Thursday, 2 February 2012

11 Reasons Why 10 Minutes Writing Works

If you do nothing else, try to write for 10 minutes a day. Everybody, no matter how busy they are, can find 10 minutes.

1. Grab what time you can for writing - at a bus stop, on a long train journey, while waiting for the kettle to boil.
2. Don't ask permission - "Do you mind if I just nip off and do some writing...?" Go. Become sneaky if you have to.
3. If there are children in the house become doubly sneaky.
4. Lock yourself in the bathroom if desperate. It takes ages for anyone to wonder at how long you're taking.
5. Do not check your email/Facebook/Twitter first. Do the writing.

In your 10 minutes, write like mad. This should be easy because you do your thinking about writing at other times, such as when you're taking the dog for a walk, doing the washing up, or cleaning the floors, on the school run. But if it isn't coming...

6. Anything you write can be made better, so it's worth writing rubbish.
7. If stuck, write description: what your character can see, hear, touch, feel, smell. Where are they? What are they wearing? How do they feel? What are they thinking? It's usually good for a couple of hundred words.
8. You often don't know what you're writing until you've written it. The act of writing unleashes all sorts of imaginative ideas and connections. Don't think, write.

And the reason you're writing 10 minutes every day is because

9. It keeps your story fresh and to the forefront of your brain.
10. Getting started is the hardest part - do 10 minutes, and the next 30 will be easy.
11. Maths. Most people can write about 150-250 words in 10 minutes. Multiply that by days and you should have a first draft completed within a year on just 10 minutes a day.


Sue Ransom said...

So very true! I only ever write in tiny bursts but as long as I have a solid plan it works for me. Ignoring twitter in those little gaps is hard though!

Heather Mitchell said...

Yes, grab the time when you can and I agree we need never apologise. People who work at jobs e.g. in the City, as lawyers, as secretaries, as shop assistants, as gardeners... as, as, the Queen, never as far as I've experienced apologise for what they work at! Taking ourselves seriously as writers is fundamental to our success as writers.
One thing I noticed in NaNoWriMo was that I could easily get 6-800 words written in half-hour "sprints" with writing buddies. 40-50 minutes produced around 1,000. So maybe a 12th reason could be to 'phone a friend' set the timer, or check clock on the right of screen and simply GO. Even for ten minutes that can work. I never did a 10 minute sprint but gather people were getting at least 100 words to play with.
A for instance, last night I wanted to finish putting my plot post-it-notes on the wall. OH watching Discovery Shed. I was worrying he might feel ignored if I go and do my thing while keen. "I'll just be next door," I said. He carried on watching Discovery Shed quite happily, while I Got Something Done - and, to boot, had not sat there with a resentment about watching Discovery Shed in the light of not much else to watch.
There is time - ten minutes can mean 100 words, a tenth of a very short story.

Diane Fordham said...

This is a great idea Sarah. Thanks :-)

Sarah Duncan said...

Sue - oh yes, Twitter is not good for writing in little bursts. But good for you for keeping to the writing.

Heather - you're absolutely right. Why do we feel the need to apologise? I don't know, but we do. (Is this a female thing? I may need to canvas some blokes for their opinion.) Loved your description of Discovery Shed - I think you were quite right to sneak off and not fume. Congrats for getting your story down.

Diane - glad you found it useful.

Philip C James said...

I tried this last night. After a long but productive day I took the laptop to bed for ten minutes writing before slipping into the arms of Morphea. By the time I called a halt I had named three comic characters and written 505 words.


Strictly, five words of the 505 total belong to today's total because the ten minutes ran on just past midnight! Which proves your thesis, I think.

Sarah Duncan said...

Phil - result!