ROW80 Update 8-7

It’s been a great week for me. I’m trying out a new schedule. Finally broke down and made myself learn Google Calendar, yep, I’m slow at times but I have to say this is working out well. I set a difficult schedule and tracked myself to find out just how much time I actually use to write, handle home improvements, enjoy family time with the wife and kids and, of course, the dreaded day job and sleep.

Well, I found out and while the results were not quite what I wanted, I did set the schedule as a stress test so I count it as a success. I was able to get two dedicated blocks of time with my daughters, the bathroom is painted and the wife and I will put the final touches on it today and went to the day job, but then they don’t pay me if I don’t go.

On the writing side I was able to get a good view of exactly how I’m spending my time, the places where I can improve, and the places where I need to reduce my commitments.

One of the things I’ve learned from taking Bob Mayer’s Write It Forward class is the need for Standard Operating Procedures. How do we handle the general tasks that we do? What has priority? How do we protect our priorities from all the other things that want to intrude and steal away our time? Well we do all that by writing down our priorities, giving them precedence and being consistent in our commitment to accomplishing them.

An interesting post I read this week by Kait Nolan held a key that meshed well with this. The post was titled Efficiency 101: The Power of “No”. Even though it may be painful at times, none of us can do everything and without the power of “No” it is easy to overextend and frustrate ourselves. Our goodwill and eagerness can be detrimental to achieving our goals if not managed properly.

So I’ll be adjusting the schedule I set last week and continue to study it through the next several weeks, fine tuning it, downsizing some things that are beyond my ability to maintain and getting my efforts focused on the things that will move me towards my ultimate goals.

Here is how my ROW80 goals went this week.

  • Added 4258 words to the WIP. I am currently focused on harvesting all the great information from the dozens of craft books I’ve read into my personal novel design system. It is going well at this point. In the end, this document will be my initial Standard Operating Procedure for developing and plotting novels. This is also allowing me to brush up on all the great concepts I’ve learned over the past year.
  • I am on a 7 day streak on 750words (typing this on there right now) and am still in the August Challenge.
  • I am now on page 184 of Nancy Kress’ Characters, Emotion and Viewpoint and should be finishing the book this afternoon. If you haven’t read this one yet, it is fantastic, read it.
  • All good on the Treadmill. I just finished walk three for the week and am feeling great.
  • No new posts queued this week but I did write a guest post that will be appearing later this week on Manon Eileen’s site. Stay tuned.

That’s it for this week. Hope all of you are doing well.

Peaceful Journeys!

About Gene Lempp

Gene Lempp is a writer blending elements of alternate history, the paranormal, fantasy, science fiction and horror for dark and delicious fun. He unearths stories by digging into history, archeology, myth and fable in his Designing from Bones blog series. β€œOnly the moment is eternal and in a moment, everything will change,” sums the heart of his philosophy. You can find Gene at his Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, WANATribe, Google+, Pinterest and StumbleUpon.
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24 Responses to ROW80 Update 8-7

  1. Jenny Hansen says:


    Your updates cheer me up EVERY single week! Especially for weekends like this one when I don’t get a blog up for it, it really helps me stay motivated. THANK YOU!

  2. Em says:

    Sounds like you are going great guns and I can relate to the need for some kind of schedule. Even though I am on holiday so not having to work around the day job I keep having to work out my writing slot for the next day (hence getting up earlier today to get it done!).

    Have a great week and I will definately look out for the Nancy Kress book, thanks for the tip.

    • Gene Lempp says:

      I am getting more done with a set schedule than I was before (partly determination and partly the good graces of my family). That’s great that you are specifying time to write and sticking with it. Kudos!

      Have a great week πŸ™‚

  3. kerrymeacham says:

    It’s interesting to see your progress Gane, er Gene. πŸ˜‰ I’m definitely going to do Bob’s next class after seeing the impact it’s had on your prioritization of work. Pretty inspiring bro. Off to do my check-in now. I’ll talk to you later, and have an awesome Sunday.

    • Gene Lempp says:

      Thanks, Kerry πŸ™‚

      The class is incredible. The things I’ve learned through it, the insights, both personally and professionally, and the changes I’m inspired to make in order to achieve my goals is beyond comprehension. It is just that good.

  4. Katy Bennett says:

    Great work, seems like you’re getting a good balance in all areas of your life. I’m hoping the current novel I’m working on will help me devise a better way of working for the next project.

    • Gene Lempp says:

      Small steps become long journeys. Record the steps you take in your current project as you go. This way nothing is forgotten and you’ll have a good over view that can be tweaked. All the best πŸ™‚

  5. L.S. Engler says:

    It’s good to see that someone’s doing well with being scheduled and orderly to counteract and balance my complete and utter failure of it this week. I’m always envious of people with the ability to schedule; everything’s far too chaotic for me right now for it to ever work, no matter how hard I try. It sounds like it’s been working great for you, too, so keep it up! One day, the balance will arrive for me, so it’s good to have people to look to to inspire me for whenever that does manage to come around.

