10 Ways to Find 10 Minutes to Write

By Ali Hale

How long do you need to write? We often think it’s not worth sitting down and starting a piece unless we have a whole afternoon clear – but even finding a spare hour can sometimes seem impossible.

Try thinking differently about the time you need to write: one ten-minute session, six days a week, adds up to an hour. That could be a blog post, a scene of a novel, a poem, the outline of a new book proposal…

Here’s ten ways to find at least ten minutes to write, ways you can reclaim annoying “lost” time and put it to good use. However busy you are, you can manage one of these today:

1. Write first thing in the morning

Create an extra ten minutes in your day by setting your alarm early: get up, grab your notebook (or switch on your laptop) and sneak in ten minutes of writing while everyone else is still asleep.

2. Write on the train

If you get the train (or bus, or tube) to work or school, write on the way. Some trains and coaches have power sockets for your laptop, but all you really need is a pad of paper and a pen.

3. Write while you’re standing in line

Next time you get stuck in a long line at the post office or bank, whip out your notebook and start scribbling down a few ideas for your next piece of writing.

4. Write during a coffee break

Your coffee break (or morning break at school) can be a great way to find ten spare minutes. If you’ve got access to a computer and email, try writing a paragraph of your latest project – then email it to yourself so you can easily cut-and-paste it later.

5. Write in a boring meeting or lecture

Stuck in a dull meeting or lecture? Instead of daydreaming, work on your writing: if you’ve got a laptop, type away, or just write on paper. It’ll look like you’re paying attention to the speaker and taking copious notes…

6. Write in your lunch hour

Make a point of taking your lunch hour rather than working straight through, and use this time to get some writing done. Even if you have to go and buy a sandwich, you should be able to find ten minutes spare to write.

7. Write in the car

When the traffic jam in front of you stretches for miles, rejoice! Get your notebook out, and start writing. And if you’re lucky enough to have a traffic-free commute, end your journey by sitting in the car park for ten minutes, writing away.

8. Write while you’re waiting

There are always times in the day when you’ll end up hanging around, waiting for someone else. Whether it’s sitting in reception at the dentist’s surgery, waiting for the kids to get ready, or waiting for your partner to get home, use those few minutes to write.

9. Write while dinner’s cooking

It takes ten minutes for pasta or rice to cook – so why not take your notebook or laptop into the kitchen and finish a couple of paragraphs while dinner’s cooking? You can keep an eye on the food, and your family won’t interrupt if they know you’re cooking for them…

10. Write in the advert breaks

Balance your laptop on your knees and write furiously in every advert break whilst watching television. During the course of an hour-long show, you’ll see at least ten minutes of ads. Plenty of time to finish off your piece!

Where could you find ten more minutes in the day to write? How can you reclaim some “lost” time to your advantage? Tell us about it in the comments…

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16 Responses to “10 Ways to Find 10 Minutes to Write”

  • Sal

    I find another set of 10 minutes right before I go to sleep. I will usually hop on the computer for a quick glance at my email to see if there is anything important still left to take care of. If not, I have my blog opened and am writing. Believe it or not it helps me sleep better getting some of the thoughts out. If I don’t do this, sometimes I will wake up in the middle of the night, have to crawl out of bed, stumble downstairs and hit the coffee pot and get it all out before I can go back to sleep. Doesn’t make for a peaceful night.

  • Mike

    I like to write whenever the moment takes me. I work in front of a computer, so I can always disguise a little artistic prose in a boring old email about the last meeting I had.

  • Susabelle

    I can somehow manage to find ten minutes to write in all my blogs…I don’t know why I find it so difficult to spend that ten minutes working on my novel…

    That’s really been bugging me lately, too.

  • J.M.

    I’ve been lifeguarding as a summer job in order to make some summer money before I start College in the fall. The last ten minutes of every hour are “adult swim,” and all of the children have to get out of the pool while I check the chemicals in the pool, eat, etc. After I complete the mandatory adult swim duties, I usually have 4 or 5 minutes to myself, which I have been spending writing. It helps the next 50 minutes on the stand go by faster, too, because I’m thinking about what I want to write during the next adult swim. Over the course of a typical 6 hour shift I can churn out a couple of handwritten notebook pages of work.

    If it lightnings or rains or thunders, I’ll find myself with the facility to myself, and I can write or read for hours. It’s one of the biggest perks of the job 🙂

  • Sarah

    I like to write first thing in the morning and at midnight..it is peaceful and quiet..

  • John Roach

    I find the best way to sneak writing in is to use a voice recorder. True, there is the issue of transferring a recording to text, but not only can you get some work done while driving, etc., but the tone tends to be more natural and you cover more ground.

  • baron

    Not to be distasteful. But how about writing instead of reading while sitting on the porcelain throne?

  • Mari Adkins

    I write on the bus and in doctor’s office waiting rooms quite often. I’m never without a notebook and pen.

  • Amin Sabeti

    That’s so useful especially number one!

  • Melodee Patterson

    Silly me, I’ve been using most of those times to create my to-do list when I could have been writing my blog or e-books! Thanks for the head slap!

  • Bipon

    I am very happy to learn english writing or reading from this site.

  • Anna Cott

    I personally find that ten minutes is not nearly enough time to write. (This is by no means critical of this article, by the way, as I am fortunate enough to be blessed with a lot of time at the moment, as I know many aren’t). If I have a good idea or a wave of creativity I can be writing for any length of time between forty minutes and a couple of hours.

    Ten minutes is only enough time to generate ideas, perhaps a couple of sentences or themes.

    Just my opinion though. Kudos to those out there who can get a lot done in ten short minutes!

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