot documentary style. The extras casting director had called for other days but I wasn't available. So she called again yesterday, for this afternoon.

Extras need both a flexible schedule and wardrobe. They also need to be able to carry overstuffed backpacks/garment bags or wheel a suitcase, make their way to the filming location and have lots of stamina. The shoot can go 12 hours or time is 1:30PM, so I could be there until 1:30AM or even later.

I'm going to be an on-camera reporter, and need to bring conservative suits and upscale casual options, plus suitable outerwear. As usual, no red or white or loud prints.

Fortunately the weather is nice, so I shouldn't freeze/boil doing exterior shots.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

How much is enough?

Everyone with a day job has employer-set goals. You need to sell this many widgets, bill this many hours, reach that target, attend these meetings. At the company I worked for, all kinds of goals were handed down from those on high, who presumably put significant analysis and effort into goal setting and measurement.

But the Gainfully Unemployed must make their own goals and schedule. So how much is enough? What tasks do I need to accomplish, how many hours do I need to work each week to feel I've made enough progress? How do I assess that progress? What is a reasonable percentage of the day to spend on pursuits that aren't income producing, such as singing in a choir, volunteering as an adult literacy tutor, judging writing contests or working on committees? How much "time off" do I deserve?

I'm still working on the answers.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Whirlwind Dallas

Zipped down to the Dreamin' in Dallas conference...appx 180 writers gathered to network, enjoy a booksigning and learn about the craft and business of writing romance novels.

Are historicals coming back? Is chicklit in a slump? The grapevine says yes to both, again proving the cyclical nature of the market. Most everyone advises "write the book of your heart," but will that leave you on the cutting edge or behind it?

Met a lot of "newbies," those fresh-faced writers who, no matter their age, have just gotten on the romance writing roller coaster and still have stars in their eyes. Who knows, maybe they will sell as a result of their first editor/agent appointment?