My ROW80 Role Models

Over the last few weeks as people have been decompressing their Round 3 achievements or opportunities, and preparing for Round 4, it seemed I was not the only one who felt they fell short of what they wanted to accomplish.  I believe the phrase Gene used was “Chaos happens.”

Even our fearless founding leader, Kait, struggled with balancing the day job and the writing – though the outcome for her word count was tremendous and she deserves a medal!

So while I thought I was a big slacker niblet noob (yah, I’m owning that phrase), turns out, I wasn’t alone!  Many of you, through Facebook and my blog, shared your own “chaos theories” and barriers that made round 3 not as momentous as we all would have liked.  But in keeping with last week’s theme, it’s all about the learning lessons.  

So I’m challenging myself to do things differently for Round 4.

The definition of stupidity is trying the same thing over and over, expecting different results.

I’ve never claimed the title Stupid.  Disgustingly and annoyingly persistent perhaps, but I’ve synonymed it:  Perseverance!  And I’m also really good at taking  liberty with parts of speech, like say turning a noun into a verb!  See my talent abound!

Ok, back to ROW80!  I am a people person.  I am inspired by people – things they say, questions they ask, stories they share.  Many of us are in ROW80 because we have a support system here where people will empathize with us through the hard times and scream and cheer with us through the good ones!  Since this round is going to be a much smaller set of goals for me, I want to use my time to highlight MORE OF YOU! 

Every week, I’m going to call out a Role Model of ROW80!  And this week’s winners of Fame and (no) Fortune are Kait Nolan and Gene Lempp.  You can read their specific ROW posts by clicking the links at the top of this post, but these will take you to their blogs as well!  Kait and Gene are both honest and incredibly helpful individuals who dedicate as much time to their writing as is humanely possible.  But both know that life does get in the way.  I’m really psyched for the two of them and their new strategies to accomplish their Round 4 goals.

For me, they gave two big takeaways that will help me set my goals:

  1. Writing everyday is not realistic for us all.
  2. When you know “Life” is going to drop you into an Indiana Jones movie set and watch you run, set small, achievable goals. 

*applause, applause*

Thank you Kait and Gene for those stellar bits of advice!  I was racking my brain trying to discern how I would tackle writing every day or setting big goals for ROW when I’m working 12+ hour days, and will be throughout the holidays.  The writing plan that works best for me now is maximizing my precious days off to work on writing and crank out the: blog posts, plotting, journaling, WIP – whatever needs to get out.

As an example, Kait set a goal for herself to write 2/3rds of the days of the month (or 20 out of 30 days) which allots her days of guilt free reality check happiness, yet also demonstrates she’s a lean, mean (not really) writing machine!

What I expect Kait does 10 out of 30 days of the month.
(image courtesy Mrs. Inman – Creative Commons)

And Gene shared that he combats life interruptions by breaking his goals down into weekly goals, and then into tiny bite size daily goals.  He’s able to keep ongoing track of his accomplishments and opportunities and adjust as needed.

That fact alone is why you all need to be friends with Gene.  He is excellent at calming the jittery, wide-eyed faces of a writer in meltdown.  I shall now refer to him in all future posts as Gene Lempp, The Writer Whisperer.

Yah, he’s like that cool.
(image courtesy Mrs. Inman – Creative Commons)

So, taking what I learned from this week’s Role Models of ROW, I shall create a weekly plan of what I want to accomplish but give myself the wiggle room to know it may not happen every day.  Which reminds me of something else Gene taught me, and has since become the mantra for my life – See what I mean…The Writer Whisperer!  Gene reminds me from time to time that I may not be moving as fast as I’d like to, but I am still moving forward.  One day at a time, right?!

This week:  

  • Read one chapter of Stephen King’s On Writing
  • Finish reading Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer – prepare to discuss with Great New Books
  • Journal something – I have a lot to get off my mind and this process helps.
  • Blog ahead 3 posts. 


Your turn!  What are the big takeaways you’re implementing this ROW80 round?  Who’s been a role model for you?  Please share a link for that person, I’d love to meet them!  What are the focuses this week on your goal list?

29 responses

  1. Love it. Very positive Jess. You’re right about round 3. There were so many people who had a rough go that round but it’s a new round. That means anything goes 🙂 Good luck!

    1. Thank you Ryan! It is a new round, so here’s hoping I can “Rock the ROW” these next few months! Good luck on your own to do list!

  2. Love this idea of focusing on somebody you learned something from. I think this is a great way to share new ideas and expose folks to methods and tactics they maybe haven’t thought about before. Well done!

    1. Hello fabulous leader! Thank you for always sharing honest words with us about the writing process. I’m so excited for you and the new release and your project process – whether that’s settling in to a new house or a new scene in your book! I’m so thrilled I met you, Kait! We must google chat again soon!

  3. Brilliant idea – it’s def. what this group is about helping,inspiring and comforting – strange how many had ‘bad’ round 3s – can we blame the weather , lets blame the weather:)

    1. I’m all for it, let’s blame the weather!

  4. That does it. I need to get on board with all you ROWers. I’ve always been terrified, but reading Kait & Gene’s posts recently made me realize it is okay to be honest about what I’m going through as a writer.

