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…