Four Quick Tips for Consistency for the Busy Writer

Writing Strategy #1: The 15 Minute Writer

Writing strategies are as numerous and varied as courses on a menu.

Dinner menu with food dishes to the left and above. A spoon to the right.
Yum. I love food. (Photo cred: Josh Bean at Unsplash)

And while I appreciate a savory entree to luxuriously enjoy, my personal writing strategy is more like a good appetizer–small, tasty, but typically over quickly. This is due to my life circumstances. As a mother to five children (not to mention volunteer work, multiple part time jobs, and quality time with my hubby), if I wrote only when I “had time” I’d never get a word on the page. Instead, I have to make time to write. Typically this is when the kids are asleep or gone, but not always. To put it simply, my personal strategy is 15 minutes of focused writing time daily.

For some of you, thinking of writing in 15 minute stints breaks your brain.

Woman laying upside down with her hands covering her face as if overwhelmed.
Phot by Anthony Tran on Unsplash.

You feel like you need an hour just to get into the story, then four hours to really get any good writing done. I totally get this writing strategy and we will discuss this one in the future, but hear me out. Sometimes thinking you need four hours to even begin is totally overwhelming. Am I right? A 15 minute writing strategy doesn’t need to end at 15 minutes, but it IS a good way to begin a writing session. You can do anything for 15 minutes. So get your behind in the chair and get it done!

“Don’t reach for the stars–reach for the lowest shelf in the pantry. Sometimes you’ll reach higher up, but you can always reach the lowest shelf.” 

J. Scott Savage
A pantry shelf with an arrow pointing at it. Text: That's the one.

I will also say that writing in 15 minute increments builds up over time. I went from zero manuscripts in 2012 to over 78 in 2024. That’s a huge number. Yes. I will admit that 75 of those manuscripts are picture books. For me, short fiction lends itself well to the 15 minute writing strategy, but I will also point out that I have written over three novels in that time, each with multiple drafts–so you can certainly write in short increments and make major progress in whatever genre you’re writing

And surprisingly, 15 minutes is longer than you think. And the more you practice, the faster your typing and brain processes get so you can accomplish a lot in that short amount of time.

Speedy typing fingers
15 mintues? No problem!

How do you implement the 15 minute writing strategy you ask? Well, If you don’t already, first you’ll want to make sure you know at least some writing basics

So, if you caught that, to learn to write you have to. . .

White bookshelf shaped as the word "Read" against a blue wall.
Photo by Ishaq Robin on Unsplash

Second: you’ll want to know what to write about. Story concept generation is a fun way to spend your writing time, just don’t get too carried away. Here is a great article on ways to generate stories: Make a list of story ideas, then add to it when more come to mind out in the wild.

Third: you’ll want to figure out when you’ll do your writing. Having a plan will make it so much more likely that you’ll get your writing time in. Whether it’s getting it done before the kids wake up or while waiting in the doctor’s office, having a plan will make it so much easier to dive in when the time presents itself.

Fourth: you’ll need to get some things in place. Have a dedicated writing space with all of the things you need to write, including something to write on and charging devices if applicable.

Once your setup is ready, START WRITING. Then pay attention–what pulls you away from your writing most often. Write it down and think of ways to counteract those things.

My list:

  • Problem-Fix
  • Dry hands–Lotion
  • Thirst–Water
  • Other Tasks–To Do List. If it pops in my head I write it down.
  • Needed Research–Research Later List. I add it to the list and mark it as a placeholder like this: [Queen’s name]
  • Children–DO NOT DISTURB sign and consequences/rewards in place before I sit down to write. Yes, bribery works–most of the time.

If you have all of these things already put together, then your 15 minute writing appetizer will be a productive one. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this writing strategy. Have you tried it? Does it work for you? I’d love to know. Leave me a comment.

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