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 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 »

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 5, 2012

Day Eighteen of Thirty (nonconsecutive) Days of Writing the editing edition

Posted in challenges, thoughts, writing tagged , at 7:07 am by z. l. sasnett

I do not like to write – I like to have written. – Gloria Steinem

I have determined that the above quote, with a minor adjustment, fits me perfectly.

I do not like to edit – I like to have edited.

Editing is like pulling teeth with me. It’s not like I can’t see that something needs editing. Looking back on the editing, I know it’s much better for it. Every pass through something illuminates my writing weaknesses, not that it bothers me. I actually enjoy seeing where I need to pay more attention, where things are slap-dash and pasted on in the rush of getting the story down.

The glimmer of jewels are there, beneath the rough surroundings. I can see them.

And when I’m out on the other side, I can look at it and go ‘wow, that really came together!’

Damn but I hate having to get from knowing there’s something there and finally seeing that it’s there.

My biggest concern is that my editing energy starts high at the beginning. It flags around the middle. It completely peeters out at the end. Which does what? Gives me a stellar beginning, an adequate middle and a ‘what-the-shit-is-this-hot-mess’ end.

A couple of tricks get me past that. One is to edit when energy is high and stop when it starts to wane. I can recognize the signs my attention is flagging and I stop there, making a note in the text. Next time, I pick up there and go. Rinse, repeat until I get to the end. For short pieces, I do that twice.

Then, I start at the end and move one paragraph at the time back to the beginning cleaning up any unclear wording and logic flow until I get to the beginning. This, I found, has been the most useful in editing so far. I’ve caught problematic wording, pronoun confusion and even some logic flow issues moving from back to front that I missed the two times I edited top down.

And it’s fun editing end to beginning, oddly enough, considering I’d rather have the kitten climb my bare leg with her razor-sharp claws than to edit.

We all do what we can to make something that is usually not-fun, fun, right?


Now, on to Day Eighteen! 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 »

October 3, 2012

Day Sixteen and Thirty (nonconsecutive) Days of Writing the sex edition

Posted in challenges, thoughts, writing tagged , at 9:58 am by z. l. sasnett

If the writing is honest it cannot be separated from the man who wrote it. – Tennessee Williams

Fall is on the move. It was rather chilly when we woke this morning. Not cool enough to crank up the wood burning stove but enough that I had to put on sleeves.

Although, that’s not saying much. I get cold easily.

Glad to see the cooler weather moving in. It was a dreadfully hot summer. Time for a change. Stay tuned around February when I start complaining about how cold it is and whining about Spring not getting here fast enough. :/

Day Sixteen! 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 »

April 20, 2012

Start of a cycle

Posted in goals, publishing, thoughts, writing tagged , , at 8:15 am by z. l. sasnett

I’d rather be a could-be if I cannot be an are; because a could-be is a maybe who is reaching for a star. I’d rather be a has-been than a might-have-been by far; for a might-have-been has never been, but a has-been was once an are. – Milton Berle

Right. So. Not too long ago I was psyched. I had a purpose for this blog that has seen a few starts and stops and many times of looking at it and wondering what the heck I was doing. Or thought I was doing.

I left ‘social networking’ behind a few years back when I let my fannish LiveJournal go dark. I poked around the edges of the internet and the blogging phenomenon but I didn’t look much more at it. Sure, I had blogs I would visit regularly. Visit people who had Important and Interesting and Relevant-To-The-Times things to say.

Then I started to take writing a little more seriously. I’ve written on and off for the past ten years or so. Nothing stuck and I pecked at it like a hobbyist. There were many false starts under my belt, though nothing really came of it.

Things have cycled around in my life where I’m looking at a perfect opportunity to write and be a Serious Writer. My learning curve was steep (still is!), yet I read everything I could put my hands on. Separating fact from opinion, good opinion from bad has been an exercise in patience and taxing my critical thinking skills.

Amidst the flurry of reading and researching and relearning, some new attitudes have fallen out as well as some new goals. Hence, my post on 4/13.

What does this all mean? 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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