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 »

January 21, 2014

2014 New Year’s Resolutions…blahblahblah

Posted in goals, time management, writing tagged at 10:56 am by z. l. sasnett

Nope. Not gonna have them. I’m dreadful with resolutions. I’m even worse with resolutions than I am with goals.

Funny thing about goals. All the self-help gurus talk about getting an accountability partner, post your goals so it’ll hold you responsible or you’ll burn in the hell fires of embarrassment for not reaching your goals. They don’t work for me. I am not easily shamed or embarrassed so that sort of peer pressure falls dead at my feet after having bounced off my head a full velocity.

However, I have something I want. I want it more than I can give words to.

Viable Paradise 2014.

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?

GOLD MINE!

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.

…sigh

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 21, 2013

When writing became the enemy

Posted in goals, time management tagged , at 10:07 am by z. l. sasnett

Ink and paper are sometimes passionate lovers, oftentimes brother and sister, and occasionally mortal enemies. — Terri Guillemets

Re: today’s quote.

Oh yeah. OOOOOHHHH yeah.

I’m in the moral enemies stage right now

Recently, I’ve been on a productivity kick. The reason is pretty obvious, I wasn’t being very productive. In fact, I felt like most of the time I was just spinning my wheels. Sure, I was ‘doing stuff’ but that stuff I was doing wasn’t stuff that was serving me. It was a wildly waste of time by doing stuff in the most ineffecient way possible.

This, understandably, bothers me. I may be lazy but I’m not inefficient!

So for the past two months I’ve done a study of my daily routine and habits. And I uncovered a most regrettable  thing. Read the rest of this entry »

October 17, 2012

Day Twenty Two of Thirty (nonconsecutive) Days of Writing the vacation edition

Posted in goals, thoughts, time management, writing tagged , at 6:26 pm by z. l. sasnett

The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes. – Agatha Christie

Y HALLO THAR INTERNETS!

Long time no see!

Funny how time slips through the fingers when you’re not paying attention. Well, when I’m not paying attention. I put my head down to get some nitty gritty work done, attend to familial obligations and plan for two vacations back-to-back and look what happens. Eight days go by.

Glad I moved to titling my posts during this meme as nonconsecutive. All my balls have fallen out of my juggling pattern and I think a few have rolled under the couch. Someone fetch a broom.

That’s why I really hate to have my schedule impinged upon. I’m a scheduler. I have to be or else I forget stuff. Like birthdays. And when ‘obligations’ take me away from writing, I lose my momentum and it’s hell to get back.

Like now. The last time I updated was last week. It started by a SURPRISE visit into town (which driving time takes about 45 minutes since I live in the ass-end of nowhere). Then I had to take care of a friend’s animals and house sit last minute.

Two more surprise! town visits, then getting ready to go on vacation, driving on the road most of the day Monday, catching up with friends yesterday and today. I’m exhausted and I’m not due to head home until the weekend.

…only to turn around and do it again in another direction, heading out to see my brother. So many lost days of writing. Tis very frustating. And the thing about it? It wasn’t like I was suddenly not feeling my creativity and sat like a lump to stare at the computer.

Oh no. I’m fit-to-bursting with writing energy. I just…can’t…reach…the laptop…from…overhere…. *thud*

Today is the first day I’ve actually had the time to sit down and get anything written. So I wrote a little bit (priorities, you know) and then started this blog post complaining about having no time to write.

It’s still good to see people I know, visit with friends, do things that I like doing. Just kind of hate that it takes me away from the keyboard, at least until our vacation routine settles down.

Whew….Day Twenty Two! Read the rest of this entry »

October 4, 2012

Day Seventeen of Thirty (nonconsecutive) Days of Writing the money edition

Posted in challenges, goals, publishing, thoughts, writing tagged , , at 8:43 am by z. l. sasnett

The cat sat on the mat is not a story. The cat sat on the other cat’s mat is a story. – John le Carre

My poor Lucy the dog. With a rambunctious kitten thundering about (we now refer to her as yak feet), she’s not getting much quality rest. As Lucy is an aging dog, she needs more restful sleep than normal. She suffers through surprise ambushes with graceful aplomb but there are days she has this air of flagging patience.

It doesn’t help that the kitten has now commandeered every fluffy/soft surface in the house. The moment Lucy hobbles toward one, the kitten gets there ahead of her and flops down in the middle of it. If Lucy turns around and heads for another, insta!kitten appearance. Lucy can’t win for trying.

