Category Archives: Time Management

What To Do When the Timer Dings? A New Practical Guide

What do you do when the timer dings?

Here’s help for 10 Minute Novelists everywhere!

If there is a sequel to Write A Novel in Ten Minutes A Day, this is it!

 

Click the image to order!

If you write (or paint, or read, or crochet, or watch television) in 10-minute increments, then you know what will happen. The timer is going to ding after 10 minutes and you’ll have to go back to your to-do lists and your reality. But if your tasks are overwhelming, your stuff is in the way or you’ve forgotten your plan then you’ve lost your motivation to do what you really want with your time. This book gives you practical tips on how to organize your foundational truth, attitudes, people, time, stuff, tools, margins and fails so that you go through your day with order and determination.

Since 2009, the premise of this blog/website has been that much can be accomplished in 10-minute increments.

I’d like to suggest that having the rest of your life in order outside of your writing time, can make all the difference in what happens inside your writing time.

What do you do when the timer dings?

This is more than a time management book. This is a confidence management book.

In chapter one, Understanding Your Foundation, I encourage you to think carefully about what you want to really accomplish with your time. I hope you get a better sense of the big picture of your life so you can make great choices.

In chapter two, Organizing Your Emotions, I suggest that emotions may be hindering us from accomplishing the things that we want. As painful as it is, I hope you see areas in your life where your attitude can improve.

In chapter three, Organizing People, I encourage you to gather the people you are closest to. I explain the benefits of communicating with them your mutual needs. I also argue the case for delegation, especially in the context of a home. You can train your family to use the timer too!

“Excellent book. REALLY helpful. I feel like I need a week off to just go through the exercises, but I am going to start budgeting 10 minutes at least once a day and make a start.”  — Barb Szyszkiewicz

In chapter four, Organizing Your Time, I suggest that you track your time to see where it is spent. I hope you take the time to analyze your minutes and seconds and make changes. The timer is a great reminder of how fast life can pass us by!

In the fifth chapter, Organizing Your Daily Needs, I challenge you to look at all of the things that must be done, specifically domestic responsibilities. Then I give you suggestions on how to be more efficient and effective doing them. I hope this makes your home more peaceful.

In chapter six, Organizing Your Stuff, I echo anti-clutter thinkers by giving reasons why clutter wastes time. I hope that you make some deliberate choices in reducing your possessions for the sake of peace.

In chapter seven, Organizing Tools, I ask you to take advantage of good tools to do your job well. Maybe you’ll pull out your slow cooker now.

In chapter eight, Organizing Margins, I ask you to look at the emotional”white space” of your life. I give examples of how to guard good margins so that you have room for the unexpected. I hope my mistakes inspire you to care for yourself.

And in the last chapter, chapter nine, Organizing the Fails, I suggest that you are diligent about keeping failure from slowing you down.

You are more than your to-do lists.

You are more than your obligations and tasks. I believe you have the potential to make some major changes in your life. I think you have the power to be organized. I know you can make more time for the people and passions that you love.

Your dreams are worth ten minutes, but the rest of your life is worth so much more.

You can grab your life by its hand and say, “I’m the boss of you! Let’s get busy!”


 


Katharine Grubb is a homeschooling mother of five, a novelist, a baker of bread, a comedian wannabe, a former running coward and the author of Write A Novel In 10 Minutes A Day. Besides pursuing her own fiction and nonfiction writing dreams, she also leads 10 Minute Novelists on Facebook, an international group for time-crunched writers that focuses on tips, encouragement, and community.

How to Get Up Early to Write (7 Tips From a Former Night Owl)

by AprIl Davila

Get up early?

I started getting up early to write when I was working full time and my kids were little. I didn’t want to do it, but I absolutely could not find any other time to write.

As a die-hard night owl, the adjustment was rough. I’m not gonna lie.

It took me about eighteen months to settle in, but that was because I went about it all wrong.

Here are seven things I wish I had known when I started:

1. You don’t have to be a morning person.

I was absolutely NOT a morning person when I started. It was painful, no question about it, but eventually, I got used to it because I had to. If your writing is important enough, you’ll get used to it.

2. Coffee.

If you own a coffee maker, it probably has a delayed start function. Take 10 minutes, google the make and model to find the owners manual, and read up on how to set it to start brewing ten minutes before your alarm goes off. You want the coffee to be ready to drink when you drag yourself out of bed. Hot coffee can be a powerful motivator.

3. A quick foot massage.

I know this sounds strange, but sometimes, when I was too tired to get up and even the promise of hot coffee wasn’t enough, I would pinch and roll each toe between my fingers for a few seconds. Somehow this quick little foot massage helped drag me into consciousness. Try it. I swear it works.

4. Do it (almost) every day.

For the first year, I thought I was going easy on myself by only getting up early to write every other day. What I know now is that it is actually much harder to do every other day. Do it every day, or at least every workday. Just put it in your head that this is how you start your days. It will be a drag at first, but eventually, you will adjust. It will get easier.

I struggled terribly with early mornings until I started waking up at 5 am six days a week. I know, it sounds counterintuitive, but it’s easier to settle into it if you do it (almost) every day. (For the record, I’m a big believer in having one or two mornings a week to sleep in. It gives you something to look forward to. Trying to wake up at 5 am every morning forever will just lead to burnout.)

“Morning is an important time of day, because how you spend your morning can often tell you what kind of day you are going to have.”
Lemony Snicket

5. Establish a routine.

When you wake up super early to write you will be groggy. You will not want to think about anything too much until the coffee kicks in. To overcome this, you will need to establish a routine and make time for it. So if you only need ten minutes, you can’t just set the alarm to go off ten minutes earlier than usual. You have to figure out what routine will bring your head to your writing and then set the alarm so that you have enough time to do the whole thing. 

My routine consists of pouring my mug of coffee and sitting down with my journal. I aim to fill one page of the journal with whatever comes to mind – seriously anything. It usually takes me about half an hour, and I notice my pen starts to move faster as the coffee kicks in. Then, I close the journal, set the mug aside, and attack my writing. This means that to get an hour or writing in, I have to get up an hour and a half before my kids. I just do. If you’re only writing for 10 minutes, you may still have to set the alarm to give you a full 40 minutes. Accept this as part of the deal.

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6. Go to bed early.

Depending on how old you are, and how demanding your days can be, getting up super early on a regular basis will start to wear you down if you don’t compensate by going to bed a little earlier. As a night person by nature, I never used to get tired until after midnight. But I knew I needed sleep, so I started brushing my teeth and getting into bed earlier. For many weeks I would sit up and read until my usual crash-out time, but eventually, the exhaustion caught up and I started falling asleep earlier. It’s embarrassing for a self-proclaimed night person to admit to going to bed at 9, but you’re a writer, dang it, and you’re doing it for your art.

7. Set an end time.

For me, writing time ends at 6:30 or when the kids wake up. Whichever comes first. If you’re a mom, and/or if you’re working a full-time job, you will need to set an end time. Write as much as you can in your allotted time and then pat yourself on the back. Whatever else happens that day, you wrote. And that is a glorious thing.

