December 6, 2022
Note From Rochelle
Last night my son came home to find his computer had imploded: it didn’t work. Everything he had saved—all 11,000 songs—had gone poof. He was freaked out. The computer is two years old and, as far as he can tell, the machine cannot be salvaged. When we talked about the upside, I learned that he’d backed up everything to his external hard drive AND an old computer. He’d lost 5 songs. That’s it.
The lesson for you writers: back up your writing. Save it every day. Back up your whole computer once a week, either to the cloud or to an external hard drive. If (or when) your computer goes poof, you will be able to rest comfortably.
Today’s tip revisits the 15-minute a day challenge. You CAN write that book next year.
Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach
Got 15 minutes? Write Your Book
By Rochelle Melander
Ten years ago (!), I wrote an article called, “Fifteen Minutes a Day” based on a wonderful idea I found on author Laurie Halse Anderson’s blog. She challenged writers to write fifteen minutes a day (WFMAD). That’s it. There were no additional rules, no word count goals, no projects to complete—just write for fifteen minutes every single day.
I recently worked with a woman who was doing just that: writing her book 15 minutes a day, five days a week. She’s making amazing progress.
Lately, I’ve been working with this idea in my daily life. Here are some of the things I’ve done for 15 minutes a day that have made a huge difference in my life:
If you’d like 2023 to be your most productive year ever, one thing you can do is work on a project for 15 minutes a day. (Attend my workshop, Make This the Most Productive Year Ever class)
Choose a project
You’ll get more traction and see more progress if you work on one project instead of five.
Make a plan
Once a week, take fifteen minutes to plan what you work on during the fifteen-minute chunks. I avoid the blank page like the plague. Instead, before each writing session, I choose what I’ll be writing and do a bit of prewriting so that when the writing time starts, I have some idea what I’m working on.
Schedule the chunks or set a reminder
I know, I know—scheduling fifteen-minute writing sessions seems weird. But I’ve noticed that when I schedule the smallest tasks—like making appointments—they tend to get done. I use Duolingo at about the same time each day, and my phone sends me a reminder when it’s time to practice Spanish. This helps.
Make starting easy
Don’t hunt for the document you’re working on—leave it open and ready. Coach Shawn Achor believes that if we can shave 20 seconds off the beginning of a task, we are more likely to follow through. For me, getting stuff set out means that means
I have a client who has a writing notebook where she tracks her daily work. I color tiny boxes in my bullet journal for every 30 minutes I write. Put stickers on a calendar or check off a reminder on your phone—something to show yourself that you’ve written.
Add it up!
Could this work? If you can write fifteen minutes a day, five times this week, you’ll have written for 75 minutes this week. At the end of the month, you’ll have logged 300 minutes: that’s five hours. By next December, you’ll put in more than 60 hours. Who knows what you can accomplish in fifteen minutes a day!