    And why go it alone?

    Isn’t that the point of these kinds of accountability groups? Gene sent me the nicest email yesterday in response to something I’d written on his blog — thus proving, yet again, that Gene Lempp is one of the most wonderful people in the blogosphere. I hope to meet him in real life one day and give him a big hug.

    Great post, Jess.

    So how do I sign up?

    Do I contact Kait?

    1. *waves to Renee*

      Joining ROW is easy.
      1. Decide on a few simple goals. Writing or related that you want to achieve by the end of the round (basically the end of 2012).
      2. Write a brief post stating and “publically-declaring” them and post it on your site. Doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just put it out there.
      3. Link your post URL (not your home) on the ROW80 Linky Tools. Linkage ->

      And here is the link to the ROW blog ->

    2. Woohoo!!! *balloons, streamers, loud kazoo noises!*

      Renee, you can jump in any time! I will email you the site link (only cause I’m writing from my phone now and can’t link it this way). At the site you can get all the questions you might possibly have answered. It is there also that every Sun. and Wed. Kait hosts the linky tool so we can all share our updates and spread the love. (And if you’re already worried, I only update on wed. because that’s all I have time for now.) It really is the writing plan that knows you have a life.

      So come on in girl, the waters fine!

      P.S. It’s easier to spy on Gene too! 😉 LOL

    3. Welcome, Renee! You’ll be a welcome addition to our ROW80 community.

      1. Hi Julie. I still don’t really know how to do this. I’m waiting on an email. Is there a page I can go to for info? I don’t want to screw up already. Or commit to something I can’t really follow through with.

        1. Here you go: I think the instructions are there. If not, try the Blog tab and scroll to the “State Your Intent” post.

    4. I’m with Gene – just do it! We’d love to have you. 🙂

  5. That picture is beautiful! Love the “Writer Whisperer”, which gives me some interesting (as you might imagine) ideas. I’m with Kait, this is a wonderful idea that shows the strength of the ROW community. We all struggle; why do it alone? As Kait pointed out in a recent post, we can’t allow a moment of failure or indecision to steal an entire day from us. Give a shrug, dust off and keep moving forward. It’s the only way.

    Excellent goals, Jess. I may have to consider the “writing ahead blog posts” as my current method doesn’t seem to be working out that well. Good suggestion, thanks 🙂

    1. Today’s plan is to blog ahead! I’ll be thinking of you and wishing you the same success.

      Thanks for being the coolest writer whisperer I know!

  6. My mantra this round… flexibility with focus. I love the idea of writing each day (as King emphasizes in On Writing, which I loved), but it just doesn’t work for my life. And striving for it often left me feeling like a failure (even if I wrote six days in one week).

    I’m cheering for you for a great Round 4!!

    1. Tia, I totally get that. And why stick to a program that causes you to feel guilty or negative about one day when you had 6 successful ones?

      You know what I did for awhile and then lost the habit? I started keeping a writing journal where I had to document something new that I learned, any Aha! moments, successful writing days, etc. I liked it because it would be proof (to myself) that I was learning, trying, and accomplishing my goals however or whatever pace they may be at. Give it a try if it helps!

  7. I’m wishing us all a great round 4 – I agree with def. of Gene and Kait but hush we may make them big headed:) all the best for this week:)

  8. Love your attitude, Jess! (And I did pause at the verb “synonymed.” LOL.) Doing the best you can sounds like a beautiful plan to me! We’re here cheering you on, girlfriend. Down here in Texas, it sounds a lot like “yee-haw!”

    1. LOL. I like learning Texan from you! You’re the best, Julie! Easily another Role Model Nominee!!!

  9. Great idea, although it’s difficult to pin down a single role model. I get enthused by everyone who gets up and does something everyday, whether it’s writing, reading, learning, and deals with life on top of it. Mothers inspire so much. How they deal with every need of others, while maintaining any kind of personal time to write amazes me all the time. You are so right about Gene and Kait though, who have both been a source of reason and support on many an occasion.

    That being said, I love this post Jess… so I choose you as the role model of the week for me 🙂


    1. Whoops, don’t know how I missed your comment, Shah. Thanks for the compliment and also being a ROW cheerleader! Yours is a name I frequently see supporting others on the Facebook page. Thank you for that!

  10. That picture for “Gene Lempp, The Writer Whisperer” is just fantastic!! You know he’s well over six feet tall and sounds like Barry White, right?

    Fabulous post that made me smile, Jess!!

    1. Well, if he doesn’t come to DFW next summer in the leotard, I may not recognize him.

      Course, I’ll know him by the overwhelming calm breeze that wafts through the room and hushes all the character voices in our heads… 😉

  11. […] also loving what I noticed past sponsor Jess Witkins is doing this round, highlighting her ROW80 Rolemodels and talking about what she’s learned from them.   Because this is one of the other big […]

  12. Love this post! I love that ROW80 knows we have lives. I keep finding things to add into mine. LOL.

    1. Lol. I hear ya! There’s always so much to do and try!!!

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