“It sounds plausible enough tonight, but wait until tomorrow. Wait for the common sense of the morning.”
H.G. Wells

For the New Parents

As a quick side note, if you are the parent of a very young child (or children), you may have to wait a few years to implement this, but take heart, the time will come.

I remember, when I was nursing, I felt like the exhaustion would consume me. There was no predicting when those ravenous babies would wake. My advice: don’t stress. Write for a few minutes while they’re napping and know that you are in the throws of a unique and precious time. Get some audiobooks to listen to while you fold endless loads of laundry and soak up as much story as you can. As a writer, you can totally count that as honing your craft (for real).

Happy writing!


If you liked this post, you may also like 

Finding Time to Write (With Toddlers in Tow) or

6 Practical Ways To Plug Time Leaks For More Writing Time


April Dávila lives and works in Los Angeles with her husband and two beautiful children. By day she blogs and works as a freelance writer. By the light of early, early morning she chips away at her first novel. Check her out at http://aprildavila.com

How To Handle Other Commitments As A 10 Minute Novelist

By definition, if you are a 10-minute novelist, then you are time-crunched.

You have commitments to your job, your family, and your social life. Because you are a 10-Minute Novelist, you have to find pockets of time here and there to get those words down. But even with all the best intentions, it’s hard to do this.

How To Handle Other Commitments as a 10 Minute Novelist

How do you find 10 minutes here and there if you have so much else to do?

Take stock of where each second of your day goes.

You may have time leaks. If you do, look at this blog post on how to plug them. If you’re really serious about making the most of your time, you need to track it. This isn’t any different that tracking finances if you are trying to get your money under control. This isn’t any different than tracking calories if you are getting your weight under control. Pardon the pun, but tracking your time leaks is time-consuming and difficult. But at the end of the exercise, you’ll be able to see where your time actually goes. This may be discouraging, but you’ll be able to assess honestly your time leaks and make informed choices on how to plug them. Some of your commitments are rigid and you can’t get out of them — like going to work each day. But some are flexible. Use their flexibility to your advantage.

Consider how efficient you are with certain tasks.

Are there ways that you can speed everything up? Can you do all your shopping once a week? Perhaps you can go a little faster in cleaning your kitchen? Perhaps you can store paperwork more efficiently so you aren’t overwhelmed by it? Many household tasks can’t be avoided, but they can be sped up to their most efficient. As tempting as it is, you can’t really write and cook dinner at the same time. (I know, I’ve tried.) So instead, come up with ways to speed up dinner, like making freezer meals, cutting vegetables in advance, or putting something in the crockpot earlier in the day. Eating and cleaning are commitments that you can work around without sacrificing what’s important to you.

Can you eliminate some tasks?

If you have assessed your time, you may find that you are spending time on the unnecessary or redundant. If you don’t enjoy gardening, then don’t plant one this spring. And if you don’t like fussing over what to give your relatives, then buy gift cards and call it done. No task you do should be without scrutiny. Often we say yes to commitments because we don’t think we have a choice, but we do. I suggest re-evaluating some of the decisions you ‘ve made and eliminating or simplifying them to maximize your time.

Can you delegate?

Delegating is my all-time favorite method of saving time and I explain why here. Is it possible for you to give some of your household responsibilities to others? Can you step back and encourage them to participate without micromanaging? Can you be grateful for extra help? Many hands make light the work. While explaining to your family or roommates what needs to be done takes time, you will save time in the long run.

Can you get up earlier or stay up later?

I am often surprised at how much I accomplish when I get up early. And while I would have never called me an early bird, to have some daily tasks done before 8:00 AM is encouraging and motivating. Can you give yourself an extra half hour, at either end of the day? It is possible to squeeze in bits of time between your other obligations.

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Can you be more organized?

Could you sort the mail as soon as you pick it up instead of leaving it in piles? Can you put similar things together in your pantry? Could you give certain tasks certain times of the day or week so that everything can get done in an orderly fashion? We often lose time by not grouping tasks together. Consider how you can meet your household requirements swiftly so that you can block more time for yourself.

Do you need to communicate your needs?

Could it be that the other people in your household could do more to help your productivity? This may be the hardest thing to do on this list, but it could also be the most life-changing. Can you discuss your needs with the people you live with? Or can you delegate chores? Can you start good habits of order? Could you model responsible, non-whiny attitudes about new policies and order?

Are you wasting time?

Where do you put all of your time? Do you dawdle? Are there too many cat videos in your life? Do you catch yourself playing too much Candy Land? You may find it helpful to identify these time wasters and figure out a way to limit yourself. You’ve probably heard it said that life is short. It is. Why would you want to waste it on the trivial or uninteresting?

These could be radical changes for you.

 But if you really want to make time for your dream, you’ll have to look at your commitments in a way that could be difficult or painful.

But you have a dream to write, or you wouldn’t be here.

You can do a lot in 10-minute increments.

Find more of them.

Your dreams are worth it.


If you liked this post, then you may also like:

Wasting Time: Seven Hard Questions To Ask Yourself, Or,

Six Must-Haves For The Time-Crunched Writer! 


Katharine Grubb is a homeschooling mother of five, a novelist, a baker of bread, a comedian wannabe, a former running coward and the author of Write A Novel In 10 Minutes A Day. Besides pursuing her own fiction and nonfiction writing dreams, she also leads 10 Minute Novelists on Facebook, an international group for time-crunched writers that focuses on tips, encouragement, and community.

Eight Things I Learned From Writing In 10-Minute Increments

I became a 10-minute novelist out of necessity.  Years ago when I had five kids under eight years old, I decided that it was time for me to pursue my writing dreams. I don’t know what I was thinking. I’m going to assume that it was the sleep deprivation that made me think this was possible.

The more I thought about it, the more I believed I could do it.

First of all, because I was a mother, I was used to the game of inches. I knew that a little bit every day makes things happen. This was true because my children outgrew their clothes. I knew this because I watched them grow into great readers. I thought that I could probably spare 10 minutes a day to write. Maybe not much more than that, but that was a start.

I also knew that if I waited for the perfect time to write, it would never come.

It would be far better for my happiness if I started now and kept at it. I’m so glad I did!

