Tuesday, April 17

Guest Author Christina Lee: Just Give Me Ten Minutes

By Christina Lee

Today's guest fits right in with how to be more a more productive writer, and in fact, her tip works for more than just writing. I put it into practice around the house when I first got this post a few weeks ago, and it's helped me keep up with my chores. I urge you to try it as well.

Christina Lee is a freelance writer for the Sun News and Young Adult novelist repped by Amy Tipton of Signature Lit. She blogs at www.write-brained.com and also owns a hand-stamped jewelry business called Tags-n-Stones, which requires her to stamp lots of letter and words onto pieces of sterling silver. Notice a pattern here?

Take it away Christina...

I was in a writer’s slump recently. On sub with one manuscript, another waiting in the queue to be read by my agent, and I had come up with no less than three new ideas. That in itself was not the problem. That was a goldmine. The issue was my floundering on getting any of them going beyond the first few pages.

I chose the manuscript that seemed most promising, but found myself staring at a blank page day after day. Writers should be energized by the very act of writing, yes? Yet sometimes—during these spaces in between—we have to motivate ourselves to get words down on the page.

I will admit that I’ve always wrestled with first drafts. I’m a much better reviser. In fact, I thrive on the very act of editing. I could alter, improve, master a sentence into infinity. But in this case, I couldn’t revise a thing unless I got words down on the page.

Then I remembered my late Grandma A. She taught me an easy concept that I used for many facets of my life. It was after I complained about the never-ending chore of cleaning my house. She said, “Why waste your family time on the weekends? Here’s what you do. Every Thursday night, set the timer for ten minutes. Clean what you can before the timer goes off. You’ll be amazed by the results. All you need is a solid ten minutes of concentrated energy.”

Once I took her advice, I used it for other everyday struggles. Huge cleaning projects (like the basement), working out, books from my TBR pile, or watching a movie on the maybe list. Most times the same thing would happen. I’d set the timer for ten minutes. In that short amount of time, I’d get into the groove of reading, cleaning, working out, or watching that movie. The timer would buzz and I’d sail ahead.

Grandma’s idea was simple, yet effective. Everyone had ten minutes to spare, right?

Once I remembered Grandma’s advice, I knew I needed to try it with my writing slump. But two rules were necessary. I had to write brand new words. And I couldn’t worry about grammar or punctuation.

And lo and behold, it worked! The timer hummed like a pesky bee and I blazed right on by. I used the timer every day until it was no longer required.

Do you need a timer in your life? You can borrow mine. 

21 comments:

  1. Ha - this is timely (no pun intended)!

    I was preparing a post for my own blog about the myth of multi-tasking, and that we are far more productive when we focus on a single task at time.

    One tip I was going to offer was to use the kitchen timer and during that interval, to work on one thing only, be it writing, housework or budgetting. No excuses, ignore all distractions.

    It does work!

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  2. Fantastic.
    Just the inspiration I need to get going - and not be distracted by reading the newspaper I'm using to collect the ashes, the kids toys on the kitchen table etc

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  3. I love this idea, Christina. I'll be using that today to attack the last of my revisions. Thanks for the tip and good luck with your writing. :)

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  4. This is so true! I've heard this is true about cleaning too. Just set the alarm for 15 minutes and its amazing what can get done! Best of luck on submissions!

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  5. This trick has worked for me over the years for a variety of things! It helps so much to think that you only have to do something for a limited amount of time. And many times, I'll keep going after the timer goes off because I want to!

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  6. Never mind writing, I'm trying this trick for cleaning my house. :D

    Glad you got your groove back, Christina, because dying to read the book.

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  7. What great advice. I will be trying this. Good luck on all your projects.

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  8. Great advice! I love Christina. I kind of already did this, and didn't even realize it.

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  9. I'm with Stina, I'm gonna try this with my house. Lol.

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  10. I've been having trouble getting into the flow of a new WIP. I'm going to try this tonight.

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  11. Perfect! Needed this for my living room and for my writing! Thanks!

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  12. It really is amazing what you can get done in a short amount of time! (When it comes to cleaning, I get everyone else in the house to give ten minutes, too...hehehe!)

    Shelley

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  13. Thanks for sharing! I'll be using this tip!

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  14. This is a really great idea and so true. It doesn't take much time to get much accomplished. Thanks for sharing this tip with us :)

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  15. Thanks for all of your lovely comments over here (and thanks Janice for having me)!

    Hope it works for you, too. Happy writing (and cleaning)!:D

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  16. Great tip Christina. I love it for cleaning my house as well as writing. Thanks for sharing it.

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  17. I do 15 minutes. And it's amazing...I usually finish before it goes off. It's like a race.

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  18. Please excuse me while I go set my timer for 10 minutes. (Seriously, this is a fantastic idea! I can't wait to try it out.)

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  19. Wow, I have exactly your problem! I'm going to try this more regularly. Once you actually force yourself to do it, it comes much easier.

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  20. I'm going to try this for my cleaning! Hope it works; I need to hear about every trick out there!

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