Ten Minutes a Day

Anne C. Miles > Writing > Ten Minutes a Day

So I’ve been working on writing ten minutes a day.  I’m writing book 2 and it’s really slow going. By the time my head gets into the space I need it to be in and I see the movie unroll in my  mind, the ten minutes has turned into 30 minutes. And I need to stop, seriously.

Then I get into the worry zone where I’m afraid I won’t get work done if I write.

Also, there’s a good chance that when I go to write, I won’t write at all. I’ll just futz and fiddle till the time is up without writing anything.

Anyhow, I’m going to make it 15 minutes and at least one sentence, and then pick a time to write, not in the morning because it will throw me off my work day, utterly. But as a reward at the end of the work day. Like at 7 pm. We’ll see how it goes.


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2 thoughts on “Ten Minutes a Day

  1. Boy, can I ever relate to this. I definitely struggle with the time quota versus work quota question.

    I also experience the issue of not being able to actually produce anything or having a lot of difficulty getting started. So the nice thing about the word quota was that it ensured I would actually get something written. It also helped ensure that I wouldn’t just get lost in research with no writing done. If I spent 30 minutes reseaching, I still had just as many words left to write, so I would still research enough to find great stuff and get inspiration, but I’d refrain from going down endless rabbit holes.

    Back when I was actually keeping up with the daily word quota, I was thrilled with the progess I made!

    BUT…huge catch. It was really hard to stick to, especially as I added more and more other projects to my to-do list.

    The quota—500 words per day—was presented as an easy minimum that one should definitely be able to meet. Basically, the vibe and impression I got was kind of like, “It really should be 1,000, but if you can’t do that yet, stick with 500. That’s all we’re asking—a measly 500 words! You’ll still make good progress if you do this every day.”

    Well, here’s the rub: “Just” 500 is a serious feat for me! I assume most of it has to do with the chronic fatigue, because with how people talk about it, it sounds like it really would be a minor, modest goal for the average writer.

    And back when I actually met that goal regularly and made sure to roll it to the next day if I missed anything, it was a significant battle. And this was with fewer demands than I have currently!

    I also had other issues. One was that eating anything tended to mess up my creative juices and mental clarity, so I had to write first and delay eating as long as possible.

    Another was that the time when I had the most physical and mental energy—the first several hours after waking—was also when I had a bunch of immediate demands to start doing stuff for the family. (And the energy thing may seem like a given, but based on what I’ve read from others, it sounds like I likely am experiencing a significant drop as a result of the health issues. It’s a really steep plateau. It’s not just “Oh, I’m kinda tired.” It’s more like, “If I haven’t gotten it done by now, don’t hold your breath it’ll get finished at all today.” Usually the most I’ll get after that first period of the day is very brief second winds, which usually get used for family stuff.

    So I get up in the morning, and I have to either try to do all the family demands and hope I still enough energy to write afterwards, or get up and try to keep them off my back long enough for me to get the writing done. And either way, I can expect to work on an empty stomach for a while, which reduces my physical stamina and can simply get really uncomfortable.

    And that doesn’t even take into account all the other writing work I need to do on a given day!

    So most days I don’t do any of my own writing at all.

    And the thing is, I know people talk about the importance of a daily writing habit, and I’ve noticed benefits for it myself. It keeps me in this state where I get used to creating regularly rather than only working in spurts and potentially getting rusty. It also keeps me current in my own story. If I go long periods without, I’ll end up forgetting things and having to get reorganized and refamiliarized.

    And best of all, it made me feel so happy. I’d be frustrated on my blocked days or days that I churned out stuff that felt subpar, but the majority of the time I would be pleased with my work, and being able to further my story by 500 words a day made me really happy! Things were coming together, and I loved the pace at which the story was moving along.

    I miss that happiness and contentment I felt, especially since it was one of those things where even if I didn’t get much other non-household work done or just generally wasn’t happy with the overall day, I could set aside that and Ms. Workaholic Mode and be contented that I had done enough to actually advance my life.

    Now I’m wondering if I should lower my quota to 250 words daily, or switch to a time limit instead, because with 500, I haven’t been doing it at all anymore.

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