How To Dream Big And Work Small, Even in 10 Minute Increments

How can I think of small increments when I see the year’s calendar before me?

My mental map is 7 spaces wide and 52 spaces long (Minus three days!) and it’s pretty intimidating! It spans before me, each empty space is full of potential and hope.

I used to tremble at the thought of a new year.

I used to be fearful for all the changes that could take place or the milestones that I would cross, or the decisions I would have to make.

Maybe it’s because I’m older and many of my life’s milestones are behind me. Or maybe it’s because I’m wiser and I know what I can and can’t handle.

How can 2017 give me something that can destroy me?  How can I meet my writing goals with all those blank days staring me in the face?

How To Dream Big And Work Small, Even in 10 Minute Increments

I’m not going to let fear dominate my blank calendar.

This means a lack of confidence, a lack of discipline and a lack of motivation  has to stay in 2016.  I have to be aware of what triggers me and avoid it. This means I have to stop panic before it overcomes me. 

I’m not going to let my blank calendar be ruled by this lack. 

This means that I’m going to create doable, manageable plans for each week and each month and tackle them one word at a time. I can’t manage 365 days, but I can manage those 10 minute increments.

I’m not going to let my blank calendar be ruled by foolishness. 

This means I’m not going to waste excessive time on mindless activities.  I’m not going to trust my childish impulses.  This means I’ll set my timer and keep myself focused. For each of these successful 10 minute increments, I’ll remember how good it feels to achieve my goals. That feeling will inspire me to set the timer again. 

I’m not going to let my blank calendar be ruled by laziness. 

This means I’m not going to justify my lack of discipline.  I’m not going to be satisfied with figurative flab in my life. This means I choose order and self-discipline. Days and weeks and months of 10 minute increments piled up on top of each other is pretty inspiring. I want to make them all count. 

I’m not going to let stress dominate my blank calendar. 

This means I’m not going to overcommit my time. I’m going to lower my expectations in certain things. This means I’m going to focus on people more and tasks less. I take it 10 minutes at a time. 

I have nothing to be afraid of.

I’m also going to learn the lessons from other years: 

  • Stop comparing myself to others and what they accomplish
  • I’ll silence the inner editor so I can go faster
  • Stop focusing on what is overwhelming and start with what I know
  • Understand that not every 10 minutes is going to be kittens and rainbows.
  • Don’t wait for inspiration. Meet it at the computer.
  • Use story outlines to help.
  •  I’ll make small daily goals, because every little bit counts
  • Don’t let bad days stop me.

What’s on your calendar?

What would you love to say about your 2017 this time next year?

What choices can you make to start off right?


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. 

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