Or How I Found The Time To Make My Writing Dreams Come True
by Katharine Grubb
This is the true account of how a discouraged, time-crunched mother with big, big dreams set her timer and made her writing dreams come true.
Back in 2006, I often watched educational videos with my five children. In those days, when my progeny ranged in age from 0 to 8, if I wasn’t homeschooling, I was cooking, cleaning, supervising, and entertaining. Occasionally, I would remember that I had a flicker of an idea—one that had once burned brightly before fear and disappointment doused the flame—I wanted to write.
I had written before and failed. My pursuits in professional writing had changed to the more practical pursuit of an education degree. My stint as a freelance writer had never taken off. And now, in my mid-30s, my priority was my large family. Even if I had the courage to pick up my passion for writing, I doubted I’d find the time.
Amid the piles of laundry, diapers, and sippy cups belonging to the most brilliant children on earth, I believed if I pursued my own interests, even a little, that the cost to my family would be too great. And I would never succeed anyway, so why try?
But I am a woman of faith. (BTW if you ever meet a woman who homeschools and has an army of children, you can better believe she prays. She prays a LOT!)
I prayed, probably after watching Veggie Tales, A Snoodle’s Tale, that this little flicker of desire to write stories would grow, that I would learn where to begin, and find the time. And how that prayer was answered!
Soon after, I committed to carving out time for myself in my busy day. I already took my children to the library. Why couldn’t I find books on writing? I already had a computer in my kitchen for my recipes and my email. Why couldn’t I create there too? I already read Mommy blogs. Why couldn’t I read writing ones instead?
A long-time fan of the Flylady’s idea of working in small increments, I applied this idea for my personal time. Perhaps in my day, I could write for 10 minutes and then be a mommy for 10 minutes?
By 2008, I had established a routine in my household. I still homeschooled, still cooked every meal, still did the laundry, supervised the cleaning, and cared for my brood, but I strategically orchestrated my busy day so I could get six 10-minute increments a day to work on my projects. I knew I’d never have an uninterrupted hour, but I could train my children to leave me alone for ten minutes at a time. Woe to the child who asked for apple juice in the wrong ten minutes! It worked! Mostly.
Over the next year, I started a blog. I wrote homeschooling curriculum. I even tackled what I thought was impossible, I started a novel. My dreams were coming true every time I set the timer.
In 2013, my debut novel, Falling For Your Madness, was selected as a quarter-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. In the top 50 out of 10,000 entries, I made a big fuss over this on my blog. Perhaps that was the spark that got the attention of a UK publisher. That same week, they contracted me to create Write A Novel In Ten Minutes A Day, I also secured a top literary agent to represent me. (That month was a whirlwind!)
In 2014, in the midst of drafting WANITMAD, I had an idea: I should start online conversations about what it means to be a 10 Minute Novelist. Originally, I intended the community to be a good way to promote the book. In a week, I set up a weekly Twitter chat and a Facebook group. The group, 10 Minute Novelists, was born!
But what I’ve found, after five years, is my online community is much more than a chance to promote myself. From the very beginning, our group has had the purpose of providing tips, encouragement, and community for time-crunched writers everywhere. In the last five years, we’ve grown to nearly 13,000 writers worldwide. We have a website, subgroups, a staff of volunteers, weekly chats, and in the summer of 2018, we hosted our first writing conference.
Most importantly, it’s from this group I’ve found my closest writing friends. It’s in this group I can share my hopes and fears. I can celebrate my #AuthorHappiness. I can encourage time-crunched writers to pursue their dreams in manageable ways. 10 Minute Novelists is so much more than I ever dreamed it would be. I’m blessed and humbled to be a part. (Join us! It’s free!)
I have come a long way since those apple-juice-stained, infant-carrying days. My children are now in high school and college. I have more time than ever to pursue my writing goals. I’ve long stopped believing the lies that my flickers of desire to write are silly or selfish. I’ve settled the doubts and know I deserve to pursue my dreams. I stopped listening to voices that will tell me I’ll fail.
I’m so glad I found those ten minutes to write. My writing career has developed in ways I never imagined. I’m looking forward to what the future holds. And I start, almost daily, by setting my timer and doing what I can in the time I have.
My dreams are worth ten minutes.
And so are yours.