What can you do in 15 minutes? Hard-boil an egg? Play Candy Crush? Look at some great Facebook photos of your friend’s office party? The point being that we often waste time – time that Dorothea Brande says could be dedicated to kick-starting your creative practice.
In her book Becoming a Writer she says a daily writing habit can start off in a very small way: “Fifteen minutes will do nicely,” she says, “and there is no wage slave so driven that he cannot snatch a quarter of an hour from a busy day if he is in earnest about it.”
Book doctor and writing coach Phillipa Pride thinks even 15 minutes might be pushing it. Writing in The Guardian, she said that writers can progress with their work by committing to write for just seven minutes each day – so, we’re talking soft boiled egg territory now.
However, for Phillipa the challenge is the commitment, not the length of time. She writes: “The real test is whether you can commit to the routine. Usually, I find any excuse not to sit down, even if it is only for seven minutes.” And I think this is the real point – it’s not the time that matters but the commitment to writing and the resulting feel-good-factor you get on meeting your goals.
Back to eggs. I recently tried out a version of the Pomodoro Technique to kick start my writing by buying the rather lovely School of Life sand timer you see in the picture to help me time my work.
The idea behind Pomodoro is to have complete immersion in whatever it is you want to complete for short bursts of time. So, I turn turn off my phone and the wi-fi, turn over my timer and write furiously for 15 minutes. Have a quick stretch for five minutes. Turn over the timer again and do the same.
So, the question is now: What will you do in 15 minutes?