One of my super powers as a writer is being able to use 5 minutes, sometimes once a day, but often multiple times a day. I honed this power when I was a stay at home mom with 5 kids under the age of 8. I didn’t have a full day to write. I often didn’t have an hour. Sometimes I did, and I tried hard to manage my life around one hour of writing a day. But the truth is, a lot of my writing was done in five minute spurts throughout the day.
Write when you have a few seconds before your next phone call.
Write when you’re on the toilet.
Write when you’re waiting in line at the grocery store.
Write when you’re at the doctor’s office and the nurse has stepped away to call the doctor in.
Write when you think it’s useless to only get one sentence down.
Write when you only have the idea of an idea.
Write bits and pieces of books or poems that don’t go together.
Write in your journal.
Write letters to other people, to yourself, to your children, to your future.
Write while you’re cooking (yes, you will sometimes burn dinner).
Write on your notes app on your phone.
Write on a tiny little notebook with a tiny little pen that you can put into your purse or pocket.
Don’t write while you’re driving or even stopped at a light, however (I did this once and I don’t recommend it).
My point here is that a lot of the time we are limiting ourselves by imagining that we have to do it “right.” That things have to be just so. That we have to be sure that it’s good.
And the truth is that creativity is sometimes at its best when it’s spontaneous, unplanned, not edited, not shaped, but just flowing out of us.
It is one of the strangest discoveries of my life to realize this, that I cannot tell the difference between writing I thought was good while I was writing it and writing I thought was terrible while I was writing it. It doesn’t matter if you have ten hours or ten seconds. Get some words in. You will be surprised when you reread them. You may find yourself writing new things entirely. Or writing things entirely differently. You may finally find your voice.
Just do this experiment with me. For one day, give up sitting down for a long stretch and plan other things in your day. Just write in between things, and don’t let your conscious, editor brain have anything to do with it. I’d love to hear how it goes.
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