At our last writing group meeting, we talked about finding time to write. Several members shared their writing process. Some outlined, some didn’t. One member wrote on her phone in her car, before she started work each day. She said: “You can write more than you’d think in ten minutes a day.”
That got me thinking about my own writing process — and it helped me to change my process. I was in the habit of putting off writing, until I had at least an hour to devote to it. Over the past few months, finding that hour — even on a weekend — has been a hard challenge.
When I did manage to find an hour or two free, the thought of all that I had left to do on my current novel made me so tired that I decided to leave it. I couldn’t accomplish much in an hour — I couldn’t even reread what I’d written — so what was the point?
An easy writing process: 5o words
If you’ve been putting off writing too, until you have “more time”, here’s the process I decided on after our last meeting.
It’s simple: all I need to do is write 50 words a day.
That’s it. That’s the entire process, and I’ve been following it for just over two weeks. I’m thrilled.
The hardest part of any writing process is getting started
Here’s the beauty of my “50 words” process: it eliminates procrastination. I can write those 50 words anywhere:
- While I’m waiting for a meeting to start;
- When I’m hanging on the phone;
- First thing in the morning — even before I make coffee;
- Last thing at night, before I switch off my bedside lamp.
In short, you can write your 50 words anywhere, anytime.
Here’s what surprised me. If I can write 50 words, I can write 100. Even 500 words, when inspiration strikes.
The decision to write just 50 words — any words — a day means that the pressure is off, and that’s been a revelation. It’s made me much more relaxed about writing.
With this process, you can write more words a day if you wish, but it’s not required.
How to set up your own 50 words process
Want to try it? If you haven’t been writing, and feel guilty about that, give it a try.
Firstly, you need to set up the process:
- Got a work in progress? Reread it — and write your 50 words. If it’s been a while since you worked on the project, you’ll have forgotten your characters, and your decisions about your plot. Make notes while you reread — 50 words of notes still counts as 50 words;
- Starting a new project? Write 50 words of an outline; or start writing; or make 50 words of notes on some research.
Next, make your current writing project portable. I’m writing my novel in Evernote. You could write in Scrivener, or just use text files in Dropbox, or Trello. You need the ability to write on any device, so that you can grab any free minutes you have during the day.
Your 50 words a day add up
I’ve been keeping track of my word count, and over the past couple of weeks I’ve written 2,500 words. None of those words would have been written if I’d stayed with my former writing process of demanding at least an hour of “free” time to write.
Had I written just 50 words a day, in two weeks I’d still have 750 words, which were 750 words more than I’d managed before that. As it turned out, I managed to triple my word count goal.
If you feel you have absolutely no time to write, try this simple, undemanding writing process. Let me know how it works out for you. 🙂