Ten Minutes a Day: When You Don’t Have Time to Write, Part 2

ten-minutesAbout two weeks ago, I blogged about not being able to find time to work on two new projects — a novel called Iron Mountain and a nonfiction picture book about a cave.  Since then, I’ve worked on these projects 10 minutes per day, Monday through Friday.  Has that little amount of time been worth my while?

For the cave book, I’ve read 7 or 8 sources and have 8 pages of notes.  I have two or three more sources on hand and a friend just told me about an applicable NPR broadcast.  I don’t have quite enough material to start writing but I am very close.  The manuscript is starting to take shape in my mind and has already changed a bit from what I had originally imagined.

What about the novel?  This post went up on Friday, but I wrote it on Wednesday.  At that point I had 1700 words of text.  Yes, it is rough but that’s 1700 words more than I had just fiddling around and complaining about not working.  I’ve roughed out almost a complete first chapter.

No it isn’t following my outline but it is definitely taking on a life of its own.  As soon as I finish roughing chapter 1, I’m going to make an outline of the pivotal points in the story.  What do I consider pivotal points?  My character’s call to action, the climax, the darkest moment and various points where the antagonists actions change things up.  I’m 98% certain that these points are still solid and I want to review them before I get much farther into the story.  I also need to do another Character sketch since this character now makes an appearance in Chapter 1.  He is definitely going to have a much bigger part than I originally conceived.

Ten minutes a day.  It doesn’t sound like much but I have two new projects steadily gaining ground in just two weeks.  Kind of makes you wonder where I’ll be in another two weeks, doesn’t it?


2 thoughts on “Ten Minutes a Day: When You Don’t Have Time to Write, Part 2

  1. You’re right, Sue–those small-minute times add up. I wonder how many books haven’t been written because their “authors” were waiting (and maybe still are) for that ideal two- or four-hour block of quiet, undisturbed time for getting ideas down on paper or keyboard? When I wrote my first book, SOMEONE WAS WATCHING, it was on the back of a bus, going back and forth to my day job. A half-hour each way. A page (of longhand–no laptops back then) a day. At the end of a year, I had the manuscript for a 50,000-word middle grade novel. I had four books published before I left the day job. I wrote on my 45-minute lunch hour amidst the chaos at a nearby McDonald’s, after the kids went to bed, before they got up in the morning, driving to work and dictating into a recorder. I had continuity problems, of course: oops, I already wrote that, or I thought I wrote that but I didn’t. But that didn’t matter. I was getting stuff down. I could fix it during revision. I don’t say this to toot my own horn. Anyone is capable of doing what I did. I simply want to second your point: take advantage of even the smallest of writing windows, and something will come of it. For most people, there’s not an ideal time. The “ideal” time is whatever time you can squeeze out of your day.

    1. Hmm. I’m not sure I could write at McDonald’s. I tend to “people watch.” I never could study in the library either. “Oooo, what book does she have? He has a huge pile of books.” That said, you do what you have to do. I’m sure glad you stuck with it! –SueBE

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