Take 15 . . .

I’ve been extra busy lately—in good ways, with great things: my business, my part-time day job, my family. . . And though I strive (and mostly succeed) to work on my own writing projects, plus do at least one “author Ev” chore daily, I’m always tempted to give into the feeling that I can’t fit one more thing in and should go watch TV.*

The ongoing struggle is not to find words, but to sit my butt down and get them out on the page.

For the most part though, I’ve learned well not to yield to sloth (unless I really need to which is another post for another day ;)). Not making my own work a priority makes me miserable. Plus, I work hard to not let other people down and to help them achieve their goals—so why wouldn’t I give myself the same treatment?

And in that vein, I was fortunate this month to discover two amazing strategies for getting work done even when you think you have no time.

The first strategy comes from a course I took online through RWA, offered by author Kerri Nelson , called “The Book Factory—Produce Multiple Novels in a Year” (an amazingly practical and inspiring class, by the way. I highly recommend it). It boils down to this: write new words everyday, even if just for 15 minutes. Set the timer and write flat-out, no editing, no breaks, no pausing to think . . .

It’s freakish how effective those fifteen-minute sprints have been for me this month and last. I’ve had NO fiction writing time, yet in January I wrote 18 142 new words.

The second strategy is a bit more specific, but no less powerful. It’s “Plot your novel in 15 minutes or less” by Claudia Suzanne and I came across it at Mayra Calvani‘s blog (Mayra’s Secret Bookcase), a site recommended to me by author and friend Angela Dorsey (Oh, the tangled World Wide Web!).

I don’t usually outline at all, but desperate to not lose a new novel idea that just occurred to me last week, I thought I’d give it a try. I loved it. I now have a very bare bones, yet fantastic 15-point outline that gives me plenty of freedom, but that will guide me through to the story’s end, and (even better!) provide a frame for the book’s synopsis (my least favourite part of novel writing).

Anyway, I’d love to hear how your writing and life is going this month. And if you’re busy and my small suggestions above motivate you to put off your lounge on the couch for even just fifteen minutes, you’re welcome, heh heh.

* Yes, I realize there’s an obvious logic problem there—if I have no time, how can I manage to watch TV? What can I say? I like television . . .

6 thoughts on “Take 15 . . .

  1. That is so cool that the “meet in the middle” technique worked for you! How exciting!

    Kerri Nelson’s tip really has helped me too on those days where all I want to do is procrastinate. I set the timer once and go, and usually in about 10 or 12 minutes, I don’t need it anymore. I keep going without it. And then sometimes, I use it all day! Not this week though. This week has been fabulous. I’ve done so much writing in fact, that my back is seriously protesting today. Time to get a little more active! But then that’s an entirely different topic…


  2. You’re welcome, Jen. 🙂 And not BOOK 3 (I won’t start that ’til I re-finish BOOK 2). It’s a brand new novel you’ve heard nothing about, because I just discovered it myself. Unfortunately, I think it’s the type of book you hate . . . 😀


  3. Yes, it really was exciting, Angela!

    >>>I set the timer once and go, and usually in about 10 or 12 minutes, I don’t need it anymore. I keep going without it. And then sometimes, I use it all day! <<<<

    Yes, my 15 minute stints usually grow to more, but I find that setting the timer, then resetting it (or letting myself have a timed Internet break, then doing another 15 minutes really helps me stay intensely focused. 🙂

    I'm glad to hear you had a great week–hurrah!


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