April Challenge of Writing 15 Minutes A Day – No Excuses
I’ve written and self-published two books so far. And I’ve written tons of other stuff that will probably never see the light of day. I’ve managed to do this while working a full-time job, an occasional acting or short film project, and still allocating enough time for videos games, TV, and my girlfriend. How I have managed to have a life and write is, I don’t spend a lot of time writing. I know this seems odd as a professional writer spends most of his or her day writing. But for those of us who don’t write for a living yet still, want to be writers we need to squeeze at least a bit of time each day for the task of putting word to page.
Now, I’ve talked to many people over the years who “are writing a book” or a screenplay or something, yet somehow can never seem to accomplish it because of the lack of time they have. The number one most common excuse is, “I don’t have enough time.” To that I say bullshit! You have the time. What you don’t have is the motivation or perseverance to do it.
For me, I can make the time, what I have difficulty with is motivation and energy. I am an insomniac. I pretty much always have been. I’ve tried drugs such as Ambien which works great but requires a prescription. And it’s not something you can take every night because of the long term impact. FYI – it did not cause me to be a racist. I’ve also tried over the counter sleeping pills, marijuana (it’s legal in Washington State), meditation, fancy pillows, etc. So far, nothing really works.
Great, you might think? Use that time while not sleeping to write. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. Insomniacs want to sleep, we are tired and feel the need to sleep. So having the desire to sit in bed with a laptop, isn’t appealing. Although, I will often use my phone to jot down sentences or ideas in a OneNote that come to me as I’m tossing and turning. Also, bright screens are not good to look at when going to sleep.
What this means is, I wake up more tired than I was when I went to bed. So finding the energy throughout the day to do my day job is difficult, let along doing some writing. But just like musicians practice regularly, athletes exercise, and actors rehearse. Writers must write. We must keep the brain trained and working or else it dissolves into a skull full of useless muck.
My system when I’m writing then is to squeeze in only a few minutes a day. Usually, my process is, go to work, drink a smoothie or eat yogurt, get my tea, clear out emails, then write until I get tired of it. This might only be a few minutes of editing or a few minutes of writing. But that’s my goal 5 days a week. In general, I only achieve that goal 2 or 3 times a week.
So, for April I’ve set a goal of 15 minutes a day 6 days a week. Because if God can take the 7th day off, so can I. And even the busiest of busy people can find a 15-minute block in the day to sit down and write something. I am working on my third book at the moment, a series of short story essays. So most of the month will be on that. But I’m not going to be specific about what I’m writing only that I am doing it for 15 minutes. So, blog posts, movie reviews, stuff like this will be included in what is allowed. What is not allowed will be editing. That can be done outside of the timeframe.
For day one I have now accomplished my goal I began writing this post at 12:01 and am writing these last words at 12:16. exactly 15 minutes.