    • Gene Lempp says:

      It can be difficult at time, trust me, I don’t accomplish everything I set out to each week. Twenty-four hours is never enough and then the “sleep thing” interferes.

      Nothing is static. “Only the moment seems eternal and in a moment everything will change.” (my quote). The only question is generally, how long we allow ourselves to stay in that moment.

      Hope this coming week is better for you πŸ™‚

  6. Stacy Green says:

    Your updates are always inspiring. I admire you being so diligent not only about your writing but with family time as well. Good for you. I wish I could be that organized, but I’m working out a system of my own that seems to be helping.

    Great job, Gene!

  7. Very inspiring, Gene. I found Kait’s post very thought-provoking as well. I’ve been trying to fine-tune the schedule, with the usual ups and downs. I love the document for SOP that you are compiling *scribbling on the to-do list*

    Great job on finding the balance, and thank you for the inspiration and tips.

  8. wosushi says:

    Love your updates. I love that you give your writing attention but do so without shirking the important things in life. It can be done!

    • Gene Lempp says:

      Stacy: Any system is better then no system. I guess you could call be a reforming procrastinator. I’ve spent years being disorganized and not getting very far as a result, so change was required. I’ll admit this hasn’t been easy and some days I just want to bang my head on something hard but it is starting to pay off and I’m seeing the results of the effort. All the best to you πŸ™‚

      Nancy: Nothing ever comes easy does it. Not sure I’ve found the right balance yet, but I do know I’m getting far more accomplished then ever before. Bob Mayer has great suggestions (and reasons) for SOP’s in Write It Forward. Not a pitch, just a fact. Have a great week πŸ™‚

      Amber: One day I’m going to ask you where “Wosushi” comes from. Balance is the key, at least for me. I have friends that thrive in the spontaneity of chaos but they don’t get much accomplished beyond staying “busy” all the time. Yes, it can be done, with personal thought and action. Have a great week πŸ™‚

  9. jamilajamison says:

    Gene, I love the idea of utilizing google calendar to figure out your scheduling and time slots — definitely a great way to hold yourself accountable. Glad to hear that things are going well, and that you’re still in the running for the 750words August challenge. Every time I think about slacking off and not writing, I remember the Wall of Shame and it kicks me into gear. :p

    • Gene Lempp says:

      Google Calendar has worked out very well. The best thing is that it emails me every single item I put on it in advance. As I put my top priorities as day tasks and the rest starting at midnight, by 6 am I have everything sitting in my email staring back at me. They stay unread until they are completed so that I am constantly reminded and can watch the list shrink as the day goes on.
      Right with you on 750words, I will not be on the Wall of Shame!

  10. Gene,
    I still get a laugh everytime I read about the wall of shame!

    Click to access Tyranny-of-the-Urgent.pdf

    This is a piece I read a few years ago, and it deals with the issues you mention. Now it’s presented around Christian themes, but even if one doesn’t hold to that set of beliefs, it can still be useful. It’s entitled, The Tyranny Of The Urgent, and reminds us that if we’re not careful, we can let the urgent crowd out the important. It encourages the reader to determine what the important is, and make it a priority! You seem to have a great system in place already, but for someone looking to read something inspirational (if they’re battling with time issues and don’t mind the Christian perspective) it may be the fire under their ….ahem…bums.

    I don’t have a more secular reference on hand, but I’m sure there are plenty! Hopefully, someone will have just the link to post. Have a great week! ~ Nadja

  11. Fanfreakintastic job on all that you’ve accomplished this week! Seriously – wow!! Way to go πŸ™‚

    And kudos to you for taking the time out to see where you can balance your time. I think I used a pie chart a few months ago, and divided it into 24 hours and filled it in, and was amazed to find out that I could afford more time for writing. Not sure what I was doing for some of that time, but it wasn’t being used productively.

    I hope this week is just as stellar for you, and congrats on getting that bathroom painted! πŸ™‚

    • Gene Lempp says:

      It is truly amazing how much can be learned by studying our own habits. Our bathroom looks a lot better now but still lots of work to do before its completely finished.

      Have a great week, Marie!

  12. Good luck with all your goals!! I’m still trying to get my head on straight from SCBWI LA, so that will definitely impact mine!

  13. alberta ross says:

    I have an inbuilt instinct to avoid schedules but listening to everyone I have met up here in cyberspace I am wondering if life would be easier! Sounds like you have had a good week – all the best for this

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