Want to write a book in just 20 minutes a day? If you’re been putting off writing because you “don’t have time”, consider that bestselling author John Grisham wrote his first book during his morning train commute. You can accomplish a great deal in short blocks of time.
Here’s a secret: I’ve always written my books in 20 minute sessions. Initially, when I wrote novels, it was because my children needed me. I got into the habit.
Although I’m a full-time writer now, I still write books in 20 minute blocks of time, because it’s efficient and eliminates procrastination. There’s a lot of theory around why working in short sessions is so effective, and I won’t bore you with it, just know that it does work.
1. What Do You Want to Write About? It’s OK if You Don’t Know
If you’d love to write, starting presents such challenges that many people wimp out.
So how do you start a book? You sneak up on it. It’s fine to start without knowing more than the simple fact that you want to write… something. Sit down. Do some free writing, or some writing exercises. (I post daily writing exercises and tips to Twitter, if you’d like to join us.)
Do this for several days; never force. You’re training your subconscious mind to be creative on demand, and this takes a little time.
2. Schedule a Time to Write Your Book
We’re all so busy these days that everything needs to be scheduled. Schedule the 20 minutes you’ll work on your book. It can be any time at all; even your lunch hour at work. Just schedule it, down to the minute, and when that time of day arrives, start writing.
3. Relax: Creativity Is Playful
I can’t emphasize enough that your creative inspiration is playful. You can’t force it. Write however, wherever and whenever feels good to you (as long as you schedule it). Fifteen years ago, I went through a phase of writing book-length material on a Palm Pilot. I know writers who favor a certain type of paper, a special fountain pen and color of ink. One writer I know writes in the bathtub.
Whatever your own creative self demands, give in to it.
4. Write Whatever Comes to Mind: Don’t Expect to “Know” Too Soon
If you’re writing nonfiction, even a creative form of nonfiction, you’ll usually know what you want to write about before you start — although you may not.
Fiction is different. Many novelists start off writing with nothing more than an image, or a feeling. Be relaxed about this. Your left brain is logical and wants to know exactly what you’re writing. However your creative right brain isn’t verbal, and doesn’t care. Trust your right brain: your innate creativity will deliver.
So: start to write your book in your spare time. Everyone can spare 20 minutes a day.
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