Thanksgiving is just around the corner, with Christmas and News Year’s not far behind. This year the holidays bring extra poignancy and stress.

November 18 is the 1-year anniversary of my father’s death. This far this month, I’ve been channeling Dad, wearing his Hallmark shirt and watching sappy-sweet Hallmark movies. I visited him in the Dayton National Cemetery on Veterans Day, talked at him, then had a bit of a cry.

I miss my dad.

I picked up two new clients. One I’d registered for before, but didn’t remember having doing so. Now that I’ve been getting gig alerts from them, I know why I let my account with them expire. Let’s just say that the rates offered hover somewhere between cheap and slavery. This is the same outfit that demanded I write and submit an 800-word article to them for free. I replied that I wouldn’t do that and they offered to bring me onboard anyway. Unless the gig offer improve substantially and soon, I’ll be deleting my account with them.

The second client is a marketing firm that uses Asana and Slack. I loathe such project management applications, but understand their utility and the necessity for them when managing many different small projects and contractors. I haven’t picked up any of the gigs offered yet because, thus far, none appeal to me. That’s the beauty of freelancing: I work on what appeals to me. I’m not forced to work on anything or for anyone I really dislike.

Neither is my preferred type of client. I really like working with indie authors and helping them improve their stories. Getting indie writers, especially authors producing their first manuscripts, to understand the importance of engaging a professional editor remains a challenge. I continue to work on educating them with regard to expectations:

  1. No, your rough draft is not ready for an editor; you should self-edit and revised until it’s as good as you can make it.
  2. No, I will not return a manuscript ready for publishing. You have to revise it. If a lot of revision and rewriting is necessary, it will need another round of editing. (You’ll get better value from your editor if she’s focused on making your story better instead of correcting typos and grammar errors.)
  3. Yes, competent editing is expensive. You get what you pay for.

With the turmoil this year has brought, I suspect many of the writers who used shelter-in-place restrictions to produce their stories also lost much of the disposable income they might have used to get their manuscripts edited.

I have one more art class scheduled before the holiday season begins in earnest. This year, I’ll be gifting some family members with framed artwork. I already gave my elder son, for his birthday, with two pour art paintings that turned out really well. He said he liked them and I said I appreciated the lie. Surely, other family members, too, will politely smile and thank me and discuss among themselves how much they wish I hadn’t–really hadn’t–inflicted my paintings on them.

I’m not nearly as good a painter as I’d like to be.

Other writing remains a hiatus. There have been a couple of small spurts when I added to a manuscript, but nothing sustained. Therefore, there will not be another book coming out this year. Continued dismal sales contributes to the discouragement. I’m starting to wonder if I ought not focus on in-person sales. Book- and author-oriented events don’t really generate much in the way of book sales, but other types of events show a lot of promise. On Saturday, December 12, I’ll be peddling my books at the 9th Annual Christmas Bazaar at St. Clements Hall in Toledo, Ohio. This, of course, assumes the governor doesn’t send us all into lockdown again.

I’m not the only person who will bid 2020 a glad good-bye.