Write whenever you can (written in ten minutes)

“We often overestimate what we can accomplish in a day and underestimate what we can accomplish in ten minutes.” – Bill Gates (paraphrased)

I had to write a blog, but I didn’t want to. So I set a timer for 10 minutes and I started typing. This is what I got (I spent an extra two minutes proofreading).

We often treat writing like some big, sacred ritual. People say, “Oh, if I can’t sit down at a desk for 2 uninterrupted hours (or whatever), it’s just not worth doing.” This is just an advanced form of procrastination.

“A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.” EB White.

No matter what excuse I use, you use, there are dozens of prolific authors who were poorer, busier, and who had more kids than we did. If they can do it, so can we.

So if you’re stuck, if you’re afraid, set a timer for ten minutes. Just ten. Save what you write in a database like Evernote, or even just a word document, you’ll be surprised what you use later (I made liberal use of my quotes file to finish this post). It’s better to be the writer who writes a little every day than the writer who writes tons and tons on very rare occasions.

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6 comments

  1. This is excellent advice. I’m a writer, and when people ask me how I get it done with a day-job, I tell them it’s about setting goals that aren’t overwhelming. Don’t tell yourself you’re going to spend 4 hours writing this Sunday. Tell yourself you’re going to write for 20 minutes (or 10!), and you get a cookie when you’re done. And if you feel like you want to keep going, awesome. But don’t expect that of yourself. My current 100+ word manuscript has been largely written in intervals of 20-30 minutes.

    1. How right you are. I find that people who follow this advice do better, and that they all came to this advice in a different way. How did you figure this out?

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