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 Read the rest of this entry »

September 6, 2013

Falling backwards into success

Posted in challenges, goals, thoughts, time management tagged , , at 10:18 am by z. l. sasnett

The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel. — Steve Furtick

I’ve been doing a lot of non writing reading and research. Productivity tips are my non-fiction bailiwick.

And my weakness.

….more like my kryptonite, actually.

In my trek across the vast internet landscape in search of The Perfect Time Management Technique (so far, nothing beats The Pomodoro Technique but I still try!), I bumble across a lot of different websites. Most are, of course, related to Time Management and Productivity. A few, though, rubbed peripherally against writing, my main passion.

One neatly dissects right across it.

The Writer’s Bucket List.

I have a bucket list. In my bucket list I have all the things I’ve ever wanted to do, all cut out images and notes on separate pages to document how I will achieve them, what my progress is along the way and any sort of notes I come across in my drive to eventually see them done.

But a bucket list devoted entirely to writing?


I signed up for the free ebook and devoured it. The great majority I will be able to do. Some, I’ve already done. Some….really don’t apply to me at all but it’s seriously not an issue to replace with something else writing related that I’d like to do.

What does this have to do with productivity? I’m getting to that, I promise.

One of the things on the list:

34. Re-type your favorite novel.

Writers have heard about doing this particular thing, perhaps on a smaller basis of retyping a paragraph, scene or chapter. But this line item on the Writer’s Bucket List is to retype the whole thing.

I read it, looked at it sideways and shuffled around for weeks before giving up and diving in. I mean, I was stubbing my toe and procrastinating on everything else, what a perfect way to waste more time and hopefully gain some insight in a backward-falling way, right?

Well, yes and no.

I fail on the procrastination end. I have found that by doing my retype first thing in the morning (internet off! no email before I put in my 25 minutes — a neat intersection of procrastination and Pomodoro productivity), my mind is lubricated with more than just coffee and my fingers are now nimble from having shrugged off the veil of grogginess from having just woken up.

In the few weeks I’ve been doing this, and by ‘few weeks’ I really mean two, I have finished two short stories, one novella and made some headway into editing another longer short story.


I can’t even procrastinate right anymore. Or is it that I’m more productive with my procrastination? In any event, I’m sold on this particular tactic. What started out as me believing it really was a waste of time (I mean, how can I better my writing by retyping word for word someone else’s work?) and energy, has given me both.

Added bonus? I get to read one of my favorite novels all over again. Weeeee!

August 22, 2013

Sneaking up right in front of me

Posted in challenges, thoughts, time management tagged , , at 10:37 am by z. l. sasnett

Something that has always managed to happen to me. It’s kind of freaky. I’m sure there’s a universal law relating to it, I’m not sure.

Here’s the pattern.

I spiral downward, fighting and clawing my entire way until I hit bottom.

I bounce for a bit before I get settled.

I start the long climb out.

I don’t get very far before I realize this is a long damn way to climb.

I make a post bitching about it.

My next hand hold to pull up, I emerge into sunlight.

It’s as if my bitching and complaining manages to spur something in me, in my life. No idea. Like jinxing myself but in a good way.

So. What happened? Read the rest of this entry »

June 18, 2013

Well, knock me over…

Posted in challenges, thoughts, writing tagged , , at 2:49 pm by z. l. sasnett

If you want the world to take you seriously, first you have to take yourself seriously. You have to look at your blog as not just a blog but an opportunity to change the world.

And then you have to write as if the whole world is listening. — Jon Morrow

So many different things going on in my life, all of them pretty much ranking as First World Problems, so I won’t bore you with them.

The most pernicious was the complete lack of energy, drive, motivation, brainpower, direction…pick one, pick two and mix and match. It wasn’t there. None of them were.

Six months have passed and I’m starting to see the bright light at the end of the tunnel and I’m almost positive it’s not some train, so I’m able to travel with a little more speed and purpose. I hate when I suffer from depression and don’t realize it until it has passed. Only in looking in my rear view mirror do I realize what happened.