 

Eight Things I Learned Writing in 10 Minute Increments by Katharine Grubb

This is what I learned by consistent setting and re-setting of my timer:

  1. I can do anything for 10 minutes. I have a bit of an attention problem and I get distracted easily. By working in shorter bits of time, I can stay focused. It turns out that by working in smaller increments, my brain is constantly active and it helps me retain information too.
  2. I taught myself how to work fast. If I only have 10 minutes to write, and I’m not sure if I’m going to get more 10-minute increments during the day, I speed things up pretty quickly. I don’t waste my time with spelling or grammar, I don’t self-edit, I just get something down. Anything. The sense of accomplishment is so rewarding!
  3. I work well when I can see big tasks broken down into smaller ones. Instead of freaking out over writing a 120K word book, I just have to write a paragraph or a sentence. That seems so much more manageable to me.
  4. This method taught me to be ready and organized. I had no choice but to always know where my document was. I had no choice but to know what task was coming up next — would it be dishes or laundry? This kept me on my toes and made me more efficient with my entire day.
  5. It lowered my expectations of accomplishments. I could celebrate these tiny victories, like “I wrote for 20 minutes day!” Instead of beating myself up for not getting 10,000 words written.
  6. The timer reminded me that I am a writer. This time that I made for myself is a commitment: I have to write no matter what. The more I did it, the more  I grew in confidence.
  7. My children could understand 10-minute increments. I mean, some of the time, anyway. I coached them to understand that when I was seated at my desk in the kitchen, they needed to wait for my attention. Woe to the child that wanted a glass of apple juice in the wrong 10-minute increment! Once the timer dinged, it was their cue to engage with me. This isn’t a perfect system. My children learned to respect my work. It also set an example to them — that their work was worth doing and that alone time was good.
  8. I became encouraged as time went on. My word counts grew bigger and bigger. I had more and more material to revise and edit. I was writing. My dream was coming true!

After five years writing in 10-minute increments, I finished my first novel.

I had been blogging about this 10-minute journey all this time. Then I wrote another book. A publisher contacted me through my blog.  They asked me to write a book: Write A Novel In 10 Minutes A DayAnd now I have three novels and two non-fiction books behind me. There is more to come!

Do you know someone who has a writing dream but believes that they don’t have time to pursue their dream? Share this link with them!

They can also join my Facebook group, 10 Minute Novelists which gives tips, encouragement, and community for time-crunched writers everywhere.


Katharine Grubb is a homeschooling mother of five, a novelist, a baker of bread, a comedian wannabe, a former running coward and the author of Write A Novel In 10 Minutes A Day. Besides pursuing her own fiction and nonfiction writing dreams, she also leads 10 Minute Novelists on Facebook, an international group for time-crunched writers that focuses on tips, encouragement, and community.

How To Fit Writing Into Your Time-Crunched Life

We’re all time-crunched.

Fitting writing in is a huge challenge.

If you’re time-crunched you’ll find writing is a tough fit. To write, you squeeze in a few minutes here or there. You may lug your laptop around everywhere you go, or you may have a notebook and a favorite pen in your bag, ready to go at a moments notice. Or you may even have voice to text software and you’re not afraid to look a little silly speaking into your phone when inspiration hits. You are a 10 minute novelist and you are writing the best you can.

Or are you?

Maybe you’re not. Maybe you believe the best place to write is in a secluded cabin. Or maybe you believe that all you really need is a good two hour chunk somewhere and then you’d be productive. Maybe you think you need all the new apps or all the new software to get the job done. Or maybe you think that quitting that day job and living hand to mouth a while will motivate you. Maybe you just don’t know how to fit your writing goals in to your world?

Never fear! A few of us have figured this out. We’re 10 Minute Novelists. We’re time-crunched and busy. We have a lot of commitments. But we’re still finding time to pursue our dreams.

How To Fit Writing Into Your Time-Crunched Life

10 Minute Novelists don’t use ‘time-crunched’ as an excuse not to write.

Sandy Stuckless If you have a day job, write on your lunch break…in your car.
Become nocturnal. Write when the owls are awake to keep you company. Turn off the dang TV! It rots your brain anyway! Headphones, especially the noise canceling ones are your best friend. Even if you’re not listening to anything. People think you are and leave you alone.

10 Minute Novelists look for time leaks and make the most of them.

Mariah Danielle Rhudy I’m currently writing in the car with my laptop, external keyboard, and Dr Pepper while waiting for the kids I babysit to get out of school! The car-rider line is the best place to write!

10 Minute Novelists get up earlier.

Harry Marks I have 2 hours in the morning to write before the workday starts. I get up at 4:30 every morning to make sure this happens. I also write on my lunch break and if the motion sickness doesn’t kill me, on the phone on my train ride home in the evening.

10 Minute Novelists stay up later.

Sophia Ryan I keep a recorder on my nightstand so if a perfect piece of prose or dialog blossoms in my brain while I’m in bed, I can capture it immediately. Otherwise I’ll forget it in the morning. Hubby no longer wakes at hearing me whisper strange things in the dark.

10 Minute Novelists sacrifice something else.

Stephanie Smith Diamond I turn off the wifi on all my devices in order to avoid distractions.

10 Minute Novelists set small and manageable goals.

Mariah E. Wilson  When my kids were small I got in the habit of having a notebook with me at all times. I’d find ten minutes while cooking dinner or when the kids were occupied. It’s easier to find time now that they’re older, but I still have a notebook wherever I go.
Meg Brummer I set my computer in a central location and make a goal to write at least five words every time I walk by. Even when I’m really busy I end up with hundreds of words from “drive-by writing” like this.

10 Minute Novelists have a plan and then work that plan!

Dave Burnham I write during my 30 minute lunch break at my day job. I get up earlier at weekends to try and do more and once every couple of weeks I go to the local Panera with my laptop for a couple of hours. If I’m out for the day  I have a notebook and pencil in the car. I sit and write while my wife’s hitting the outlets (after she’s bribed me with coffee to go there!)

10 Minute Novelists make the most of every opportunity.

Molly Neely I rely heavily on the memo app I installed on my phone. That way, I can write during my breaks & lunches when I’m at work.

Sharon Kathleene I take my pen and paper into the bathroom with me, and I don’t care if it’s gross! It might only be a few minutes here or there, but I’m usually able to bang out a couple hundred words while I have NOTHING ELSE TO DO.

10 Minute Novelists get creative when it comes to their family time.

Shannyn Jordan I unleash the 4 year old on the cats hoping they can distract her long enough for me to write a hundred words.

Laura Salinas If you can give the kids a job that you would normally do quickly but they’ll take 10 minutes to do that will buy you some time something like put the cans away my general rule is will they hurt it or will it hurt them and if neither is true give them more responsibilities those minutes add up and you’re instilling a good work ethic in the short people.

Eric Johnson Send family to the store. Arrange playdates, and tell their spouse they can go to the bar with their friends. Fake your own kidnapping.  Then hide in garage to write. Claim abduction by UFO. Threaten housework., and when family leaves write. 

None of the writers quoted above have a fancy cabin in the woods.

They don’t have four or five hours a day to crank out words. They don’t fit the stereotype that most writers fall into. But all of these time-crunched 10 Minute Novelists have one goal: to write a little bit as often as they can.

10 Minute Novelists believe that momentum and consistency is more important than time allotted or word count.

If you look at your time-crunched life, and squeeze in a little bit of writing here and there you can be a 10 Minute Novelist too!



I am a fiction writing and time management coach. I help time crunched novelists strengthen their craft, manage their time and gain confidence so they can find readers for their stories.

Katharine Grubb is a homeschooling mother of five, a novelist, a baker of bread, a comedian wannabe, a former running coward and the author of Write A Novel In 10 Minutes A Day. Besides pursuing her own fiction and nonfiction writing dreams, she also leads 10 Minute Novelists on Facebook, an international group for time-crunched writers that focuses on tips, encouragement and community. 

