Ten minutes a day, that really is all that is needed for writing success. In fact, I would say that the more time you have, the less productive you may be. I know it can be difficult to juggle work and family demands, I did just that for many years. I had a husband (ex now) who was grumpy if I disappeared into another room, laptop tucked under my arm and, who did not (would not understand) my need to write.
I had a full-time job and a part-time job teaching and I had already taken the first tentative steps towards writing professionally. I also had a disabled mother and as you can imagine, there were times when I had to drop everything to be with her as her health fluctuated up and down. Believe me when I say that I juggled profusely to fit everything in.
This is why I can honestly say, hand on heart, that ten minutes a day will do wonders for your writing. If you are a morning person, get up that little bit earlier and write then. I did my ten minutes during my lunch hour. I would get away from my desk and eat my sandwiches sometimes in the grounds of Salisbury Cathedral. I would spend a few minutes first absorbing the life that moved around me. I soaked up the atmosphere of the ancient building, I relaxed in the beautiful grounds and I would shrug off the stresses of the day. Then, I would write as fast as I could, timing myself to see how many words I could capture.
Were those short paragraphs perfect for publication? No, of course not. Sometimes I even struggled to read my own handwriting.
On rainy days, I used to try to find a quiet corner at work and to blot out the noise of a busy office environment and to let ideas flood through me. Sometimes the words were like a hard knot in my head, at other times they poured in fluidic motion out onto paper and I felt creatively satiated.
The point I am trying to make though is that a mere ten minutes a day of concentrated writing will be enough to train your brain and to make you ultra productive when you need to write. On those days when you sit at home and have hours at your disposal to write, isn’t it typical that those are the times when words do not come? Do you imagine them deliberately resisting your desperate pleas, knowing that the more stressed you become, the less likely that they will appear. Ten minutes of successful writing is worth more than an hour of hair pulling, head scratching and lots of screwed up efforts in the waste-paper bin.
If you find that ideas do not come on demand, write down a few enticing titles the day before, even allow your mind to mull over the words, teasing out new ideas and creating a series of what-if scenarios. Spend your ten minutes writing opening paragraphs to exciting new stories and then the following day, continue to write the next paragraphs and so on. Keep your brain challenged and don’t be afraid to push yourself creatively. If you can find just ten minutes a day to write, you can be successful. You just have to make yourself work at it.
“Image courtesy of [David Castillo Dominici] / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.