A Fifteen-Minute Gift: Give Yourself Permission, Not a Task

Anyone can find an extra fifteen minutes in his or her day to write something — just don’t view it as a task. A task implies work and you’re already doing enough of that. Instead, give (as in gift) yourself permission to write fifteen minutes a day. Permission means approval, consent, or blessing. I find even with my busy schedule, the fifteen-minute gift keeps me on target and all my other projects still end up completed.

Here are a few suggestions on how to spend your fifteen minutes:

• Spew out your ideas and thoughts. You can edit them later.

• If you’ve already written something, find a sentence that needs work and polish it. You’ll find your best writing is something that’s rewritten.

• Find a cliché and turn it into something original.

• Look for unnecessary adverbs. They usually precede weak verbs. Replace two weak words with a single strong verb.

  • Check dialogue. Make sure it moves the story forward rather than simply informing the reader of useless facts.
  • Change passive voice to active voice — it’s bolder.
  • Find a passage that’s repetitive. A good example is telling the reader something you’ve just shown them. The reader usually gets it the first time.
  • The best thing about this writing gift is that you might find yourself writing for longer than fifteen minutes!

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Kathleen Kaska

Kathleen Kaska

Metaphor Writing Coach. Author of the Sydney Lockhart mysteries and the Kate Caraway mysteries. I blog about, “Growing Up Catholic in a Small Texas Town.”