Can You Really Write A Novel In 10 Minutes A Day?
In 2006, I decided that despite having five children under eight years old, I would make time to pursue my dreams of writing.
I don’t have an office. Instead I have a kitchen, in which I spend my day homeschooling my five children and baking bread. My interruptions are more numerous than the mateless socks in my endless piles of laundry.
Yet, despite this, I finished my first novel in 2011, I post to my blog three times a week, I contribute to my church’s parenting blog, I tweet, Facebook and make dinner every night.
I decided that my dreams were worth fighting for. I decided that doing something was better than doing nothing. And I decided that if I waited until I had the perfect conditions, I would never get that novel written. I am hardly Super Mom. I get it all done because I do it in ten minute increments.
My imperfect system looked like this: I set the timer on my microwave for ten minutes and then started writing. Once the timer went off, I reset it and emptied the dishwasher or folded a load of laundry or started a meal. I also checked on the children and made sure no one was bleeding. Once that timer dinged, I went back to the computer and wrote a few sentences out. (Woe to the child who interrupts me while I write!) I do this all afternoon and somehow, everything gets done.
I developed this system because I wanted to do it all. I wanted to give all to my family and pursue my writing dreams. I knew that if I looked for big chunks of time, it would never come. So my theory was that ten minutes were better than none at all. And if I did this six times, I would have written for an hour.
In 2008, I began a blog, www.10MinuteWriter.com that chronicled my ups and downs in this system. And believe me, it isn’t perfect.
In 2012, I upgraded to a desk, still in the kitchen, but a desk nonetheless. That summer, I wrote Falling For Your Madness and self-published it the following Christmas.
In January of 2013, I entered Falling For Your Madness in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest where it went as far as the quarterfinals. More importantly, because I made a big fuss over it on my blog, I got the attention of the good folks at Hodder and Stoughton ( a major publishing house in the UK.)
They approached me to write a non-fiction book on how I could accomplish writing dreams in very small increments. In the fall of 2013, I signed a contract for the book Write A Novel In Ten Minutes (and subsequently had to get an agent! I also signed with Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary!) But then, I had to actually write the book!
In March of 2014, drafting of Write a Novel In Ten Minutes began. Unfortunately, while carrying a bunch of coats down a flight of stairs, and not looking to see where I was going, I fell and broke my ankle in two places. So what does this mean for a mother of five? Someone else is doing the laundry.
It was during this season of being off my foot, and on my computer, that I began to meet people all over the world who were just as time-crunched as I was. When I met them on Twitter, and they saw my handle, 10 Minute Writer, they often said something like, I wish I had ten minutes to write! Or, how can you find even ten minutes? Or, Can you really accomplish a lot in a little amount of time? I decided it was time to get all of these people in one place, like a Facebook group!
On March 28, 2014, the Facebook group 10 Minute Novelists was born. By fall of 2014 over 500 time-crunched writers of all kinds, from all over the world, were in it. The active, lively group had three goals: tips, encouragement and community. They accomplished these goals through weekly chats on Facebook and Twitter, daily memes like #MondayBlogs, Buddy Tuesday and #AuthorHappiness. As the group grew, it became evident that these writers (not just novelists) found value in crowd sourcing their knowledge about writing, publishing, marketing and social media. Group members are encouraged to engage with each other to solve problems in any of these areas, offer advice, critique each others’ work and build relationships. 10 Minute Novelists became far bigger than a blog and far better than a fan club.
With my staff of volunteers, I moderate the Facebook group and lead the chats, but I have a lot of help. Other members lead book clubs, organize critique groups, hold chats in more convenient time zones and create group file sharing. The website, www.10minutenovelists.com is the extension of the Facebook group and serves the same three purposes: tips, encouragement and community. Writers of all kinds will find valuable information here.
But the real fun is over on Facebook. Join us there: 10 Minute Novelists. Katharine and her enthusiastic friends have proven that writing goals can be accomplished in small, consistent increments. They’ve also proven that they can have fun doing it.
In 2015, Write A Novel in Ten Minutes A Day was released! The 60,000 word book has dozens of short exercises on how to set up your workspace, find the right writing tools, organize your time, sculpt your story, determine your genre and plot, develop your characters, organize your three act structure, fine tune your dialogue, revise, edit and then explain different publishing options.