I always thought that I needed hours to write something worthwhile. A block of four to eight hours of uninterrupted time that I could sit at my desk and just write. I could work on my essays, or blog posts or my novel and get a lot accomplished and feel good about it.
Since I started seriously writing my blog I’ve been shooting for writing an hour a day. I usually try to write in the morning when I get up, but for the last couple of weeks I haven’t been successful. Life has been getting in the way and I have lost touch of my goal. I haven’t been writing as much as I would like and was bummed out about it. I was wondering what I could do differently. I read in someone’s blog (I apologize to whoever’s blog I read — please let me know and I will give you the credit you deserve) and I don’t remember that whole story (again I am sorry) where this guy wrote for a certain amount of time in his car after work every day. No matter what. Guess what? He wrote a novel.
Why can’t this work for me, too? Not the writing after work part, but the grabbing time part. So the last couple of weeks I’ve been grabbing bits of time to write. Seven minutes while I’m waiting in the drive thru at Walgreen’s to pick up my husband’s prescriptions. Fifteen minutes while I’m waiting for the doctor’s nurse to call my name.
My favorite bit of time to steal is my last ten minute break at 8 p.m. at work. I use this break to write about whatever is swimming around in my head. I take notes while I’m working so I don’t forgot (easily done at my age) what I want to write about at my last break. For some reason work is the place where I have the most ideas swimming around in my head and the least time to deal with them. I think it’s probably because I shouldn’t be writing at work…..I should be working.
I grab time in other ways. Two weeks ago while I was driving to the campground a ton of ideas came to me so I took twenty minutes before I went inside the store to shop and wrote notes for the essay I was working on and wrote part of a blog post and wrote a sentence or two on a couple of pages. I keep a notebook in my truck just for these occasions. Last Friday I spent twenty minutes in the parking lot after my acupuncture appointment writing two scenes for my novel that I thought of while I was laying down. Usually I take a nap, but not last Friday. I even thought ringing the buzzer so I could cut my appointment short so I could write. I didn’t, but I thought about it.
When I first started grabbing bits of time I didn’t think it would matter. I didn’t think that ten minutes or a half hour would be productive, but how wrong I was. I write a lot more than I thought I would. I even started a notebook to keep track of things I am working on.
I would like to think I am more organized although I’m still working on this. When I write partial blog posts I put my notes in a folder and when I’m ready to write the full post I grab my notes and I’m good to go. When I write notes for an essay I usually try to revise my essay that same day so I don’t lost my thought process. When I’m done I have a revised essay and feel good about it.
I feel I’m writing more and getting more accomplished. I feel I’m writing better because (even if it’s only ten or fifteen minutes) I’m giving myself time to do what I love. I feel I’m more in tune with myself and my writing. Ideas flow more freely because they now have an outlet.
I’ve learned that I don’t need a block of time to make my writing dreams happen. That’s just not realistic in my life.
And besides…..a lot can happen in fifteen minutes.