15 Minutes Can Change Your Life

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Filed under: Writing Tips 

timerBeth here. Hi! It’s 1:35pm and I sit in a warm cafe drinking tea and staring out the window. Okay, I’m not actually staring out the window. I’m writing this blog post and time is running out.

I’ve set the timer in my head (you can use the timer in your phone or your kitchen timer) and I am writing this post.

Why? To demonstrate that you too can write a first draft in fifteen minutes.

Yes, fifteen minutes can change your life. You can go from staring at the blank page to filling it with the minutae of your life. Or whatever you’d like to say.

Need ideas? I’m sure my colleague and marketing coach, Cheryl Liquori, will offer some great marketing ideas. To get you started, I would say, “Start with what you know.”

This age-old wisdom that writing teachers hand down to their students is useful in any writing situation. And in the case of writing about our businesses and professions in a blog, writing what we know makes great sense.

So, where to begin? Well, I suggest writing about something your ideal client would find very useful. A tip of the day, for example.

My tip of the day to you is to set your timer for fifteen minutes and write your blog post.

Remember, it’s a first draft, so it doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, allow yourself to write as messily and as incorrectly as possible. In a previous post, I suggested you block off 20-30 minutes. Go ahead and do that if you can.

I recognize that that amount of time can be daunting for someone not used to writing blog posts, and for someone who may agonize over every email she writes. That’s why fifteen minutes is much more doable, IMHO (in my humble opinion).

Some benefits of writing in this short, contained amount of time:

  • you get to stop in fifteen minutes;
  • you may be surprised at how much you can write, even if you’re a slow typist like me (I’m at approx. 319 words and have only writing for nine minutes); and,
  • you may be surprised at what you write, since your self-censorship has to (hopefully) take a back seat while you concentrate on pouring out the words.

Should you edit while you write in this timed writing period?

I highly recommend that you don’t edit, but if you can’t help yourself I understand. Sometimes I go back to fix punctuation and spelling. 

Another important rule of this game:

Please don’t judge yourself or your writing. This fifteen minutes is a judgement free zone. Allow the words to flow and fill the page. As I said above, sometimes you may be surprised at what you generate.

What do you do when the fifteen minutes are up?

Stop writing. Breathe. If you have to, complete your phrase. If you need to, take a little break to clear your head. Then, come back to your post, put on your editing cap, and clean up the grammar, clarify your meaning, and prettify your post.

There you have it! My fifteen minutes are up and I wrote 518 words (before editing). Time to edit and polish and place a pretty image.

Beth out. Happy Writing!

Comments

5 Comments on 15 Minutes Can Change Your Life

    [...] am going through a inspiration dry spell — nothing much I want to talk about, Beth suggested the 15 minutes post. It is 8:45 PM. At 09:00 PM I will have a post ready to be published. Will I be able to write [...]

  1. Ruhani Rabin on Fri, 27th Aug 2010 11:02 pm
  2. Nice one Beth, I agree with the points you have mentioned. I think sometimes narrow down the focus helps before starting the actual writing :)

  3. Beth Barany on Fri, 27th Aug 2010 11:37 pm
  4. Ruhani, I agree that starting with a clear focus helps before the actual writing. In that case, I recommend a 2 minutes timed writing to clarify the topic. Nothing like the timer ticking to get writing! :-)

  5. Alex Jones on Tue, 27th Sep 2011 2:53 pm
  6. Blocking out 15 minutes at a time does sound a lot easier than 20 or 30, and gives me a sense of deadline, too, which is nice! Making a commitment to write a little something everyday, whether it’s for my blog or my novels or just random prose, has been a great help in productivity, too. I’m the sort for whom it’s easy to come up with ideas… It’s getting them down on paper to my satisfaction that’s difficult!

    [...] For example, for many years it has been easy for me to sit down and write for 15-20 minutes. I discovered through teaching our workshops that this ability for many people wasn’t as natural as it was to me. But it can be learned! You can write easily 500-600 words in that length of time. And I wrote a post about that: 15 Minutes Can Change Your Life. [...]