These authors prove that a few minutes of writing a day can add up

Feb 26, 2015 at 2:17 p.m. ET

I've always been impressed by the way my husband uses every minute of the day to accomplish things. Even if he only has a few minutes between appointments, he turns to his computer and does a project or he picks up something and reads it. Those minutes add up and I have been following his example, working on my books and my columns even when I only have little bits of time available.

A few short minutes

One of our very successful writers, Diane Stark, talked about this process in her story called "A Few Short Minutes" in our book, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Writers. Diane had an epiphany, comparing writing to football: "A touchdown is nothing more than getting the ball across the field, yard by precious yard. Sometimes it happens in one amazing, record-setting pass. Other times, it occurs more slowly, just a few yards at a time." But six points are six points, right? She said, "I thought about all the little blocks of time in my life that I thought were too short to use. I realized they were too long to waste. My life circumstances don't provide me with many big chunks of time to write. So I needed to use the small chunks productively."

She started writing a few minutes at a time, and reported, "Finally, minute by minute, word by word, I was writing. I was submitting my work and getting it accepted. It was my own personal end zone, and it felt nothing less than amazing."

Image: Chicken Soup for the Soul

The man in the green pickup

Anna S. Redsand had another story on the same theme in the same book. "The Man in the Green Pickup" was about a man who wrote in his truck every day during his lunch break. He only had 15 minutes left by the time he finished eating, but he diligently wrote on a yellow legal pad, and after two years he had written a book and found a publisher. This motivated Anna, a single mother working full time as a school counselor, to write the inspirational book for teens she had in mind. She realized that she had a 20-minute window of opportunity every morning before she left for work. That was five minutes more than the man in the green truck. According to Anna, "Those 20 minutes a day turned me into the writer I am today." It took her two years to complete her book, Viktor Frankl: A Life Worth Living, but she did, and it was published by Clarion Books.

The English writer Charles Caleb Colton said, "Much may be done in those little shreds and patches of time which every day produces, and which most men throw away." I think that holds true for all our endeavors, not just writing.

Find a few minutes to read this uplifting story from Chicken Soup for the Soul: Parenthood, "10 Precious Minutes."

Image: lina aidukaite/Getty Images