Jeff Goins suggests not writing a lot, but writing often and believes 30 minutes a day is more valuable than a 5 hour stretch once a week. I agree. So, what do you do with those small chunks of time when you may or may not feel immediately in a "writing mode" but you have the sliver of time to write?
If you're at a total loss for ideas, here are fifteen ways to make the most of your snippets of writing time:
5 - 10 Minutes
Five to ten minutes may not feel like enough time to get any really work done, but if you have an idea of what you want to accomplish, then these small chunks can add up to real progress.
- Write a transition scene that progresses your character forward from one action element to another
- Free write about your main character or antagonist to find out their motivations or thoughts on a situation or other character
- Write a piece of flash fiction in less than 100 words
- Flesh out a setting for a scene you haven't written yet
- Write a scene with only the dialogue and plan to fill in the beats and descriptions later
15 - 20 Minutes
A speedy twenty minutes can fly by when you're writing, but it is enough time to accomplish a lot if you use every minute of it.
- Rewrite a scene you know isn't working
- Create a new short story with just one location, two to three characters, and one problem
- Skip ahead in a stalled story to a scene you know you want to include and roughly know what will happen
- Write a letter from one character to another to unclog a blocked plot line and get ideas flowing
- Write a scene you're struggling with from a new point of view to get ideas of how to fix it
25 - 30 Minutes
To my mind twenty-five to thirty minutes of time is the perfect quantity because it gives enough time to get deep into your work without lasting so long you become restless or need breaks.
- Write the outline for a single large scene, a series of chapters, or a long short story you have ideas for
- Write a chapter for your novel from beginning to end without stopping or double checking information in previous chapters
- Write a short story in a genre you've never tried, using a character you wouldn't normally write about or sympathize with
- Write the first chapter for a story you've been thinking about that isn't your current work in progress to get fresh juices flowing
- Look around in a public place and write about a person you see there, creating their fictional life story
Tell me your quick tips for writing time snippets in the comments section below.