Top 10 Ways You Can Conquer Nanowrimo Like War & Peace

by Katharine Grubb, 10 Minute Novelist

We’re just a few days in to National Novel Writing Month and it can feel like you’ve decided to read a Russian novel.

Last spring, I read War and Peace for reasons that I can’t quite remember. I think I wanted to add to my literary experiences. I think that I had seen on too many lists that it was one of the greatest novels ever written. And I also think that somehow my 21st century American sensibilities would totally identify with the plight of rich, idle Russian aristocrats who kinda hate the French.

But, oh my, that book was 1300+ pages long. I was committed to finish and I had to push myself forward, even when I thought it was dull and impossible.

Nanowrimo can feel the same way. It can feel like an eternity to get out of the battlefield of the Russian countryside and back into the warm parlors of Bald Hills. It can feel like an eternity when you read page after page after page, and only get 2% more read than yesterday. Nanowrimo is putting one word after another, just like those poor, poor Russian soldiers put one foot in front of another defending themselves against Napoleon.

Oh, Napoleon! Leo Tolstoy really hates your guts! From Fine Art America Images

Like me, you’ve signed up for something bigger than you because you thought it was a good idea. You thought that you’d have the fortitude to endure the daily grind of 1667 words. You thought that the story that’s been rattling around in your brain for weeks/months/years would just flow out of your fingers.

Nope. It hasn’t, has it? This feels about as hopeless as a French army facing a Russian winter. I am probably not the ideal reader for War and Peace and you can read about why I think so here. 

I’m here to help you. With all the imaginary vodka I can muster, I want to give you top 20 ways to get going on your Nanowrimo project.

Top 10 Ways You Can Conquer Nanowrimo Like War and Peace

1. Put your character in an actual emergency. Food allergies, car accident, flash flood, explosive plumbing, gas leak — none of these are planned. You don’t have to plan yours too. And even if it looks rather deux et machina -ish, don’t worry about it. You can always go back and fix it later. In War and Peace, the big emergencies were that Pierre, the bastard son of the richest rich guy may inherit the estate against the wishes of nearly every noble in the countryside. Apparently, besides not having married parents, his big sin is that he’s dull. Put your character in direr straits than that, please.

2. What does your character have in his pocket, purse or glove compartment? Candy? A gun? Drugs? A crucifix? A hundred thousand dollars in cash? Microfilm? A flash drive? A recording? An epi-pen? A switchblade?  He remembers!  And it uses it, just as the right time to get past this little problem he’s facing. Or, better still, the antagonist finds it in his possession and uses it against him! In War and Peace, the many princesses would have a sewing needle. Yawn. Wait, no, I shouldn’t criticize that. What else would they have? An iphone?

3. Someone asks him to do something against his character and he must do it. For instance: the drug dealer has to rescue kids from a fire, the hooker with the heart of gold saves the First Lady, the victim of abuse stands up to the lady who cuts her off in the parking lot. Aha! This is where we can learn a lesson from the Russians. Pierre, against his better judgement, marries Helene for her looks.  This connection would ease the grudges that the rest of the nobility have against him. What kind of fix can you put your main character into?

4. The paranormal sneaks in. Okay, this might not work for everyone. But what if a unicorn appears in the kitchen and tells him what to do? What if the lawn gnome knows where the treasure is? What if there is a zombie coming across the backyard and the hostas aren’t doing their job of keeping him out? War and Peace has this too. It’s called The Masons. Get this, they require Pierre to think. 

5. Have your character take a break. Maybe if he sat down and ate something, slept and had a crazy dream, did his laundry and bumped into someone at the laundromat, maybe he would think of the solution to the problem, see a clue, meet a friend, fall in love . . . . oh the possibilities are endless! Now, with a title like War and Peace, you’d expect more than just parlor romances, wouldn’t you? Of course you would. Nearly every non-curmudgeon male character in the book goes to war to defend against those nasty French. These soldiers get their breaks in various ways: capture, disease, losing a leg. If Tolstoy can use this device, so can you.

6. What would Napoleon do? No really. Think about your favorite movies and steal, steal, steal! There are no new ideas. You are smart enough to disguise any dialogue, scene, or plot point from film. Write in down now and then tweak it later. Even while I was reading W&P, I was thinking, Hey! These bloody battle scenes remind me of Gone With The Wind!  Wartime saga in which families lose their fortunes and the women have to do anything, anything, to survive! Oh Tolstoy! I know nuthin’ about birthin’ no babies!

7. Go backstory. What has propelled the bad guy to do the bad things? What makes your protagonist want what he wants? Dig a little deeper, even for a thousand words or so and that may be enough to get you on your feet. Or, if you’re Tolstoy, and thank God you’re not, you could spend 100 pages or so contemplating the purpose of one man, his conscience, the theory of free will, and the wheels that turn history and how you can compare it to bees.

8. Cupid strikes! Nothing complicates life more than romance. What if there’s a secret love connection between a supporting character and the antagonist? What if another supporting character confesses a life long crush towards the main character? What if the romantic advances that have been in the story all along were just a ruse to advance the goals of the antagonist? And in Tolstoy’s frosty Russia, all it takes to fall in love with an heiress is sitting at her feet while she mourns her broken heart. That’s it. You might touch her hand! OH THE SCANDAL!

This is Alexander I, the emperor that could do no wrong! (At least according to Tolstoy!)

9. And if you really get stuck, ask Twitter. I love some of the ideas that my followers come up with. And then when I’m done (if I ever get done) I can remind them of their help and maybe gain a reader! Or compare your setting, characters and plot to bees. Tolstoy did it twice. Twice!

10. And then, hit the showers. No kidding. There’s something about hot water and physical touch that stimulates our brain. You may have a new idea for your story when you get out! And when you grab that towel, brush your teeth with running water and realize just how wonderful it is that you have neither lice, dysentery or gangrenous limbs, you may want to write about it.

Remember, the point of participating Nanowrimo is quantity, not quality.

This draft is supposed to be messy, kind of like War and Peace, but with less hype. Use these ideas to up your word count. You can clean it up, make it more plausible, omit the cliched scenes, and take out your rants about Napoleon later.

I got through War and Peace. I started April 1 and I finished April 25. I kept at it because I knew that at the end, I’d be glad I finished. You can finish Nanowrimo. And at the end of it, let me know. I’ve got a big bottle of vodka to celebrate with you.


Conquering Twitter in 10 Minutes A DayWant more tips on how to make Twitter work for you? CONQUERING TWITTER in 10 MINUTES DAY is available for pre-order! Specifically written for authors, this book will help you think about yourself, your brand, your books, and your goals on Twitter, create great questions to ask and organize your time in such a way that you can get the most out of every tweet.

Available for $.99! 


I am a fiction writing and time management coach. I help time crunched novelists strengthen their craft, manage their time and gain confidence so they can find readers for their stories.

