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!

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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 »

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 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 7, 2012

Day Nineteen of Thirty (nonconsecutive) Days of Writing the rant edition

Posted in challenges, publishing, thoughts, writing tagged , at 9:53 am by z. l. sasnett

Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money. – Jules Renard

Interesting quote today. I certainly wish that were the case these days but it’s not. For as long as I can remember, writing carried with it the same, if not heavier, weight that if you’re doing it, you must automatically want to be doing it for money. If you’re not doing it for the money, clearly you’re deficient in some way. Why not take up an acceptable not-paid hobby like golf or tennis or stamp-collecting or crocheting?

I’ve never understood this mentality. It was especially prevalent during the fanfiction phase I was in. ‘You are such a good writer. You should write original fiction and sell it. You’re wasting your time writing fanfiction.’ That is pretty much what many fanfiction (and original fiction) writers are told when it’s made clear they write because they love it and have no desire to make money doing something they love.

I wonder if tennis players, or golf players, or any sports enthusiast who plays at a hobby level with no designs to become the next Venus Williams or Jack Nicklaus get the same level of grief. ‘Wow, you’re good. You should play professionally!’

You know, maybe they don’t want to. Maybe they’re playing because they love it. Somehow, it’s okay when it’s sports or any handcrafter.

Certainly, I’ve never been told ‘you’re a great crochter. You should try to sell some of your stuff.’ Hell, no matter how good I am, I can’t give my stuff away. There’s a stigma that seems to follow handcraft hobbies that it’s all crap, even though I’ve seen some stunning work put out. If someone tries to sell it, people are appalled at the prices the crafter charges to at least break even on supplies and maybe get some for their time investment, because they have ‘an auntie who does it all the time and sells it for considerably less (or gives it away) ZOMG!’

The urge to bite them is strong. *huff*

Writers? For reasons that are unfathomable to me, seem to get the side-eye when they say ‘nah, I just love to write and I’m not interested in getting published’. I wonder if it has to do with a tangible product in the end. Crafters have a tangible product at the end. They have something you can hold, display, use. Sports enthusiasts do as well. They have their gear, the shape their body is in, time spent being social with friends and family while engaging in their sport of choice. Stamp collectors have their vast collections of stamps to show off.

A writer has electronic words on an electronic page, all created in mostly isolation. When they have a physical book that can be put in physical hands, somehow it becomes more ‘real’ then. Prior to that? It’s a hobby people can’t seem to wrap their head around.

I have to wonder, however, if that isn’t changing now in many respects. As young people are growing up with automatic exposure to the internet, where the electronic exchange of information, goods and services are more commonplace for them, the value of the electronic version of something, a book, a website, a blog, a video has more tangible results for them.

Perceived value of those bodies of work are another rant altogether, so I’ll leave it there and move on to Day Nineteen. Read the rest of this entry »

October 2, 2012

Day Fifteen of Thirty (nonconsecutive) Days of Writing – when kittens attack edition

Posted in challenges, thoughts, writing tagged , at 9:06 am by z. l. sasnett

Coincidence is the word we use when we can’t see the levers and the pulleys. – Emma Bull

Lucy the Dog is having a bad day. It started last night. She’s been pacing ever since, making circuits around and around and around the room. She’s restless and I can’t figure out why. Which is more than just a bit maddening when it cranks up the kitten and the chase by Thunder Paws begins as she galumphs across the floor and back, like a herd of yaks.

How something so small can make such a racket running across a hardwood floor is beyond my ken. But it is of the crazy-making.

Anyway. On to Day Fifteen. Read the rest of this entry »

April 19, 2012

Self-help book of the writing variety

Posted in thoughts, writing tagged , at 11:16 am by z. l. sasnett

A problem cannot be solved at the same level of consciousness that created it. – Albert Einstein

I work very hard at being upbeat. I like to see the positive side of things. If that’s not possible, then to draw my attention away from the negative side and find a nice neutral position to settle into. Rarely will depression take me under, possibly due to the fact that I always strive to not let my wheels get mired in the mud.

Some days, many days — weeks and months, actually — I do just fine. There are many more good days than bad and the bad are never crushingly bad. It’s easy for me to turn a bad day into a good one. Not by blowing sunshine, but because I know how my mind works and how to direct positive-thought flow.

My moments when I stumble, however, hit me fairly hard. I catch myself going into the spiral, see my axle approaching the mud level. Those moments are tough. Not impossible to recover from, but tough.  One of the things I do is read self-help books.

Only, these aren’t your usual self-help books. Read the rest of this entry »

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