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 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 »

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 »

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 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 »

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 »

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