Monday, February 25, 2013

Find Your Fifteen

Post by Jenny

In this month’s Write Stuff newsletter, NCW Director Kerrie Flanagan encouraged us to free up 15 minutes a day for writing. Though it doesn’t seem like much, it adds up to 90+ hours annually, not counting the occasional Leap Day.  

I am the worst about letting time manage me and not the other way around, but I was inspired—nay, empowered—by the realization that even I can carve out fifteen more minutes a day for writing. I hope these simple tips will help you do the same:

Get up 15 minutes earlier. My husband has some flexibility with his work hours and prefers to go in by 6 a.m. so he can have more time with our sons in the afternoon. Even if he hasn’t slept well because of my incessant snoring factors beyond his control, he gets up early and starts his day. There’s no good reason I can’t do that, too.

DVR everything. Digital video recording is a wonderful thing. How else can a person watch an entire baseball game in the time it takes to eat a hot dog? For those of you who never watch TV ever ever ever, I say good for you. For the rest of us who enjoy a show now and then…record it first so you can skip the extraneous stuff.

Keep track of time. As a kid, I loved the original Star Trek series. I was especially fascinated when Captain Kirk and the crew (including that poor expendable guy) jumped through a portal that messed with the space/time continuum. But I think my house is built on one of those portals. How else can I go into my closet for something to wear and emerge twenty minutes later, disoriented and holding a flannel shirt, a feather boa, and one rain boot? My only weapon against this insidious phenomenon is a clock.

Always have something to write with and on. You know the doctor will be at least fifteen minutes late, right? You don’t want to be stuck reading last September’s People magazine.

Cut your workout time. Everyone should get some exercise every day. But if you feel that anything less than an hour isn’t worth it, consider that in a 13-week University of Copenhagen study, subjects who engaged in 60 minutes of daily cardio lost the same amount of fat as those who exercised for 30 minutes. According to the American Heart Association, even 10 minutes of vigorous exercise a day has significant health benefits. So trimming 15 minutes off a longer workout every now and then won’t hurt.

Put things where they belong. Ever spent half an hour looking for car keys or a bank statement? That’s time I wish I could get back.

Be selective. Say you’re in the middle of a book/movie/lecture/concert/telephone conversation/social event, and you realize it’s not worth your time. Call it quits. (Unless you’re the one giving the lecture.) You have better things to do. If other people are involved, make a graceful exit. Or fake a sudden bout of lactose intolerance. Your call. 

If you’ve made it to the end of this post, thanks for your time! How will you find 15 extra minutes to write today?


Jerry Eckert said...

Some great ideas here. My problem is that I need half an hour to bet the muse awakened and kick her into gear. So the 15 minute breaks, eg. doctor's offices, are used for reading great writers in my genre.

Dean K Miller said...

Jenny: A closet-Star Trekkie? You too?

I grab some 15-minute blocks each day, seldom do I find consecutive hours and if I do, I'm usually fishing. (this energizes my muse)

Besides, how often does a jigsaw puzzle come together in one lump effort.

Piece by piece, we continue on.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Put things where they belong? Huh! I should try that.

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