I subscribe to a blog called WriteToDone: http://writetodone.com/ and recently read a great post about creative “quickies.” As a mom of three who juggles her writing aspirations along with a part-time business, family responsibilities, volunteer commitments, etcetera, etcetera, this post was speaking to me! I am lucky most days if I have 15-20 minutes to dedicate to my writing projects. Luckily, I am extremely organized and focused, so I usually amaze myself at how much I can get done in this limited amount of time. In her guest post, Cynthia Morris speaks directly to this topic and actually makes me feel like a champion for being able to dedicate even this small amount of time. She even provides advice and strategies about how to be more effective in getting more done in these quick bursts.
This advice and way of thinking was just the encouragement I needed to keep on writing. No matter how little time I have, it is always purposeful if I can put even 10 minutes towards a project. I often beat myself up for not having more time to dedicate to a project, and as a result, get discouraged that I am getting nowhere. This post reminded me that every minute I spend, no matter how limited, is time spent on a craft and passion that fuels me. No matter how short that time may be, it is always well spent.
Thank you, Cynthia, for giving me that reminder (and even a pat on the back for all the creative quickies I manage in a week!). Here are some things I do when taking part in “writing quickies:”
- Have a ritual that kickstarts you into your writing mode. I almost always start with a blog post on my personal blog, an update to friends and family about what’s going on with my team. It loosens up my writing thought process, and because the topic is familiar and non-threatening, I find I can write on almost anything without thinking. It takes me about 10 minutes, which fuels me for another 10-20 minutes of focused writing on my project.
- Celebrate any and all progress. When working on a project, I find I have several tasks beyond the editing and writing of the manuscript. For my current picture book biography, I have lots of research to do. For submissions, I need to craft query letters. All of this takes time and means time I can’t spend “writing.” I have decided to embrace these tasks and “count” them towards my writing time. It makes me feel like I’ve worked towards my overall writing goal and gives me some tangible items that I can check off my list (when I can’t say I’ve completed my manuscript yet, for example!)
- Just write for 15 minutes without stopping. I just let go and put whatever comes into mind on the paper. I don’t worry about editing as I go along. Flow, grammar, spelling – I just let go of it all and simply put my ideas on paper. Sometimes that is all the time I have, which is just fine, because it sets me up for my next creative quickie session where I go back and make sense of what I wrote: putting in structure, adding in character names that I couldn’t think of then, changing sequences. This strategy helps me keep the project moving along, and I often get more accomplished in that short 15-20 minutes than I do when I have an hour or two.