Katharine Grubb is a homeschooling mother of five, a novelist, a baker of bread, a comedian wannabe, a former running coward and the author of Write A Novel In 10 Minutes A Day. Besides pursuing her own fiction and nonfiction writing dreams, she also leads 10 Minute Novelists on Facebook, an international group for time-crunched writers that focuses on tips, encouragement and community. 

Top 10 Things You Can Ask Yourself If You’re Looking For Extra Time To Write by Katharine Grubb, 10 Minute Novelist

Ever since I decided to find 10 minute increments here and there to write, I’ve viewed the time in my day differently.

Now, I compare wasted time to a designer coffee that I might buy daily without thinking about it.

I’d like to suggest that in the area of time management, conscientious writers need to consider the latte factor.

I did not coin the term Latte Factor. It was, however coined by financial guru David Bach. In his book, The Automatic Millionaire, Bach claims that consumers spend little bits of money here an there, say, buying daily designer drinks.

He claims, and rightfully I think, that these little bits add up. Wise consumers should see that this “money leak” is a problem in the long term. His suggestion is that consumers take active steps to stop those money leaks so that they can save money, perhaps significant amounts.

I’d like to suggest that we do the same with time.

We get only 24 hours in a day and we have to spend it somewhere. This may take some soul searching, but if you are really serious about pursuing your writing dreams, you’re going to have to make time for it.

Great gifts for writers
Mug says, “In the time it takes to drink this coffee, you could have written 300 words.”

I am a firm believer in writing in 10 minute chunks. And like Bach’s Latte Factor, I believe I  can find more time in my day if I look hard for it. 

I also believe that you can find 10 minute chunks of time to write if you are willing to  be brutal with the things that take up your time.

Top 10 Things You Can Ask Yourself If You’re Looking For Extra Time To Write

If You're Looking For Extra Time To Write by Katharine Grubb, 10 Minute Novelist

  1. Can you lower your expectations for the amount of writing you can do in a day?

2. Can you be brutally honest with yourself about those optional activities that you could eliminate, like PTA or that birthday party this weekend?

3. Can you get rid of time wasters, like mindless television?

4. Can you consider everything that you do, from the time you get out of bed each morning to the time you go to bed at night — where the time could be slipping from you?

“Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.”
Anthony G. Oettinger

5. Can you get up a bit earlier? Or go to bed a bit later without affecting your body’s needs?

6. Can you streamline tasks like meals and chores so that they take less time? Can you plan or prepare meals in advance?

7. Can you delegate to your family members any appropriate tasks, like cleaning, laundry or cooking?

“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

8. Can you organize the clutter so that you don’t waste time looking for things?

9. Can you lower your expectations for holidays, extracurricular activities, or family events so that you can have more time?

10. Can you say “no” to people around who need your time and energy?

 

If you can write 10 minutes extra a day, every day for a week, that’s 70 extra minutes you can devote to writing this week. That’s 280 minutes more this month. That’s 14,560 minutes, (or 242.66 hours!) that you can write this year!

Our time is valuable and no matter how hard we try to hold on to it, it marches forward. Rather than giving up altogether, just look for those latte factor moments, make a few changes in your schedule and make the most of it writing!

 

Making Your Author Platform Work for You — A Guest Post by Rachelle M. N. Shaw

By Rachelle M. N. Shaw

In such a highly competitive world of publishing, it’s no surprise that author platforms have taken center stage and become the foundation for any writer’s success.

But who has time to keep up with all the Tweets, Pins, and Instagram posts needed to do so? The truth is, successful authors don’t. They pick the top few social media sites that fit their style and their audience, and they roll with it.

By Making Your Author Platform Work for You --

What an Author Platform Should Do

  • Provide original content fitting of your audience through a well-designed blog or website
  • Become a place where you regularly engage with your followers; this doesn’t mean you sit back and let autoreply do all the work
  • Teach readers about yourself or your writing process
  • Allow readers to connect with you and follow you on various social media
  • Build your credibility as an author
  • Act as a landing site for media and for readers seeking events that you’re hosting; it’s a good idea to include a press release, a bio, and a professional photograph of yourself in at least one place
  • Tastefully link to your books, including where to buy them

Keep in mind that even though your platform is about you as an author, its main focus should always be on your readers and what you can provide them.

Think of it as a job interview—you want to show off your skills while marketing yourself as a prime candidate for the position.

What an Author Platform Shouldn’t Do

  • Spam readers with promotions for other authors—if you want a creative way to spotlight other authors on your website or blog, try author interviews; they’re a fun and easy way to build connections
  • Contain nothing but reblogs from other sites (it’s okay to share some of these too, but the majority of your posts should be ORIGINAL content)
  • Use completely automated responses
  • Be information based only (readers need a way to connect with you personally; a newsletter or blog is a great way to achieve this)
  • Ignore rules regarding grammar, punctuation, and spelling—this will sink your credibility faster than a one-star review
  • Feature a bathroom photo of yourself or one you took while out drinking with your buddies
  • Spam readers with promotional content for your own books (keep it to a minimum with a blurb or tagline and links for buying your books; you can also put your information about your books on a separate, clearly marked page)

Choosing Social Media that Is Right for You

The most important thing to sort out when it comes to choosing which social media you want to use is which ones will cater best to your audience. For me, though I write both YA fiction and general nonfiction about the craft of writing, the age for my target audience for the two overlaps the most for readers between the ages of fourteen and twenty-nine. For that reason, sites like WordPress, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram are my main areas of reach. However, six social media sites still proved to be too many to invest my time in. So I opted to keep things simple and to go with the sites that worked best for me in terms of audience and comfort level: the blog on my website (a WordPress substitute that actually works better since it leads followers directly to my own website), Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook. Through active engagement and regular original content, I’ve been able to build a relationship with my readers on those sites, and my author platform has grown because of it.

The secret to building a successful author platform is this: you don’t have to reach every virtual corner of the Internet to do so.

You just need to delve into those media where you’re mostly likely to reach your target audience and provide them with solid content that they can’t resist.


Rachelle M. N. ShawAn avid reader who has an incurable need to research everything she comes across, Rachelle is an author of paranormal, horror, and writing craft books. Since scribbling down her first story at the age of eight, her love for language and books has blossomed into a full-time career. She currently works as an independent editor and author while being a stay-at-home mom to her children and two rather persnickety cats. When she’s not baking cupcakes or playing in the snow, you can catch her blogging, tweeting, or plotting her next series. Her e-book, The Eyes That Moved, was released in May 2015. It is the first in her three-part paranormal horror series The Porcelain Souls. Part two is slated for release in the spring of 2016.

Rachelle also has two solo short stories and the first in a four-book series about the craft of writing fiction in the works. 

Website: http://rachellemnshaw.com/  

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rmnsediting 

Tumblr: http://fmtpextended.tumblr.com/ 

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/rmnsauthor/ 

 Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Rachelle-M.-N.-Shaw/e/B00X8D3LSY/

Practical Ways To Find Extra 10 Minutes To Make Your Dreams Come True

I get asked often what my Twitter handle, @10MinNovelist means. If I’m feeling generous, I say, “it means I have to write in the smallest bits of time that I can.”

If I’m feeling a bit snarky, I say, “it means I have five children who like to eat and have clean clothes.”

I call myself @10MinNovelist because I’ve decided my writing dreams were worth finding time for.

I think it’s possible for the busiest of people to carve out a little time daily to do something they love — it just takes vision, creative use of time and space, and discipline, but it can be done.

Help! I Don't Have Time To Write!
Click this graphic to join our Facebook Group! (The nicest bunch of writers you’ll ever meet!)

 Want to join other writers who are finding time to make their dreams come true? Join us on Facebook!

 I also discovered that most domestic chores can be done in less than ten minutes.

 Like the following:

Sort the laundry and start one load.

Fold one basket of clean laundry.

Clean the bathroom.

Vacuum one room in my house.

Dust one room in my house.

Clean out the refrigerator.

Unload the dishwasher and fill it again.

Wipe all the kitchen counters and sweep the floor.

Compile a shopping list.

Start (but not complete) dinner.

This isn’t an exhaustive list.

There are many more tasks around the house that, if broken down in small chunks, can be done every other ten minutes.

If I stay focused on these little tasks, for ten minutes at a time, then I’ve only worked an hour and a half. I have the rest of the day to do what I need to do for myself for my family.

If I have a lengthy list, things like call for dental appointments, or write an article or go to the library, I break it down in to the smallest tasks possible, enlist the help of my children and keep setting my timer.

But there’s even more ways to find time! (It helps if your family is cooperative!)

 1. Delegate Your Responsibilities: You don’t have to do everything! This is exactly why I have a lot of children, so we can share the love that is household chores. It’s only too bad that I didn’t give birth to fully grown tween girls (my girls are the best and work almost as hard as I do!)

2. Reward Yourself After An Unpleasant Task With A Little Writing Time I find that I’m a lot more efficient with my housecleaning when I realize that at the end of it, I get to write. So race yourself. Can you fold that basket of laundry in ten minutes? Can you clean that bathroom in seven? It’s not about quality here, people, it’s about getting the chores done so the creative stuff can take place!

3. Train Your Children To Respect Your Passions Little ones can grasp that Mom needs ten minutes, but they can’t get that Mom needs two hours. Make it manageable for them, and it will pay off big for you later.

4. Be selective in returning calls and answering texts right away. If your friends can’t understand this, perhaps they need to become an unsavory character in your novel.

5. Rethink Television Back when I started my quest for ten minutes a day, the most technology I had at my fingertips was DVR. Now, really, there just isn’t any excuse for claiming that your network TV schedule has interfered with your writing time.

6. Limit Your Internet Time. Be brutal in which blogs you regularly follow in your reader. Spend less time than I do on Facebook. Avoid Pinterest.

 

7. Make Meal Prep Time Efficient Advance planning, make-ahead cooking, use of crock pots, bread machines and rice cookers – all of this can make you necessary job of eating (and hopefully eating well) less time consuming  and allow you more time for writing.

8. Plan Your Laundry Like death and taxes, there will always be dirty clothes to wash, so create a daily strategy in which to handle it. By having a plan in place, you will save precious minutes. We’re looking to find small bits of time, right? Not to save the world.

9. Have A Plan Before You Sleep If you wake up in the morning with no surprises (or at least a minimum) then you will save time, guaranteed. It’s also helpful to get the necessities out of the way as soon as you can and free up time later.

10. Have All You Need, Right Where You Need It. The more organized you are, the more time you will save.

Granted, I’m a Stay-At-Home Mom, my daily responsibilities are limited to the domestic. But I’d like to suggest that anyone can find ten minutes.

The busiest person CAN find time to meet their writing goals. Ten minutes a day is better than nothing at all.

Got any more ideas? Leave them in a comment below!

Or, better still, join us on Twitter every Thursday night, 9PM EST for a chat. Follow this hashtag  #10MinNovelists  and join the fun!

 

 


Conquering Twitter in 10 Minutes A DayWant more tips on how to make Twitter work for you? CONQUERING TWITTER in 10 MINUTES DAY is available! Specifically written for authors, this book will help you think about yourself, your brand, your books, and your goals on Twitter, create great questions to ask and organize your time in such a way that you can get the most out of every tweet.

Available for $.99! 


I am a fiction writing and time management coach. I help time crunched novelists strengthen their craft, manage their time and gain confidence so they can find readers for their stories.

Katharine Grubb is a homeschooling mother of five, a novelist, a baker of bread, a comedian wannabe, a former running coward and the author of Write A Novel In 10 Minutes A Day. Besides pursuing her own fiction and nonfiction writing dreams, she also leads 10 Minute Novelists on Facebook, an international group for time-crunched writers that focuses on tips, encouragement and community. 

How To Write In 10 Minute Increments The Messy Way

My timer and I have a love/hate relationship. 

Ever since I started calling myself the 10 Minute Writer, back in 2006, I’ve realized that either I’m racing against the timer, or the timer haunts me for my lack of skill and speed. 

Let's Write (1)

During the first minute, it’s like priming the pump, I just write words, any kind of words.

During the second minute I may think of a metaphor and I get it down quickly. The third minute could be a silly stretch of the metaphor (I always want to stretch my metaphors as far as they can go). And my fourth minute is the second guessing of that metaphor and perhaps where I slip into my frequent neurosis about the original idea and I may check the time to see how much I have left. And the fifth minute I wonder if I’ve got anything else left to say. And the sixth minute is remembering what I’m going to do after this is over. And the seventh minute is a reminder to myself  that hey, at least this smattering of words is something. (And something is always better than nothing!) And the eighth minute is rereading everything I’ve written so far and resisting the temptation to waste my time editing. And the ninth minute I wrestle with more self-doubt. Or maybe I remember the puzzle pieces of a quote I’m going to have to look up. I don’t want to waste time on that yet.  And the tenth minute, of course, I’m inspired because I have an new take on the idea and just about the time that I realize that I can make some sense of this idea, the timer dings and I get to make a choice. Do I go back to the housework or the to-do list, or do I reset my timer? Today I’m going to go to the housework.

Enough 10 minute segments like that and eventually I’ll have something worth editing. And even that happens in 10 minute increments. 

I must keep writing in any increment of time. I must keep putting the words down. I can’t be afraid of stream of consciousness or a brain spew.

Because of this method, I’ve learned to write faster. I’ve learned to ignore the self-editor. I’ve learned to plan my non-writing time effectively so I can make the most of this time.

Do you need help writing in short spurts? 

