Here’s yet another Behind “The Process” blog, “The Process” being the writing process. I used to teach middle school ELA, and hosted a few writing workshops for younger writers back in the day. And that part of me still desperately wants to tell people how to do things, so here we are. Enjoy!
I talked to an artist on my podcast a few weeks ago. I asked about how much time she needs per session when she paints. She said that she does it in long sessions when she can, but sometimes she only has 20-30 minutes, so she does what she can when she can.
Then today I read an article from Tiny Buddha. It talks about why we don’t do the things that bring us joy, ultimately urging its readers to take 15 minutes a day to do something creative, no excuses. I’m taking the challenge. I absolutely f**king hate short spurts like that, and I hate getting interrupted due to time constraints more, so…
Today I started my 15-minute-a-day challenge. I didn’t have much time anyway, and don’t typically write much on the weekends, so it was a great way to start. Ultimately little steps might not get there as quickly, but they beat no steps. All. Day. Long. So if you’re a writer, you don’t have a lot of time, here’s my advice for short-spurt fiction writing.
I think we’ve covered that pretty well, but just so you don’t get the wrong idea–I’m not saying you can only write 15 minutes then you must stop. I’m saying make yourself do 15 minutes. At the very least. And if that’s all you get, feel good about it. If you do more than 15, feel great about it. But do the 15. You’ll, hopefully, see an overall increase in productivity.
Have a notebook you can write anything in. I actually wrote on the back of mine “SCRIBBLE PAD”. The one I write my WIP in I wrote, you guessed it, “WIP” on the back.
Don’t time yourself just yet. This is for free writing. Free writing is just letting your thoughts out, no worrying about spelling, grammar, punctuation. I think of it as realigning your brain to your hand. I wrote about something that made me mad, something I was worried about, then I started with what I thought I might write about. Then ideas started swirling faster than I could write. Then I switched over to the…
Start the timer…NOW! On this pad you write more formally. Well, I do. Still not overly concerned with how pretty it is. I save that for when I transfer it over to the computer. (If you’re wondering about that part, like how many pages do I write before I move it, why I write by hand and all that, I explain it in other Behind “The Process” blogs.) Use this pad when your brain is locked in and your writing project is all you want to think about. Stop when the time is done. Or, if nothing else needs to be done right away, keep writing. But be happy with the experience wither way.
Free write. Whatever’s on your mind. Then switch gears to your fiction, poetry, creative non-fic, whatever. Start the timer when you get move to your WIP Pad. You might only get two pages. Maybe not even that. But that’s more than you had before today. Keep it up and you’ll eventually have something.
Christopher Tallon writes, podcasts, and…wait a second. Are you actually reading this? High five! Follow me here: