Must-Haves For The Time-Crunched, 10 Minute Novelist

Are you time-crunched and your dreams are nearly forgotten?

Only read this if you want to get serious about your big, big dreams. Read this if you have no idea how you’ll find a way in your time-crunched day. Only read this if you’d call yourself a 10 Minute Novelist.

I believe that you can be time-crunched and still pursue your dreams.

This blog post (and the website, and the Facebook group) is for the people who will do what it takes to pursue their dreams, who are willing to think through their lives, their responsibilities and their fears to come up with a practical plan to work slowly, ten minutes at a time, to accomplish it.

If you think that novels just kind of write themselves, please, for the sake of all that’s beautiful, go to this blog instead. 

Writing a novel takes hard work

It takes order, discipline, and planning. Writing a book takes courage and determination and tenacity. Anyone can do it, even if they have only ten minutes a day. (How do I know this? I wrote a novel in ten minute increments. Hence the name of this blog!)

So, if you’re serious,  then you MUST HAVE these things. Ready? 

1.  You need a consistent place to work. (Your office? Your home computer?) My workspace used to be the end of my kitchen counter, which was perfect for watching the kids while I worked, but not so perfect when the spaghetti sauce went flying. Now I have a beautiful corner office in my bedroom. This is where I go to work. And I can work for longer than ten minutes at a time!  Why do you need a consistent place to work? Your space is the place that you find the concrete reassurance that your dreams are worth it. Also your space should be yours and only yours. Your space, no matter how small, tells your brain, your will and your family that this is yours and it should be respected. If you don’t have a space of your own to work, drop everything and create a space now. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it does have to be yours. 

2. You need a timer.  If you can only work for ten minutes a day, then you need to time yourself. Use your phone, your microwave, an egg timer, three songs on Pandora, whatever it takes. Why? You’re time crunched. And your timer is that little tool you can use to track yourself. It’s likely you waste time during the day. If anything your timer will remind you to stop playing Farmville and get back to work. And when the timer dings? Organize your whole life better so you can make the most of your time. 

3. You need a vision. What is your raison d’etre for writing?  Is it a cozy mystery? A romantic comedy? A Amish vampire dystopian series? Take more time to study your genre, learn craftsmanship, and be a student of writing, so can accomplish this big, big dream of yours. I want to be a novelist (actually I want to rule the world, but I’ll start with the world of fiction) so I have to set aside ten minutes daily to take one more small step toward my big vision. Why is this important? If you sit down to write and you don’t know what you’re going to write, or why you’re doing it in the first place, you’ll just sit there. Take the time to think through the whys of your writing desires. Then think specific titles. Then open a new page and get to it.

4.  You need some sort of organization.  You need a document file or a notebook or something that you can find easily when it’s time to write again.  If it takes you 20 minutes to find the file, you’re kind of missing the point. You need to be able to sit down, type like a crazy person, and then get back up again. Why? Because one of the biggest time wasters we have is disorganization. You are already time-crunched, don’t add negligence or sloppiness to the mix.

5. You need community. This is perhaps the most important thing on this list. You need to know other writers. In a community you can learn from them. You need to be encouraged. You need to share in each other’s defeats and victories. How do you get into one? Oh, it couldn’t be easier! (Click here to join my group, 10 Minute Novelists). 

6. You need to put your butt in the chair and work. Sounds daunting? It’s okay. All you need is ten minutes! The why  of this should be obvious. But there is something about momentum. More than once, I haven’t felt like writing a word, yet because I forced myself to go for at least ten minutes, I was productive. I had primed my creative pump enough that I wanted to keep going when I finished. A little something is way better than nothing.

This is how it begins. Little by little, you work at that goal and someday, maybe not too long from now, you’ll have a story, perhaps a novel. Then beta readers, then you’ll be talking to graphic designers and posting your reviews. You’ll be a novelist! 

Your big, big dream can be accomplished if you have those six things and you’re willing to work. 

And it is so worth it. 


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.

Katharine Grubb is an author, poet, homeschooling mother, camping enthusiast, bread-baker, and believer in working in small increments of time. She leads 10 Minute Novelists, an international Facebook group of time-crunched writers. She lives with her family in Massachusetts.