Try this:

  1. Get your document ready.
  2. Send your inner editor out on a fruitless errand so you can work alone.
  3. Get all those little things you think you need, like the right music, the right font or the right beverage.
  4. Set a timer for 10 minutes.
  5. Describe why this topic you’re writing about (or the story, the character, the setting) is so important.
  6. Go as quickly as you can. Try not to backspace for errors.
  7. If you’re stuck, go back to the beginning and just rewrite what you wrote. You may like a second version better.
  8. Don’t look at the clock if you can.
  9. Add fluff words, descriptions, back story, or nonsense. You need this to teach your self-editor who the boss is, to practice writing quickly and you never know, you may strike gold.
  10. When the timer dings, walk away. Don’t analyze it. Don’t start editing.
  11. Spend the next segment of time doing something mindless or necessary.
  12. When you return to your writing, keep going until you have a natural stopping point. Don’t edit until you have a good chunk to work with.
  13. Repeat as needed.
  14. Be flexible with this system. Figure out what works. You may want more time. You may want less. The point is, you wrote words. That’s all that matters.

My original words are just mediocre. I know that they’re nothing magical. I know that most of them will cut, twisted, refurbished, pitched, smashed and smoothed.

But the point is that I have more now than I did 10 minutes ago. 

Let's Write all the words in 2016 by Katharine Grubb
Click the image above for the link to the fastest growing writers group on Facebook!

You can do this too. 

We have 1,460 10 minute segments available to us in 2016. You’re not going to write in all of them, but you’ll write in some. Do what you can.

I think you’ll be pleased with the results.



Conquering Twitter in 10 Minutes A DayWant more tips on how to make Twitter work for you? CONQUERING TWITTER in 10 MINUTES DAY is available! Specifically written for authors, this book will help you think about yourself, your brand, your books, and your goals on Twitter, create great questions to ask and organize your time in such a way that you can get the most out of every tweet.

Available for $.99! 


I am a fiction writing and time management coach. I help time crunched novelists strengthen their craft, manage their time and gain confidence so they can find readers for their stories.

Katharine Grubb is a homeschooling mother of five, a novelist, a baker of bread, a comedian wannabe, a former running coward and the author of Write A Novel In 10 Minutes A Day. Besides pursuing her own fiction and nonfiction writing dreams, she also leads 10 Minute Novelists on Facebook, an international group for time-crunched writers that focuses on tips, encouragement and community. 

Top Ten Ways You Can Find Time To Write In 2016

My house is a disaster.

We’ve moved furniture around to make room for holiday shenanigans. We’ve forgone our schedules for calorie packed merriment. We’ve embraced the season with so much fervor, our wallets, our stomachs and our emotions are upset in a mostly good way. But the party will be over soon and Monday, January 4, will be here, all bright and shiny, waiting for us to make our mark and start good habits in the New Year.  

Top Ten Ways You Can Find Time To Write in 2016 by Katharine Grubb

We should all collectively rename January and call it “Good Intentions Month” instead.

Because, really, by February we’ve forgotten all we want to accomplish and we’re back into old habits and patterns. We’re not exercising every day. We’re not flossing. We’re not making time to write and pursue our writing dreams. We don’t have the time that we thought we would have to do what we want to do. We’re not writing the words we want to write. We’re not published yet. We never got that dusty manuscript out of the drawer.

I believe, though, that the mid-winter fizzle doesn’t have to come. I believe that with encouragement, practical planning and accountability, you can find time to meet your writing goals for 2016. 

  1. Know your specific goals. You can’t develop a good writing habit if you don’t know what you’re trying to accomplish. Come up with a clear goal for the day. Will you write for ten minutes? Will you write a thousand words? Will you get up an hour early every day?
  2. Have a space that’s just yours for writing. If you don’t have a designated space to write, then it will be much harder to commit to your goals. Take some time to clear off a table, restart that old laptop or unpile the desk. If you take your workspace seriously, you’ll be more motivated.
  3. Have an organized, easy to access document. If you only have a few minutes a day to write, you don’t want to waste it looking for that old file from Windows 98. Get everything together either on your computer or on your desk and keep it handy.
  4. Evaluate your time commitments. This could be the most challenging thing you do in this process. Slowly go through all your obligations and evaluate their importance. If you can say no to an obligation you don’t love or need, then you can fill it up with writing time.
  5. Look for time wasters throughout your day. We’re all given the same amount of time a day. We get no more or less. Make sure every moment of your day is useful. You may be surprised at how much extra time you have if you turn off Netflix, combine errands or stop playing Crossy Road.
  6. Delegate your responsibilities. Is it possible that other members of your household can take over a few tasks? Analyze what can be given to spouses, children or teens. By gently instructing them and trusting them in your tasks, you’re giving them value and having them share your vision.
  7. Communicate your needs to your family. Have you expressed a need to the people that you live with that you want time to write? Can you ask for ten minutes here and there? This also brings them into your life and they be your biggest cheerleaders.
  8. Have low expectations and grace for yourself. Your writing goals for 2016 should not be unrealistic and lofty. A NYT best-selling title in the next 365 days isn’t in your future. Instead, think about small, daily changes that can make a difference in your time management.
  9. Learn to work fast. If you only have ten minutes to write and you’re fussy over each word, you’re not going to go far. Practice free writing or sprinting so you have something on the document. This habit will build your productivity and your confidence.
  10. Silence your inner critic. This is probably the hardest thing to do. Let 2016 be the year that you look your inner critic in the eye, call him a dirty name and kick him out the door. You can’t succeed if you have that inner critic giving you trouble.

I’d love to encourage you in the specifics of all ten with step-by step instructions, personal encouragement and accountability for the first eight weeks of 2016.

I believe that your writing goals are doable. I believe that no one is so busy that they can’t give their dream ten minutes a day. I believe that households can be run, jobs can be attended to, meals can be made, kids loved and an aspiring writer can find ten minutes. 

Please sign up for my Time Management Boot Camp.

Top Ten Ways You Can Find Time To Write in 2016 by Katharine Grubb

Every Monday, for eight weeks, you’ll get an email from me that gives you specific, step by step tips on how to find more time to write. I’ll address each one of the previous ten points. I’ll give you ideas on how to organize your home. I’ll give you resources like time-saving recipes. I’ll give you vision for training your kids to help you with household tasks. The ultimate goal? More time for you and your writing dreams.

Sign up for Time Management Boot Camp! 8 Weeks of Practical Tips & Encouragement to help you find time to write!

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The first email is coming January 4, 2016! Sign up today! 

I love January. It’s so full of hope and promise. This year, I tell myself, will be the year that I hit all those goals, that I become a better person, that I change for the better.

You can do it too! I believe in you! 

#Top10Tuesday Top Ten Things I Think About Daily That Make Me Productive

I am NOT perfect. I make a LOT of mistakes, but one of the biggest things I did right was decide that I would make time for my dreams.

(I wrote a book about it too!) 

Click on the image to get your copy!
Click on the image to get your copy!

I realized that if I was going to actually write in 10 minute increments, I would have to organize my life. Now, I’ve been doing this 10 Minute Writer/Novelists gig for nine years, so I’ve streamlined my procedures pretty well (and THANK GOD, my kids are older!)

But I still have 10 Things I think about on a daily basis that makes my organization and productivity possible.

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 6.17.31 PM

1. I know where everything is.  I minimize clutter, assign places for everything and have no trouble throwing things away.

