Genius Project Update #10

Wow.  I am late getting my October update out.  Usually, the later my update the worse the current month is going; which means that November should have been pretty bad.  But it wasn’t.  I had started this update early in November and then got distracted.  So here is October’s update.  November will follow soon.  I hope.

The beginning of October felt like it was a “one step forward, two steps backward” month. And to be fair, I really didn’t get much writing done. But I managed to put in the time and even though most of it was reading, it’s still priming the pump and getting ready the writing.

It was frustrating, since September had been such a good month in terms of the Genius Project. But I know how I fell off the rails. And it was a simple slip up. I didn’t follow my morning checklist. The first two items on my checklist are to write in my journal and to write a page of script. Instead of following my checklist, I would get on the computer and check Facebook. And I’d get distracted by links and posts and before I knew it, it was time to get ready for work. D-oh!

I read two books during the month: How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams and Rebel Without a Crew by Robert Rodriguez.

Adams’ book really focuses on how setting up your own systems or daily habits are what set you up for success, instead of having lofty goals and trying to motivate yourself to accomplish them. Basic message of his book is “goals are for losers and systems are for winners.” If you have a system that you follow regularly it is more likely to yield results than any activity that requires motivation to move forward. Motivation wanes. It needs to be recharged. It can be unreliable.

My takeaway is that the Genius Project is a system, but I’m still fine-tuning the process so that it runs effectively and becomes a habit. A writer needs to write even when they are unmotivated. It doesn’t have to be good but does have to be done.

Rodriguez’ book was interesting because he charts how he made his movie El Mariachi, which was only intended to be a lesson for himself on how to make a film. It was supposed to be a throw-away activity that no one would see. It turned out to be what catapulted him into his film career. The book is taken from his journals written at the time, so you get a real sense of his amazement as this “throw away” film starts snowballing into something crazy big.

My take away from this book is to try to be aware of the things you are trying to learn while doing a project. Have plan or — gasp! — goal to develop a skill further while working on a project. The idea of “deliberate practice” comes to mind, which is part of the Genius Project as well. Be deliberate in what you are trying to accomplish with each project so that it becomes easier to determine whether it was effective or not. There is always some skill to learn or refine.

You can see by the chart below how much of my time was spent on reading during the month:


I spent 23 hours reading, 6.75 hours writing and 4 hours watching theatre.  I have now completed 872.25 hours and only have 9127.75 hours to go.

It was a month to recharge a bit and re-evaluate the systems that I have in place and trying to fine-tune them so that they are more effective.  I have to spend more time writing.  And I have to be able to do it even when I don’t feel like doing it.  So the work moving forward is to try develop some systems that support and encourage more writing.


© 2015 Peter Gruner

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