Friday, October 10, 2008

Ten Minutes A Day

There is just never enough time in a day. We get up early, go to bed late. We have devotions to read, prayer, exercise, family and jobs that are all priority. And for those of us who are writers, and for anyone who has a dream to accomplish something most say is impossible, the dream may get pushed aside.

We'll work on it tonight.

Tonight comes and we say we'll work on it tomorrow.

First thing you know, tomorrow has turned into a month. In my case, you turn around and a year has passed and the accomplishments are few.

I went to the Moonlight & Magnolia Conference last week, sponsored by Georgia Romance Writers. For me, it was a major ordeal just to get to the conference, located thirty minutes away from my home. It seems everything happens on the weekend I plan to do something. Work has blown up, every family member is busy, and I'm rushing from errand to errand, my 3 year old in tow, wishing I could just stay home and become a vegetable in front of the TV. But as we all know, wasting time is just that, a waste. The clock is ticking on my day and I have a deadline I didn't even set, but I'm on it. I've got to follow it.

Well, I made it to the M&M conference. Saturday workshops began and I sat down with my crit partners in a packed room for Stephanie Bond's Write Well, Write Fast workshop. Stephanie has written A LOT of books. Her website is pretty fun and informative. She is prolific and again, has A LOT of books. She's been able to quit her day job to write full time. She knows the business, she knows her stuff. Thus, a packed workshop you will find when she's speaking.

In Write Well, Write Fast, Stephanie asked us how long it would take us to write a page. We deducted a page could be written in ten minutes. Then why aren't you doing it, Stephanie asked.

I'm scratching my head... Well, uh, I dunno.
Every excuse is flitting through my mind but one message remains very clear. I can find ten minutes. You mean if I get up an hour early, as long as I write 1 page a day, which can be done in 10 minutes, then I can write a book in a year?

If I wrote 2 pages in twenty minutes, then that would be 2 pages a day and that would mean I could write two books a year?

Yeah. That's what this workshop is all about: yanking the the "DUH!" out of our procrastinating writer's brains and motivating us to write well, write fast!

Do you have an Alpha Smart?

Stephanie does. She said she writes with it while she walks on her treadmill.

You mean you can write and exercise? This must be Superwoman. The woman is awesome.

Writing and exercise... that's for another blog post. But what I'm getting to is the Alpha Smart.

It's lightweight. It's easy to hide in a large purse or your briefcase. I'm dreaming of all the days ahead during my lunch break when I can whip this baby out and produce some marvelous prose. I'm dreaming of the day when I can throw down 3 books a year and be able to say arrivederci
to my 9-5 very steady job. (Or maybe just convince them that they need to bring back part timers and let me be that part time girl.)

So let's talk two things: First, how to you crunch in a page of writing a day? And Second, Alpha Smart! I want to hear from all of you who have one, had one, want one.

And everyone who's chasing their dreams, have a wonderful dream chasing weekend! Remember: 10 minutes a day!


  1. #1 - Writing. I've been doing better since I got home from M&M. I've revising the first three chapters of my WIP.This is good because I had been doing nothing. Also, my crit partners and I have set a goal to send each other stuff every weekend. Oops, I'd better get something sent!

    #2 - Alpha Smart. I want one. I found one on email, an Alpha Smart 2000 - but how old is that thing? It was only $25 bucks. Not too much to shell out in case the Alpha doesn't work for me, time wise, like I want it too.

  2. I meant to say I found an Alpha Smart on EBAY.

  3. #1 Writing--I've been doing better. I think I can say I have worked on writing or revising what I've written every day since the conference. I'm determined!!!
    #2 Alpha Smart--never had one. Have heard good things about them from those who do.
    But I can't walk on a treadmill without getting dizzy so I doubt I could write and walk....can you say stomach doing flips????
    Great post.
    How much are you sending your cp's this weekend?

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  5. Since I've been back from ACFW, I've rewritten 150 pages on my Regency manuscript. I didn't realize this manuscript needed so much work and so when I returned thinking I only needed to revise the first couple of chapters, boy, was I in for a rude awakening!

    Christy, like you this full-time job literally gobbles my time and energy. I've forced myself to avoid email, blogs, and missed posting some of my own blogs. I've watched no TV with the exception of emersing myself in the Regency time period. Hubby went to Blockbuster and rented Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, and I've also watched my versions of Emma and P&P. Other than the debate, I wouldn't allow myself to watch anything that would pull me out of this time period.

    Guess what? It has helped--especially with my dialogue. People look at me funny because it is flowing over into my conversations at work and home. Can't help it. I need it to be this way.

    This week I have written on my lunch hour, the BB&T bank lobby, my doctor's office, on the road waiting in traffic (don't do this), but I confess, I did. Early in the morning, late at night. And I'm using a lot of eye drops for my poor eyes.

    I've told my mother no, I will not take over the Christmas party planning for this year. I've turned down some other things that I know will affect my writing time. Because I know that after I finish this book, I have to start the revisions that an editor requested on another book. Realistically, I will be busy until Christmas--but I sure will enjoy the holidays--because I will definitely need the break by then.

    On my writing retreat last year, someone felt led to give me their AlphaSmart. I used it to write my South Carolina novel. It kept me off the Internet and I didn't have to retype things, just downloaded it into my manuscript file. I found it to be wonderful, useful, and a discipline strategy for me. God knew what I needed. I finished my manuscript in six months. Right now I'm rewriting 10-20 pages per day--even with my full-time job.

    I did go to the Renaisance Fair last Saturday, and I'm going to Pinehurst, NC tomorrow, so I am allowing the breaks I need.

  6. #1--I look more at chapters or word count. On a good day with no major interruptions, I can write 2000 words (that would be about 8 pages). I imagine I average about 5pages a day because circumstances are rarely ideal. I have written as many as 5000 words but about killed myself doing it! :) But when I get on a roll, I hate to stop.

    #2 I love the Alphasmart! I actually won the drawing Stephanie had at M&M for her old one!! But I can't imagine using it on a treadmill. :) However, I used to read books on one, so maybe I could do it. The problem is that I belong to Curves, now. Gotta use my hands for that. :)


  7. I also meant to say that Stephanie was so inspiring! We can truly accomplish so much in just a little a day. We shouldn't waste small snatches of time. I tend to want huge hunks of time, and I waste those little in between times. But she made me want to get on the ball!


  8. I agree Missy. I used to wait until I had huge chunks of time...well, guess what. I don't. I think now I've gotten used to writing when I can. I remember at a ACFW meeting I said something like
    "well, if i only have twenty minutes in the morning I have to make good use"
    Somebody said something along the lines of if that's all the time they had they wouldn't start. And I used to be that way too. But I realized you have to take time when you can. And twenty minutes is more than nothing.

  9. Jenn,
    Keep it up girl!! You are on a roll and your time to sell is coming soon. I believe it!

  10. Jenn,
    I'm so excited about your progress and your drive! LOL about talking like your Regency characters. I guess that means your book will be truly authentic!

  11. Lindi,

    I sent a chapter to my CPs. I actually sent 2 but only want one reviewed. I sent the first chapter so they would remember the story.

    I'm glad we've realized we have to write when we can. Or else, we'd never get finished.

  12. Missy,

    8000 words! That's awesome! I don't know how many words I've written in one sitting.

    Anyone else?

    How long does it take to write 8000 words? Of course it depends on how fast you type...

  13. No, not 8000 words!! My max has been 5000. When I got that much written, it was over like a 12-14 hour period--well into the night. :)

    But I think that's about how many Cheryl Wyatt can do. She's amazing. A machine. :)