Writers: are you feeling guilty because you're not writing for hours or jotting down thousands of words a day? There's no need. Instead of sweating the details, try 15 Magic Minutes.
You can do anything that advances your writing in those 15 Magic Minutes. I've had days with a heavy teaching schedule, a project deadline, a sick dog to care for and a social event to attend that left me exhausted by 11:00 pm... just about the time when I realized I hadn't given my novel any time.
If I thought I had to write for more than 15 minutes on those days, I'd like to think I'd do it, but I know it's more likely I'd just give up and promise myself I'd get to my novel "soon."
But no matter how tired I was, I knew I could invest 15 minutes of Internet research or mind-mapping plot possibilities.
Before I discovered the magic of a 15 minute commitment, I'd tell myself I couldn't write when I was so busy, that I would do it tomorrow when I had more time. But I never seemed to have any more time the next day. Sound familiar?
Former coaching client and aspiring novelist Eileen Peterson observes, "The thing that amazes me is how much I can get done in only fifteen minutes. Incredible revelations come to me about who my characters really are, what their motivations are, and where the story is going--all within a fifteen-minute session. My novel and essays are getting done in fifteen minutes a day, one day at a time."
Some writers worry that they won't be able to really accomplish much in just 15 minutes. Unfortunately, these are often writers who haven't accomplished anything for weeks, months or longer because they just can't seem to find big blocks of time for writing.
A little something repeated regularly adds up to a whole lot more than what might be a lot of something if you ever got around to it (but never do).
Besides, I'm not suggesting that you never do more than 15 minutes. I'm recommending you commit to no more than 15 minutes a day, four to six days a week. If you work beyond that commitment, fabulous! You can even schedule and reserve a target time beyond the 15-minute commitment. But the commitment needs to be so small that you know you can and will do it every day.
Almost convinced? Here are 10 reasons to keep your writing commitment to 15 Magic Minutes.
Rosanne Bane is the author of Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Solve Writer's Resistance.