Recently while talking to a friend about work/life balance and trying to make small changes in our lives, we talked about writing. I asked how the writing was going and this friend described the traditional process.
“In the past, I would typically write every few months or so, and attempt to write a novel in a weekend.”
“How did that work out?”
“It was crap.”
As we talked, I thought about how most of my life mirrors this process. Life is busy. There are things I would like to do, they build up, and then I try to do it all in a weekend.
The result: crap.
My friend described a new process. Write each day for 5 minutes. Don’t try to write a novel. Just write. If you skip a day, the next day is not 10 minutes, each day the clock resets: just 5 minutes. This small decision each day is not overwhelming, but begins to create a regular outlet. A pattern. A new way of living.
I began to think about how simple yet effective this approach can be, especially when trying to manage our busy lives. Do you need to spend more time with someone, spend time quietly reflecting, or [insert your particular thing here]? Why not start with 5 minutes a day.
Recently I got an update.
“I am up to 18 minutes a day. Some days I skip, but now I look forward to writing.”
“How is the writing going?
“Still mostly crap, but sometimes there is some good stuff in there.”
The result: only mostly crap, with some good stuff. Now that is progress! When we talked the other week, the 18 minutes has grown to 23 minutes. You could start today, take your 5 minutes and do something you have been meaning to do. Tomorrow try it again, and the next day, and the next day. You may just find some good stuff in there.
P.S. It was this friend and this process that got me to stop dreaming about it and actually write this blog. Thanks.