The 15 minute habit

Ooh, this post  by Alice Bradley is good. Yes, it’s advice I’ve heard before, but put in a very compelling way.

Also, I thought it might be timely… By this point in November, many of us are despairing of ever hitting our NaNoWriMo (or KazNo!) targets or may even have given up the challenge completely.

While I love the crazy-beautiful insanity of NaNoWriMo, it isn’t for everyone. It is, after all, a massive challenge. If you don’t manage it, does that make you less of a writer? Less of a creative person? No!

What I love about Alice Bradley’s advice (in a nutshell; cultivate a creative habit of writing for 15 minutes every day) is its kindness and inclusivity. Almost everyone can carve 15 minutes from their schedule.

What I also love is that this kind of ‘low-bar’ setting has worked for me in the past when I’ve been feeling low or stuck in a rut. It’s such an easy target (no set word count, just spend 15 minutes on your writing) that it’s embarrassing not to hit it. And if you do miss a day? Well, there’s tomorrow. And the day after. It’s not a short-term challenge, it’s developing a creative habit for life.

[Rabbit hurdling image courtesy of The Telegraph]


5 responses to “The 15 minute habit”

  1. Matthew Dashper-Hughes Avatar
    Matthew Dashper-Hughes

    So there are only 24 hours left on NaNoWriMo. I am not Jack Bauer and so I have to admit that, first time out of the box, I have…erm… failed spectacularly to achieve it and nor am I going to.

    I have, however, created 28,700 words of shiny brand spanking new novel since I started on 09.11.11 (not to mention the 8,400 words of planning which outlines the whole of said novel), so I don’t feel particularly like a failure.

    In fact, I feel kind of good about it all.

    Now all I have to do is write 1,300 more words tomorrow and I can at least enter KazNo with my head held high (only to be told that what I have written so far is unutterable cack, I shouldn’t wonder…)

    Whatever the outcome, though, THANK YOU so much for putting me on to this whole NaNo thing.

    As you say, it is INSANE; but such a rewarding thing to try and do.

    Even when one fails, one fails with something new to show for it (even if it’s not as big or good a new thing as we might have liked…)

  2. Sarah Avatar

    Wow, Matthew; that word count is fabulous. It would be brilliant even if I didn’t know how busy your life is! I will be limping through the KazNo finish line with about 23,000 of new words (and they are on different projects, too, which is less satisfying). Still. I do like a deadline/challenge and as you said, I’m failing with something to show for it. So ‘yay us’! And here’s to a productive and creative December… x

  3. Matthew Avatar

    I like your idea of a personal challenge between us…. completion deadline end of Jan…

  4. Alistair Hughes Avatar

    Jane Espenson does something similar, where every day she tweets that everyone should start a quick writing sprint for half an hour or so, then asks you to report back. I would say that this was stolen from the Agile methodology used in IT but i doubt Jane has ever heard of it, let alone ripped it off.

  5. Alistair Hughes Avatar

    Love the rabbit hurdling pic, Ben will love it. I like the fact that, even for rabbits, they feel they need a laser-triggered timing system…