A writer friend and I were discussing how we squeeze writing into our busy lives. She has recently learnt to do 20 minute short bursts of writing and although she was dubious of this method at first, it is working really well for her. I told her that I’m more of a 30 minute writer as this (quite by default) seems to be the pockets of time I have during my working week and it’s split as follows:
- 30 minute commute on the train (to work and back) – I need to be really organised and know what I’m going to be typing in those 30 minutes, whether it’s editing a blog or typing up some notes. You cannot ask the train to hold on a minute whilst you finish your paragraph or think of your next sentence. I more of less know the exact point of the journey, where I need to start closing down my documents so that when the train stops at my station my computer has shut down.
- 30 minutes at the library at lunchtime – Fortunately I have a library five minutes from my office and being a member allows me to book a computer with free internet access for 30 minutes at a time. I need to be organised enough to have finished by the time the timer at the top of the screen runs out otherwise the computer shuts down and clears everything from the memory. If it’s not so busy, I’m sometimes given the option (with five minutes to go) to automatically extend this time, and if I choose to take the extra 15 minutes I just see this as a bonus.
- 30 minutes at breakfast time – Most working days, I get up a couple of hours before I have to leave the house. I divide this into exercise time, writing time, getting ready and breakfast with the girls. Again, quite by default, 30 minutes seems to be the amount of time I get and it’s amazing what I can achieve even if it’s just checking & replying to emails, and giving & replying to comments.
- 30 minutes in the evening – I’ve cut down on the amount of time that I spend on the computer in the evenings which allows me more family time and gives me the chance to get to bed earlier. I do, however, like to quickly edit my daily blog and post it, as well as do a bit of admin/checking emails etc. This 30 minutes spell works best for me after the girls have gone to bed.
I think that ’30 minute writer’ has quite a good ring to it and as it works well for me during the working week I have been testing it out today to see if I can extend this technique to my weekend writing. To help with this, I have either been setting a timer or just keeping my eye on the clock and then forcing myself to get up and do something else for a while before going back to writing later on.
I also believe that it will be to my benefit to spend less time perched at the computer in any one time and it may make my head and neck aches less frequent.
Do you use a similar technique and does it work for you?
- Note 226 – Writing on the train has many advantages (mywritingnotebook.wordpress.com)