Sunday, November 22, 2015

Writing Challenge: Where do I find the time?

I've been pondering this idea for a few years, but those years, being what they were did not allow for a day to myself, or often, even an hour. However, this year, I seem to finally have my crap (generally) together and can focus on writing. At least a mostly. Life is still there. Which brings me to the challenge.

Write fifteen minutes for each hour for one day. I wanted to see how far this would get me. Would I get burnt out? Would life happen and ruin my plans? Perhaps this was the perfect solution to getting my attention span back and improving my focus. I'm so used to multitasking that just sitting and doing one thing for more than a few minutes at time starts to make me edgy. Surely I should be doing something else, there's so much to do, and here I am writing instead of doing those hundreds of other things buzzing around in my head.

November, being deep into NaNoWriMo as we are now, seemed to perfect time to indulge myself in a day of sporadic writing. And so I enjoyed a leisurely morning (because, hey, I'm indulging myself, right?) and was ready to get the day going at 10am.

At 10am I start the laundry, wash the dishes, check my work email and make and eat breakfast with the family.

Then I slink down to my office and write for fifteen minutes, gaining 662 words.

I lose the next forty-five minutes checking my own email, texting and visiting my usual haunts on the internet. That was fast.

Time to write again. 449 words

I'm going to make an apple pie because the kids keep forgetting to put the now soft apples in their lunches. Oh, homemade apple pie! That sounds so good. I reach for my spare bag of flour, and knock a new glass bottle of olive oil off the top shelf. It shatters on the tile, spraying olive oil and tiny glass shards all over my kitchen floor. I spend the next hour and half cleaning oil and glass off my floor. Though I do get the oven preheating. There's something.

Grumble as I write 480 words

Actually make the apple pie, steam clean the tile, clean up the kitchen, put away the now dry dishes and the laundry.

Write 550 words

Take the pie out of the oven, and make up the fifteen minutes I lost when taking too much time to clean up the olive oil the first time around.

Write 349 words

Take a deep breath of the warm apple pie and drive off to visit with family who live seven minutes away. I can totally squeeze this in. But the quick visit turns into hours because: talking. Check the clock when I get home and swear a little.

Write 368 flustered words while thinking of all the make up time that I now have to do.

Play one quick game on my phone

Write 312 words

Damn, time to do my regular writing fifteen minutes again. 457 words

Write and submit content for the December Authors Answer blog posts.

Another make up session 471 words

Take a break and play on my phone for ten minutes, notice time ticking. Grumble again.

Write 315 words

Check work emails again

Write 399 words

Wander the internet. Yawn and realize now it's after 10pm

Write 430 words and call it a night.

Adding up my efforts, I realize I managed to write 5,242 words without any mad scramble during my fifteen minutes (which was interrupted with phone calls and dogs demanding to go out on a couple occasions). I also still managed to do everything non-writing related I wanted to do for the day.

I'm quite happy with how the day went and how much writing I got done. Would I want to do that every day? No. Forty-five minutes goes really fast when you're watching the clock. However, it feels good to know that I can make the time to do it if I really need to.

Good luck to all you seekers of 50K this month! May the words be with you.


  1. That's some smart time management, Jean, and one heck of an accomplishment. Also I'm impressed that you can write so many words in a 15-minute stint. When I'm in full-on drafting mode I set myself a target of 500 words a day, which I sometimes struggle to complete in the hour or so I'm able to sit down for. I'm just a slow writer, I guess.

  2. Hi Jean - that's good exercise too ... getting up and moving around, giving yourself time to think .. and then settling back in .. well done - as you say mind over matter and getting it done ... cheers Hilary

  3. That's an amazing achievement to do so many words over little stints. I have to say I'm the opposite, I have to settle in for a good hour or two to get anything done. But this looks like it works for you - awesome!


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