Now it’s daylight and I can see. Read the rest of this entry »

January 13, 2013

New Year, new post – the ‘where to go from here’ edition

Posted in challenges, thoughts, writing at 10:55 am by z. l. sasnett

There is something about a new year. A clean slate. A slash-and-start-anew kind of feeling.

We make promises to ourselves and others. This year will be different! This year I will do all my XYZ on my list and I will be victorious!

For myself, I peter out around February. heh. Good intentions and all that.

Still, there are changes that need to come. I need to exercise more. I need to lose some weight. I’m not miserable and I’m not feeling all lumpy and useless. Changes need to happen, though, for my health, for my happiness. No one else can handle them but me.

I may peter out again, who knows. All I can do is try. They (the experts, whoever they are) say that it takes 21 days? 66 days? Let’s go with a happy medium and say 44 days to create a new habit. That’s 44 days of consistently doing something every day before it moves from the realm of ‘ZOMG I MUST THINK ON THIS OR I’LL NEVER REMEMBER’ to ‘cool, I can do it without much thought at all’.

That’s as good a starting place as anywhere, I think.

Thankfully, I know myself better than to try to do all these HUGE and MONUMENTAL changes all at once. Little steps, little things. And not taking on too much at one time.

One thing is clear. The holiday season, starting from the middle of November through the beginning of the New Year is absolutely the worst in the way of creativity. It’s absolutely the hardest time of the year for me to sit and get any writing done at all. Something I will be reflecting on as I move forward in the new year because it cannot continue. I don’t know if it’s having to adjust my schedule to accommodate, to create a new schedule or learning to draw boundaries, enforce them and stubbornly refuse to let anyone try to renegotiate where my lines rest.

I can assure myself on two vital facts. I will not join a gym and I will not go on a diet. Those two paths are sure, straight paths to failure for me. There are options, small things I can do, when reinforced into habit, which will translate into huge gains on the far end.

After some thought, I’m not going to continue with the ‘thirty days’ meme. The last two questions (because day thirty is ‘tag someone else to answer this’), to be honest, I can’t get excited about and I’m not going to inflict this on someone else either. What would there be for me to say other than ‘meh, no, not really’. Not riveting conversation and so, I leave it at twenty seven answered and draw a line through it as done. It seemed like a good idea at the time when I started it. Maybe later on down the road I will retool the questions to be more interesting and try again. Be the creator/originator of my own writer’s meme!

December 29, 2012

Day Twenty Six of of Thirty (nonconsecutive) Days of Writing the rawr edition

Posted in challenges, thoughts, writing at 10:17 am by z. l. sasnett

Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact. — William James

We’re getting closer to the end of the year. Where did it go? I’ve lost some months in there so if anyone finds them, kindly send them back my way.

I spilled water on my Hello Kitty keyboard and now it won’t work. While this bums me out, it’s not a total loss. I rediscovered an old keyboard to use until I find a replacement and decided I may not replace it after all. It’s an old Dell keyboard from a now long-defunct Dell computer. I love this thing and I can’t really tell you why. It’s the key action, maybe? I like the way it feels and the way it sounds. Almost as soothing as typewriter sounds.

Learning to type on an IBM Selectric does that to an oldie-but-a-goodie like me. That’s something on my wish list. One day, I’ll own one again. Damn, I loved those machines.

It’s Day Twenty Six, dear God will this never eeeeend? Read the rest of this entry »

December 26, 2012

Day Twenty Five of Thirty (nonconsecutive) Days of Writing the Turkey Overload edition

Posted in challenges, thoughts, time management, writing at 12:18 pm by z. l. sasnett

If a man intends to impress someone, his work will not be clear, because he does not intend clarity: he intends to impress. – S. Leonard Rubenstein

As per the above quote? Yeah, know a few people like that. Ol’ Leo there has it right. I feel like I’m at least half-way bright and hard to bore but if you’re making my eyes glaze over? Aim for clarity, plzkthnx.

