Please welcome author Katharine Grubb as she shares how she wrote her novel in 10 minute increments.
I am one of those annoying people who say they’ve been writing since they were four. My dreams of being a writer went through the same roller coaster many of yours did. I tried. I took classes. I grew. I wrote. Sometimes I succeeded. Sometimes I failed miserably. At one point, when my fifth child was only a few months old, I decided that those dreams, which had been forgotten between the piles of laundry and the messy house, needed some attention.
Part of me believed that I would have to wait until my kids were grown and out of the house before my writing could even begin. But part of me believed that my dreams were worth pursuing now — while my children watched. What if I squeezed writing time around my family’s needs? What if I didn’t wait until conditions were perfect? What if I took advantage of the time I had?
I had my iMac in my kitchen, so I set the timer on my microwave for 10 minutes. My writing would get my full attention for those ten minutes, when the timer dinged, I would go back to Mommy-ing. I could wash dishes for ten, or fold laundry for ten, or play games with my kids for ten, and then go back to writing. If I did this six times, then I would have written for an hour!
I knew that the only way this would work was to be super-organized, communicate to my family what I wanted to do, and have low expectations.
These were my rules for making this 10-minute increment idea work. These were my Must Haves For The 10 Minute Novelist
1. A place for everything, everything. My household runs more smoothly and I am more efficient if I put everything in it’s proper place.
2. A supportive family. I’m very grateful that I have this. Since the beginning, I tried to explain to my family that this 10 minute block of time is a reasonable request. I was surprised at how well my pre-schoolers got this. Now they’re applauding and enjoying my success with me!
3. An army to help. Arguably, I wouldn’t need so many helpers if I didn’t have so many helpers. My kids have been doing daily and weekly chores since they were old enough to handle them, about age 6. Now, since they’re between 9-17, they can run the house by themselves.
4. A daily list. Often I write down everything I need to accomplish in the day. Then I estimate exactly how much time it will take me to do it. Prep dinner? A half hour? Talk to Grammy? At least 45 minutes. Even though I try to be flexible with my loved ones’ needs, this helps me work fast and plan well.
5. A weekly menu and organized shopping list. We eat every day. I find that if I know exactly what we’re going to eat for each meal and snack, I save time. Also, if I know the menu and shop once weekly, then I’m not wasting time by running errands.
6. A limit to screen time. I like binging on Netflix as much as the next person. But I’ve decided when I watch The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and I stick to that plan so my other off hour times is better spent.
7. An orderly filing system. If I am writing in 10 minute increments, I can’t waste 7 of them looking for that scene. Now that I’ve discovered Scrivener, I’m even more organized.
8. Realistic expectations. Because I am a mother, I understand the game of inches. Every day matters. Every little bit helps. You know what? I DID write that novel. It took me five years. But I’m so glad I did it in 10 minute increments.
9. Community. I created the facebook group 10 Minute Novelists in 2014 so that we could encourage each other. Now, over 1100 writers worldwide are sharing tips, encouragement and community. And it’s a lot of fun!
As a result of the first book, there came a second. The second, Falling For Your Madness was a quarterfinalist in the Amazon Breakout Novel Award contest. As a result of that, Hodder & Stoughton approached me and asked me to write Write A Novel In 10 Minutes A Day.
Yes, I’ve always wanted to be a writer. By setting my timer for ten minutes, I’ve become just that. This system was at times stressful and messy. Sometimes my children didn’t get it or dinner burned.
But, you know, my dreams were worth it.
About the Author:
Katharine Grubb is a homeschooling mother of five, independent author, baker of bread, former running coward, comedian wannebe, who recently wrote a book about how to write a book in very small increments. She lives with her family in Massachusetts.