The Power of Two Minutes!

What can I possibly accomplish in two minutes?

If you’re a part of my group coaching program, or if you’ve attended one of my writing workshops or retreats, you know the power of two minutes! We regularly use two-minute writing prompts, which help us stop over-thinking our writing and just get the words on the page.

And, if you think you don’t have time to write, then thinking about writing in two-minute chunks may be helpful.

Do you know someone who has gone on a vacation or paid for a big splurge purchase by saving loose change? The same principles of collecting pennies here and a dime there to go on a vacation is analogous to finding time in minutes here and there to write your book.

You may think you don’t have time to write a book. You have a busy work life and want to spend precious moments with your growing family or investing in your favorite hobby. There are errands to run and tasks to be accomplished. But how many times do you find yourself leafing through a magazine at a doctor’s office, catching up on FaceBook, or watching a mindless TV program where you might have put that time to productive use toward completing your book?

Here are some ideas for “finding time” to write your book.

1. Get clear on your thesis for your book. Once you know exactly what your book is about you will have those issues on your radar as you go about your day. You may see great examples or hear powerful stories that will add to your message. Keep a pad of paper in your car, at your desk, beside your bed, and near your couch to collect ideas for your book.

2. Take your materials with you. If you’re going to the doctor’s office or know you’ll need to spend a few minutes waiting for your child after class, grab your folder of ideas and reread your notes. Jot down ideas that you’ll want to expand upon or sketch out your outline for the next chapter. My friend Angie spent some pool time with her daughter, and as she sat at the pool, she worked on fleshing out her content outline on her phone. She was amazed at how much she was able to accomplish in this block of time.

3. Create very specific goals for each time block. It may be tempting to merely put “work on the book” on that slot on your calendar, but it’s not helpful in letting you identify specifically what you need to do. Having finite, discreet steps like “revise outline for chapter 4” or “rework “interviews in chapter 2” or “flesh out opening for chapter 6” will be far more helpful.

4. Block smaller chunks of time for writing. You may find, as author Jason did, that two-hour chunks were just too much time. He would invariably block two hours for writing, but then put off writing because he had so much time blocked. One week he decided to strategically block smaller chunks of time and found that this was exactly what he needed to get it done!

5. Track your progress. Keep a word count of how much you are producing each day. Angie has kept a white board on her refrigerator with her daily word count as a personal challenge. Mark is keeping his tally of word count in a drop box file that we share. By tracking your progress you’ll be more mindful of how you are moving forward on your book.

Just like seeing the pennies, nickels and dimes inch their way up in your loose change jar, you’ll start seeing your word count increase as you move forward toward completing your book.

You only have two minutes? Turn that wasted time into a chunk of content for your book (or blog!).

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