Well, it’s official. Novembers and Decembers are the least productive months of my year. I get absolutely nothing done. I’m still exhausted from having spun my wheels, though. No idea where that energy has gone. Here it is, the 26th. Last time I remember it was the 11th. Big, fuzzy, hazy gray patch of memory and nothing to show for it.

Next year, I’ll set things up that I start to keep track of my time/activity and see where it’s going. It’s a little late now but I should be set for next year. Time analysis, yo.

Christmas was low key, as it usually is. My cousin and I went in together and bought my mom a 40″ television. It looked fabulous in the candlelight. How does it play? We have no idea. We sat down to watch a movie and the storm that blew through the south yesterday took out our power. We had it on long enough to look at the weather. Talk about timing.

Power finally came on again last night about 10 pm when we all had given up sitting in the dark commenting on how fabulous our TV looked in candlelight and went to bed.

Other than that, some nasty flu got in the house making the mother-unit sick to the point we considered hospitalization if she hadn’t gone to the doctor. It tried to take up with me but I think I caught it early enough to fight it back. Now I just have the tail-end congestion like cotton is packed in my sinuses instead of my brains sliding out of my nose. Going to make sleeping for the next few nights a real pleasure.

I suspect that is were a great deal of my time went. At least for the month of December.

Puppy and kitten and elderly matron dog are still humming right along. Puppy got the last of her puppy shots, kitten is next up on the roster for a vet visit and soon to see about some test for the elderly matron that explains her porking out and her frequent need to go to the bathroom.

Speaking of pets, time for Day Twenty Five! Read the rest of this entry »

October 18, 2012

Day Twenty Three of Thirty (nonconsecutive) Days of Writing the vacation edition, part two

Posted in challenges, thoughts, writing tagged , , at 8:03 pm by z. l. sasnett

No one needs a vacation more than the person who just had one. – unknown

Vacations. Usually last about a week and are about four days longer than I like them to last.

Also, I think I’m just a homebody. Definitely not a jetsetter. Not that I don’t enjoy seeing new places. The travel, I find, is tiresome. And although you’re away from work for the week, hopefully at some restful vacation location, I find that is never really the case. Always some obligation to go ‘see something’ or to go ‘visit someone/family’. Obligation, no matter the form, is not restful for me.

I usually need about two days to recover from my vacation before I feel normal again. That’s why, when I normally take vacations, I sit my butt at home. In the end, it’s far more restful than all the travelling around.

God bless those who can do it. It’s just not for me.

Now for Day Twenty Three! Read the rest of this entry »

October 9, 2012

Day Twenty One of Thirty (nonconsecutive) Days of Writing the boring edition

Posted in challenges, writing tagged at 10:15 am by z. l. sasnett

I think writing is, by definition, an optimistic act. — Michael Cunningham

Yesterday, the kitten ignored me. I think she was mad or something, staying downstairs rather than upstairs where I write and Lucy the Dog usually resides close by. I’m sure Lucy the Dog was rather glad to have a day of respite from the rambunctious yak-footed kitten.

Today, she is full of herself and she and Lucy the Dog were actually playing at one point. Lucy…playing…was kind of cute to witness. Being old, she can’t get energetic but they were playing and she was tolerating the kitten batting at her. The claws, it seemed, stayed in and there was some cute moments.

Mostly things are quiet today. Writing to do, trips to plan.

On to Day Twenty One. Read the rest of this entry »

October 8, 2012

Day Twenty of Thirty (nonconsecutive) Days of Writing the meh edition

Posted in challenges, thoughts, writing tagged at 11:28 am by z. l. sasnett

Where there is no antagonist, you cannot quarrel. – Japanese proverb

Energy is rather low today. I’m sure it will show in the answer to today’s talking point for the thirty days meme.

Part of it is sinus related. When the barametric pressure changes (i.e. it rains), my sinuses give me trouble. Which means I take something for sinus headaches and, no matter the brand, it makes me sleepy.


Still, have too much to do to drop off for a nap right now. So, it’s fighting through the molasses-brain feeling for me!

Day Twenty. Read the rest of this entry »

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