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