I haven’t talked about the SSP (SuperSecretProject) in a while. So just to touch in: The month of September saw $40 in sales for four titles. I lost momentum publishing missing a week and haven’t had any new sales during that week at all. I note that it takes anywhere from 2-4 days to see a sale once I publish something new.

A few titles just aren’t moving at all. It could be any number of things that are preventing people from picking them up but I’m not going to do anything about it yet, just keep an eye on the trends until I have more information and titles to compare.

For my first month, I can’t sneeze at how I’m doing. I’ve considered upping my production to two a week. I’ll have to see how that goes. The holidays are coming up and those are notoriously bad for me as far as time and familial obligations are concerned.

And here we are at Day Seventeen. Read the rest of this entry »

September 30, 2012

Day Fourteen of Thirty (nonconsecutive) Days of Writing – the tomato method edition

Posted in challenges, goals, thoughts, time management, writing tagged at 7:29 am by z. l. sasnett

“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” – Charles R. Swindoll

So the brainworm that is Spartacus in Space is still wiggling around in my ear. If the imagery didn’t wig me out so much, I might actually find that cute.

It is apropos to how I feel, though. I have other projects I am focusing on now. I have things in the works that I can’t drop for this at the moment and yet it insists I give it some creative mindspace.

Or maybe it’s the kitten currently curled up between my arms on the table while I type this. Kitten!sleeps are contagious. The rain’s not helping either. Nor is my dog’s snoring as she rests beside me. Time to whip out my kitchen timer and wield my Pomodoro Technique with the skill of a writing ninja!

And to make sure I don’t spend an inordinate amount of time dithering about. Or napping.

With that in mind, I’ll kick out Day Fourteen and get to it! Read the rest of this entry »

September 28, 2012

Day Twelve of Thirty (nonconsecutive) Days of Writing – the gaah! edition

Posted in challenges, goals, thoughts, writing tagged , , at 8:43 am by z. l. sasnett

ME, pro. The objectionable case of I. The personal pronoun in English has three cases, the dominative, the objectionable and the oppressive. Each is all three. — Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

Another day of non-events. My mother (and realize I do love her to bits. I do!) was off for three full days. Her being home kind of threw my schedule off.

I get cranky when I allow my schedule to be thrown off.

In other news, editing the next SSP story and I’m behind by two days. I had wanted my formatting and uploading days to be on a set day every week and it gets pushed back by two days, which, again, makes me cranky. I’m a creature of habit and of schedules and when I miss my orderly schedule…yeah, cranky seems to be the word for the week.

I am resolute, however, to keep going with the Thirty (nonconsecutive) Days of Writing!

Day Twelve, two days late. Read the rest of this entry »

September 24, 2012

Day Eight of Thirty Days of Writing…two days later…

Posted in goals, thoughts, writing tagged at 8:09 am by z. l. sasnett

The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe. – Gustave Flaubert

You’d think that I’d be able to recognize the signs by now. I mean, I’ve been in this skin long enough, trapped with my thoughts and thought patterns, and being self-aware of them, that I should recognize the patterns of procrastination in my life. Right?

Yeah. About that. Read the rest of this entry »

September 13, 2012

Day Three of Thirty Days of Writing

Posted in challenges, goals, thoughts tagged at 10:48 pm by z. l. sasnett

A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people. —Thomas Mann

 

Today’s quote is especially poignant for me. Had a pretty dreadful day as far as productivity goes. I was so busy but none of it had to do with writing. *flails*

So I’m a bit late tonight but still under the wire! Had other things to handle and finally got them done. Just in time for me to crash into bed.

But first! At least a short one for Day number three!

3. How do you come up with names, for characters (and for places if you’re writing about fictional places)?

The pat answer: everywhere.

Explanation: Nothing is safe from me taking a name, shuffling around vowels or consonants, mushing two words together. This goes for character names and for fictional places. It helps that I write fantasy and science fiction and can get away with made up places.

I also love Old Testament names. They have a poetry to them that feels timeless.

Really, though. When naming characters, many times they name themselves. By the time I’m writing their story, they’re already fleshed out and I help them along by having a list of names to choose from. It’s rare that I dither around with trying to find a good name for a character.

If I do find I’m stuck, I crack open a book/open a webpage of baby names, write some down that catch my eye and start playing the letter shuffle.

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