Although I discussed the issue of grabbing time where you find it before, I’ve got to talk about it one more time.

One of the first principles I teach in group and individual creativity coaching is that we can’t wait for large swaths of time to begin our projects. This is true of everyone with the exception of people: about to retire, about to go on sabbatical, about to lose their jobs, or who are a creative pro or semi-pro. If you are not one of those, you have to make the best of the time you are given in the midst of  everything else you do.

Frequently I’m challenged:   “Can you really get anything done in 5 minutes?”  Well, you can’t get a big project done in 5 minutes for sure but you can chip away at: preparation, exploration, sketching, planning, and problem solving in 5 minutes. Of course, 5 minutes is an extreme. I never claim that 5 minute blocks are the secret of success. My point is to get people thinking about how they can practically start and keep moving a creative project forward in the face of their other demands. Most of us can carve out small blocks of time in our daily lives. I’m not alone in my thinking. For writers, we have these books (and many others):

– The Weekend Novelist – Robert J. Ray

– First Draft in 30 Days – Karen Wiesner

– Writing Your Dissertation in 15 Minutes a Day – Joan Bolker

How can mini-sessions move your project forward? Think this through for your area of creative work.  Do a search engine search on terms like “art in 30 minutes a day”, “creative mini-sessions”, or other terms about working in a quick, focused ways.  Look at online booksellers for books in your field on how to do dice up creative work. Ask around your creative community and find out how others pull it off.

I really think the challenge should not be: “Can you really get anything done in 5 minutes?” but “Are you really getting anything done by waiting for large blocks of time that never come?”

Book in a Month: The Fool-Proof System for Writing a Novel in 30 Days

2 thoughts on “Five Minutes of Creative Work…Are You Serious?

  1. I’ve read countless stories about people who have written and completed books by putting in 30-60 minutes a day before they go to their real jobs. This is inspiring, and your article here is a great reminder that we can get things done in small chunks of time. The only challenge for me, though, is staying on course. I find that if I skip a few days of working on my non-fiction book, I lose focus and continuity, and it’s difficult to keep up. Do you have any tips on this?

  2. Bird by Bird is another book in this category. Excellent and short read, by the way.

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