2. I have a plan every day. Most of the time I keep it in my head — but I also write lists and keep a calendar. I’ve also discovered that daily schedules have to be flexible, especially as my family’s needs change.

3. I know how long each task should take me. I figured this out when I was devoting my housework to 10 minute increments. Ten minute tasks include: starting a load of laundry, folding one basket of clothes, starting  meal prep, cleaning the bathroom, emptying the dishwasher, emptying all trash bins, vacuuming one floor of the house. Having this information helps my plan my day.

“Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies
Clearly, I rushed this graphic and forgot to take that last bit off. Oops.

4. I communicate my time needs to my family. I started training my children when they were young that I would need 10 minute increments to work. Generally speaking, they understood it. Now that they’re older, they have no trouble respecting my need for some alone time.

5. I model good attitudes to my children regarding staying organized. This is the most important item on the list. If I whine and complain about anything I do, my children will, most assuredly echo me. If I want them to be happy cleaner-uppers, then I need to whistle while I work. It’s cheesy, but it works.

6. I set a lot of timers. Thank you Apple! My iPhone has what I need: alarms, timers, and world clocks to tell me if my friends in the UK are up to talk! Oh, I kid. I’ve now graduated from my microwave timer to my phone, which is better because my microwave didn’t fit in my pocket.

Great gifts for writers
Mug says, “In the time it takes to drink this coffee, you could have written 300 words.”

 

7. I plan my meals in advance. Generally speaking, I know what we’re going to eat every meal of the week. I also cook the same things every weekend. I love to be creative in the kitchen, but the “old standbys” go faster. I have a couple dozen recipes that I always have ingredients for and I’ve practiced cooking them so often, that I’m pretty fast at it. I also couldn’t function without my crock pot and rice cooker.

8. I don’t waste time shopping or doing other errands. I keep orderly lists and go out as little as possible, combining as many errands as I can. If an item didn’t make the list, then it has to wait a week. It’s brutal, but that’s why we buy four gallons of milk at a time.

9. I multitask if possible. I use down time to get stuff done, but I also understand when multi-tasking isn’t such a great plan.

10. I delegate household tasks. This is my secret weapon. My kids have always had a lot of responsibility around the house and the older they get, the more jobs are given to them. Some people think having five children is hard work, are you kidding me? Because I do have five, I have an army that cleans the house every Saturday morning, tidies every afternoon and cleans the kitchen twice a day. How do small families do it?

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 1.30.44 PM

All of these took practice, but none of them were too difficult. If you’re  new to the idea of working in 10 minute increments (and perhaps a little intimidated) pick one of the things on this list and practice it for a few weeks until you gain confidence. Then pick up the other one.

know you can find time to pursue your dreams.  Even in as little as 10 Minutes a Day!

TODAY IS RELEASE DAY! Write A Novel In 10 Minutes A Day is NOW Available!

Today I release my first non-fiction book, Write A Novel In 10 Minutes A Day! 

You can purchase it or see the reviews here! 

Click on the image to get your advance copy!

This is the story of how I got the contract — it’s a great one! 

Also? I created a Facebook group for writers who have no choice but to write in 10 minute increments! Wanna join over 1000 writers worldwide as we encourage each other to pursue our writing dreams?  Click here! 

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 1.30.44 PM

 

Are you a blogger?  Would you like to help promote this book? Leave a comment! I’d love to work with you!

Are You A Blogger? Would You Review My New Book?
Blogger Wanted! Leave a Comment & I’ll contact you!

How Your Wasted Time is Like An Overpriced Latte From A Designer Coffeeshop

 

Ever since I decided to find 10 minute increments here and there to write, I’ve started viewing the time in my day differently.

Now, I compare wasted time to a designer coffee that I might buy daily without thinking about it. I’d like to suggest that in the area of time management, conscientious writers need to consider the latte factor.

I did not coin the term Latte Factor. It was, however coined by financial guru David Bach,In his book, The Automatic Millionaire. In his bookhe claims that consumers spend little bits of money here an there, say, buying daily designer drinks.

The Latte Factor of Time Management
The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach

He claims, and rightfully I think, that these little bits add up. Wise consumers should see that this “money leak” is a problem in the long term. His suggestion is that consumers take active steps to stop those money leaks so that they can save money, perhaps significant amounts.

I’d like to suggest that we do the same with time.

We get only 24 hours in a day and we have to spend it somewhere. This may take some soul searching, but if you are really serious about pursuing your writing dreams, you’re going to have to make time for it.

Great gifts for writers
Mug says, “In the time it takes to drink this coffee, you could have written 300 words.”

I am a firm believer in writing in 10 minute chunks. And like Bach’s Latte Factor, I believe I  can find more time in my day if I look hard for it. 

I also believe that you can find 10 minute chunks of time to write if you are willing to  be brutal with the things that take up your time.

We don’t have any carry over minutes, or um, “milky minutes” to put toward the next day.

 

How do you find extra time to write?  

  • Lower your expectations for the amount of writing you can do in a day.
  • Be realistic about your firm commitments. Infants and toddlers take up a LOT of time.
  • Be honest with yourself about those optional activities that you could eliminate, like PTA or that birthday party this weekend.
  • Get rid of time wasters, like mindless television.
  • Consider everything that you do, from the time you get out of bed each morning to the time you go to bed at night — where is the time slipping from you?
  •  Can you get up a bit earlier? Go to bed a bit later without affecting your body’s needs?
  • Can you streamline tasks like meals and chores so that they take less time?
  • Can you delegate to your family members any appropriate tasks, like cleaning, laundry or cooking?
  • Can you multi-task in anyway, say, listen to audiobooks during your drive to work? Or, watch your favorite TV show while you fold laundry?
  • Can you organize the clutter so that you don’t waste time looking for things?
  • Can you plan or prepare meals in advance?
  • Can you restrict those times of dawdling or idling?
  • Can you lower your expectations for holidays, extracurricular activities, or family events so that you can have more time?
  • Can you say “no” to people around who need your time and energy?

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  •  Is there down time in your commute? Do you have to regularly wait on something or someone?
  • Can you group daily, weekly and monthly tasks together so that time isn’t wasted?
  • Can you organize carpools and babysitting with other families so that each of you have more time?

At our house, nearly every second of the day is assigned somehow.  I know when I’m getting up, when I’m making breakfast for 7 (we eat the same thing every morning, so I don’t waste time thinking about it), when  I’m cleaning up (big girls clean up after breakfast, boys clean up after lunch, I clean up after supper).  I know what I do after breakfast, what my homeschool morning looks like, what my afternoon looks like and what my evening looks like. I know when we clean the house (Saturdays) and when we do the laundry.  I’ve done my best to manage my time, but even then, things come up, plans go awry, someone gets sick or something else happens.

The point is that I’m doing my best to control my time so that when I sit down to write, I can actually accomplish something.

When it all works well, I’m happy, my family learns responsibility, my home is organized and my writing gets done. You can meet your writing goals in small chunks of time. It takes hard work, organization and discipline, but it can be done.

It’s just too bad I can’t bank time to go over the next day.