Sunday, March 17, 2013

Writing a Book Fifteen Minutes at a Time

With each fifteen minutes I write, I jot a tick mark at the top of my chapter notes page. Four vertical marks and a diagonal mark across indicates five fifteen minute increments or 1 hour and 15 minutes of drafting time. Sitting before the keyboard, those fifteen minutes and only those fifteen minutes are my focus.

For fifteen minute stints, prepare by gathering and having ready the following:
  • Mechanical Timer, Digital Timer, or Phone App (Alarmed is my personal favorite)
  • 9.5" x 6" spiral notebook (not as intimidating as 11" x 8.5" size for notes)
  • 2 Pens (One neutral color, such as standard black or blue, the second a bright color, for instance gold, orange, green, etc.)
  • Neo OR 11" x 8.5" spiral notebook OR Laptop OR Computer Keyboard (whichever works for author's personal preferred first drafting needs)
  • Drafting Location (being away from the computer and internet, writing on the Neo on a lap desk in my Writing Room while sitting on the Chaise Lounge works best for me)
 The process is as follows:
  1. Set timer for 10 minutes
  2. Make bulleted list, on 9.5" x 6" spiral notebook page with neutral colored pen, of possible scene direction, conflicts, happenings, and occurrences in current scene and/or chapter
  3. Stop making notes when timer alarm sounds
  4. Set Timer for 15 minutes
  5. Write for that 15 minutes and only for that 15 minutes
  6. Stop writing when timer alarm sounds
  7. Jot down a tick mark for the completed 15 minutes at top edge of notes page
  8. Check off, with bright colored pen, any items from your bulleted list that you used in your scene/chapter
  9. Reset timer for 3 to 30 minutes (depending on needs of author for use of break)
  10. Take at least a short break, even if only for a few moments of deep breathing and closing of eyes [Longer breaks may include short housework stints, exercise (Oxycise serves as my personal outlet), reading, a few minutes of television viewing, checking email, etc.]
  11. Repeat Steps 1 thru 3, should direction of scene/chapter falter or additional potential ideas are needed
  12. Repeat Steps 4 thru 11, until first draft of scene/chapter is completed
  13. Repeat Steps 1 through 12 for next scene/chapter
I so wish I had found, understood, and applied this concept years ago. However, I have the technique in my writing toolbox now. Using this process, even with incurring a health issue that slowed productivity and lessened output, I've written 15 chapters in 10 days, fifteen minutes at a time.

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