April 6, 2014

Busy with Five Things (and then some)

Posted in challenges, goals, time management tagged , , , , at 12:05 pm by z. l. sasnett

Well, it’s taken four months but I’ve finally decided on what I will submit to Viable Paradise. It was a hard decision to come to. I have several things I could have submitted but when I looked at them in the cold light of day, measured them against what I hope to gain out of the workshop, I decided those projects weren’t where I wanted to focus.

I love them, of course! I’ll eventually get back to them but they don’t carry the fire I need. They are simply too stale and too caught up in nostalgia for me to be objective about them. If I’m fighting myself on them, the direction I need to go for the story to work versus the direction I want to go because I’m a ninny, it’s not healthy and I really need to back off of them for a bit and get a bit more perspective.

I’m under the gun now. I didn’t make the cut off for the first application fee. The drop dead deadline is June 15 so I have time, but I know myself well enough to know if I count on that, I’ll procrastinate until the last minute. I’m shooting for the next deadline of May 15 for the $35 app fee.

I am really hungry for this.

In other news, a few months back I happened on a post by Scott D. Southard, where he talked about “Five Things I’m Into Right Now”. That struck a chord with me. Since I like writing blogs but find I’m at a loss as to what to write (and not feel like I’m boring the pants off anyone who wonders by, I mean, how much can I talk about the puppy before it gets ooooold), it’s a neat format to use. It forces me to focus on things which is a huge problem for me right now.

So, I’m borrowing it from him. Thanks, Scott! I’m probably doing it wrong but, eh. Whatev.   We’ll see how this goes.

Five Things I’m Into Right Now, April 2014 edition

middle method

1) Write Your Novel From The Middle: A New Approach for Plotters, Pantsers and Everyone in Between by James Scott Bell

This one’s the biggie for me this month. First, standard disclaimer, I’m a huge James Scott Bell fan, especially of his non-fiction work. I stumbled on this while looking for something else on the ‘zon.

One of the frustrating things about writing was my apparent complete lack of ability to understand how to prop up a saggy middle. There are a lot of things written about whipzam beginnings and sizzlepop endings, much about structure in a general sense, hitting all the beats, etc.

For the type of learner I am, I needed something more tangible from advice on how to write the middle section of a book, which usually comprises of the longest section of the book. Flapping hands and saying ‘don’t bore the reader!’, while true and it should be something we work at, wasn’t cutting it for me as advice. Nor was ‘read your favorite books and see how they did it’. I can’t learn by osmosis, I have trouble inferring and reading critically. I get all caught up in the action that I forget to take notes! >_<

JSB gave me a nugget, a small taste on how to approach writing that really resonated with me. I read his technique and was floored by how simple it was and how much sense it made. This was the boost I needed to get my leg over the wall.

I’ve read it through three times since I bought it. Today, I’m reading through it with my notebook and pen handy to make thorough notes. My VP project will be the guinea pig. For the first time in months I’m actually excited to get to the keyboard to write.

Most likely I will be talking about this throughout the month.



2) CorelDRAW Graphics Suite X6

A frivolous purchase, maybe. I’ve always been fascinated by those creative types who can create wonderful graphics. I’ve never had the correct tools to make them and right now I’m limping along with GIMP which is not intuitive at all. Help is no good and the tutorials are equally as confusing. I was willing to throw my money at Adobe but they have moved to a monthly ‘rental’ thing with cloud storage. Sorry, I’m still old school and would like to outright own what I spend my money on in most instances. Especially in this instance, so I sprung for a copy of CorelDraw and I’m getting my feet wet with learning something new.

The hope is for this to pay off for me in many aspects. Designing headers for my various projects, the ability make self-publishing covers for various other projects and being able to support my mother in her cattle herding business.

I found some tutorials and just like with writing, if I devote a small amount of time every day in learning how to use it, I can only grow with my skill set.

It’s a dream of mine to eventually get a degree in graphic design, which is a bit of a far-fetched one since I have no clue what I’m doing. Talk about coming from behind. :/


angus baby

3) Speaking of cows and being behind…I’ve picked up the cattleman course for our state and moving ahead with that once more. I started last year and after much ado and drama here at the house forcing me to set it aside, I’m starting from scratch. It won’t take me long to do it but it does require an investment of time every day. Another Pomodoro slot taken in getting things done for myself every day.



4) Which ties neatly into The Pomorodo Technique. 

I’ve been a huge fan of The Pomodoro Technique for a few years now. It is absolutely the best system I’ve come across to help me stay focused and productive.

They offer a ‘certification’ for Certified Pomodoro Master. I dunno, has a great ring to it.

This used to be free. I suppose it’s grown so much they’ve decided to monetize it. They deserve to get some money for their efforts so I don’t blink at the prices. It is simply the best productivity tool I’ve ever run across. I’ll start saving my pennies to by the book.



5) I’m back to my crocheting againThere was a period of years where I didn’t pick up a hook at all. Skeins and skeins of yarn sat around, looking sad and miserable because they weren’t being used to make creative things. After a few fits and starts, along with getting my crocheting chops back up to speed, I am energized to branch out to the more complicated stuff I was doing before I stopped almost a decade ago.


My creativity, she has exploded. I just hope I can keep it up.

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