Now that the month of holiday festivities is over, we’ve had a weekend to re-cooperate, and Monday to catch up with routine projects, today I am preparing to work on the year ahead. First, however, I am taking this month to catch up on projects that I started last year, but didn’t get a chance to finish. Also, I am cleaning out computer files. Even more important, I am cleaning my mental and physical space of junk (toxins) that built up in the past year.
A number of years ago I came across a site run by the Fly Lady. On this site I learned how to take the stress out of organizing and cleaning. The idea was to do something for fifteen minutes and only that one thing for fifteen minutes. It all starts with taking everything out of your sink and shining your sink. The dishes are put aside and the sink is scrubbed and shined in that fifteen minutes. Then you’re done. You could then take another fifteen minutes and do some dishes and then take another few minutes to shine your sink again. Then every evening make certain that your sink is clean and shined before you go to bed. That way, any time you want to use the sink it will be available. Do that for a month and that becomes a habit. The idea isn’t that having a clean sink is important, but what it does mean is that developing habits are what are important. Habits are things that you do without thinking.
We live much of our lives we spend absentmindedly following our habits. We get up to an alarm clock. We look at our cell phones to see if we have any messages. We brush our teeth and comb our hair. The way we drive to work, the way we eat meals, and what we do with our time after work is all related to habit. By developing a routine of how we keep our houses clean, we create habits that are stress free and easy to maintain because we have developed this habit. As we are getting rid of this junk in our lives, we need to determine what habits we would like to remove from our lives, and what habits we would like to add.
Writing Fifteen Minutes at a Time
Habits can easily be started by doing whatever it is that you want to do as long as you just do it for fifteen minutes with no distractions. Writing is the same way. This paragraph that I am writing right now, I am writing it while using an online timer at http://timer.onlineclock.net/. There is nothing to down load and it is free, so I thought why not try to write for fifteen minutes using a timer (without distractions).I can do this any time that I am writing and having a difficult time with focusing on my work. During these fifteen minute intervals I can just write whatever comes to mind. Once the fifteen minutes is over, I can edit out anything that I really don’t want my readers to read. If I were to write for fifteen minutes and write at a slow 25 words per minute pace, that means that I should be able to write 375 words during that fifteen minutes. Whole books can be written in a year if writers could and would focus on writing for just fifteen minutes per day every day of the year. It is really not that hard to keep writing for a continuous fifteen minutes once you get the hang of it. Write for just fifteen minutes, nonstop. You might not be able to get the 375 words written in fifteen minutes the first time that you try, but over time, you will train your mind into the habit of writing for those fifteen minutes. Can you imagine how much you could write if you learned to focus for fifteen minutes several times per day? You couldn’t do it for eight hours straight, of course, writing doesn’t work like that. You’re a creative person, not a robot and creativity takes time. However, once you have one fifteen minute period when you write continuously, you can probably build from there until you are writing numerous pages per day. Perhaps you could use this working on different projects throughout the day. I am personally going to see what I can write for fifteen minutes each day, whether it is writing articles or writing my books. I can defiinitely see how writing like this can get thoughts out of my head and onto paper. What do you think? Do you think that by writing for fifteen minutes at a time you could become a more prolific writer?
Making Writing a Daily Commitment
Of course, writing fifteen minutes per day is not going to get your book written in a year if you just do it once or just occasionally. The way to get the words on paper would be by writing consistently every day of the year. Its the same way with cleaning house, you get it done by doing it. If you put all else out of the way for a specific period and focus on that one thing, you’ll be amazed in what you can accomplish. Not only can you have a shiny sink at the end of the day, but using just fifteen minutes of focused writing per day, you can complete an entire book in a year.
Donna Brown is pastor at Faith in God Church 1 1/2 miles south of Brandsville, Missouri on Hwy 63. Sunday services are at 10 am and Wednesday night Bible Study at 6:30 pm. As Author Cygnet Brown, she has recently published her first nonfiction book: Simply Vegetable Gardening: Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener
She is also the author of historical fiction series The Locket Saga. which includes When God Turned His Head and Soldiers Don’t Cry, the Locket Saga Continues, and most recently, A Coward’s Solace, Book III of the Locket Saga.For more information about Cygnet Brown and her book, check out her website at http://www.cygnetbrow.com .