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Fifteen Minutes a Day

Last week I stumbled on a wonderful idea: author Laurie Halse Anderson challenged writers to write fifteen minutes a day (WFMAD). That’s it. There are no additional rules, no word count goals, no projects to complete—just write for fifteen minutes every single day.

I’ve been talking to a number of writers on Twitter about the challenge of finding time to write in the midst of life: working, partnering, parenting, socializing, and doing the chores! When life gets busy, even fifteen minutes can seem like a lot of time. Here are six ways to find fifteen minutes a day to write.

1. First thing. Write first thing in the morning, before you get out of bed. Before you are fully conscious just grab pen and paper and write for fifteen minutes. (Yeah, you may have to set your alarm fifteen or twenty minutes early.)

2. Last thing. Turn in early and write for fifteen minutes before you go to sleep. Instead of depending on your favorite authors to tell you a bedtime story, tell yourself a bedtime story. Just get those thoughts down on paper.

3. Waiting time. Write while you are waiting in the car to pick up your children from school, soccer practice, or a play date. If you don’t have children, write anytime you are forced to wait. You may not get fifteen minutes all at once, but you will be writing more than you do now.

4. Commercial time. DVR your favorite television shows or commit to watching them online. Devote 15 minutes to writing before you allow yourself to catch up with the Real Housewives of wherever.

5. Social media time. Take 15 minutes of the time you are currently using to answer email, connect on Twitter, or chat on Facebook and write. Before you connect, write.

6. Connect to current habits. Tie your writing to something else you already do every day. Write during the first half of your lunch hour or your break at work. Write while you are having a morning snack. Write while you are on the bus or train to work.

There you have it, writers. Six ways you can write more today. Make a commitment to yourself and your work and write for fifteen minutes today.

Your turn. What techniques and tricks have you used to get in your fifteen minutes a day? Add your ideas below.



7 Responses

  1. My day is filled with so much that it often looks impossible for me to write. I have used similar suggestions to write my books—when an idea strikes me I put it on paper. Often throughout the day I would pick up my spiral pad and start writing and some times it would be just a page while other times three lines to a paragraph. The end result was the completion of three baseball books (2 self published and a third now being considered by Octara Publishers in Virginia.) Thank you for offering these 6 ideas for busy writers. My biggest problem when I first started writing was that I think it had to be does like the traditional method where you get in a quiet place, use an outline, and follow a step by step approach.

  2. DasteRoad

    This is the method I consistently used to get to the end of my current novel’s first draft (revision in progress). I worked 8 hours and also had the house to take care of, so writing after dinner like I did as a student was often out of the question. So I wrote every day during my lunch break. Sometimes I wrote a lot, sometimes only a little over a hundred words, sometimes all I did was trying to figure out the next plot points by asking myself questions. But I did write a little each day, and the novel got finished.

    1. writenowcoach

      I like the idea of taking small steps towards finishing the book every single day–even if the step was figuring out the next plot point! This encourages me.

  3. Monique

    I like to use an online counter. I set it for however long I want to write and stop when it goes off. There’s something about rushing against the clock that makes it a competition. I don’t write daily but it’s worked in the past. I’ll do 15 minutes today!

  4. Pingback : Fifteen Minutes a Day Revisited by Rochelle Melander | Write Now Coach! Blog

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