Writing 5 Minutes At A Time

There’s a theory that even super busy folks can get project like a blog or a book done if they devote only 5 minutes a day to it. This is more or less in addition to their normal duties. It’s purpose is to find a way to make progress on  something important that doesn’t have the urgency of many day-to-day projects and tends to get postponed over and over again.

Too busy making money

When I complained to a Master Mind group that I didn’t have time to work on two important projects because I was too busy with the work that made money, I was challenged. First they both reminded me of the saying, “it’s not about the money.”

This is considered by many to be a spiritual principal in Debtors Anonymous – some days I agree, others I don’t. I’ll discuss this in another post.

Writing 5 minutes at a time

The second suggestion was to work on the two projects – this blog and something I’m calling ‘the family story’ which is, I suppose, a memoir of my family and was actually requested by one of my kids.

My initial response was close to the suggestion was fury. Fortunately we were in a coffee shop and I was brought up to be well behaved – that restriction sometimes does work in my favor. I know my face showed my feelings, and I felt my fists ball. I think I emitted a low growl of some sort. Inside I was feeling that instant pressure of an almost red anger in my chest and throat. I wanted to punch the woman who suggested this and pound my fists and howl. Even in the middle of this internal storm I realized my reaction was way over the top – that ability to watch myself comes, I think, from a fairly steady meditation practice.

The whole idea of trying to write anything of significance or that comes from deep within in miserly five minute increments infuriated me. I’ve had the luxury of spending hours, even days on writing projects. There’s something about entering a creative space knowing you have some serious time. I love writing that way – with ample time to think, pace, and feel.

One of the blessings in my life is that I write pretty easily and I can get lots of good writing done in an hour. The five minute restriction feels cramped and pinchy to me.

Not all bad

This experiment is turning out better than I expected, although I still don’t like it.

One of the things I’m learning is that these projects are important – more important to me than I realized. That’s good to know. I had allowed them to become almost non-existent in the flurry of every day life.

I’ve also come to recognize that 5 minutes can be a productive as well as creative amount of time.

Part of the way to get writing done under this sort of deadline is to always leave myself knowing where I’m going when I next write. I learned that a long time ago about any writing project. If I leave it knowing what’s next it’s much easier to get started again. Turns out that’s extra double true when writing in short bursts.

Still highly frustrating

Although it’s still highly frustrating, I have to admit it’s working. I now have three projects underway that “I don’t have time for.” This blog, the Family Story, and a money autobiography I’ve committed to write. It hasn’t been quite daily, but almost. If it’s a day I work, then it’s a day I do the combined 15 minutes.

I use Toggl to track the time and although tempted to cheat, I’m not – not by more than a minute or so. I’ve thought about extending the time to 10 minutes, or 30 minutes or some such, but I’m getting intrigued with this approach.

How far can I take it? I don’t know yet, but I’ve got a blog post done in five five minute sessions. Except for today. I’m about to hit the publish button and I’ve been working a bit over eight minutes. Then I’m going to see how long it actually takes to post on social media and do a quick newsletter.

What do you think of this approach?

Love, blessings, and abundance,

Anne Wayman: When Grandmother Speaks



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