Frank Fiore – Novelist & Screenwriter

September 6, 2009

10 Ways to Find 10 Minutes to Write

Filed under: On Writing — Frank Fiore @ 9:48 AM

How many times have we made excuses or just can’t find the time to write?

How about if you just commit to 10 minutes. Better yet, how about 10 ways to do it?

I found this 10 little ways to find 10 minutes to write at Daily Writing Tips.

1. Write first thing in the morning

Create an extra ten minutes in your day by setting your alarm early: get up, grab your notebook (or switch on your laptop) and sneak in ten minutes of writing while everyone else is still asleep.

This is one I use frequently. Jump out of bed, grab a bagel and give it 10 minutes.

2. Write on the train

If you get the train (or bus, or tube) to work or school, write on the way. Some trains and coaches have power sockets for your laptop, but all you really need is a pad of paper and a pen.

Don’t have trains where I am but we do have buses and a new light rail. Grab 10 minutes on the way to the ballgame.

3. Write while you’re standing in line

Next time you get stuck in a long line at the post office or bank, whip out your notebook and start scribbling down a few ideas for your next piece of writing.

Boy! How many times have I done this !

4. Write during a coffee break

Your coffee break (or morning break at school) can be a great way to find ten spare minutes. If you’ve got access to a computer and email, try writing a paragraph of your latest project – then email it to yourself so you can easily cut-and-paste it later.

There’s a cool service called JOTT where yo can call a number and read your 10 second thought into the phone and it will appear in your email box and few minutes later. Very useful.

5. Write in a boring meeting or lecture

Stuck in a dull meeting or lecture? Instead of daydreaming, work on your writing: if you’ve got a laptop, type away, or just write on paper. It’ll look like you’re paying attention to the speaker and taking copious notes…

But don’t get caught!

6. Write in your lunch hour

Make a point of taking your lunch hour rather than working straight through, and use this time to get some writing done. Even if you have to go and buy a sandwich, you should be able to find ten minutes spare to write.

I take my laptop with me most every time to lunch. A great way to steal a few minutes of writing.

7. Write in the car

When the traffic jam in front of you stretches for miles, rejoice! Get your notebook out, and start writing. And if you’re lucky enough to have a traffic-free commute, end your journey by sitting in the car park for ten minutes, writing away.

I do this on long trips with my wife. Instead of listing to the radio, I open my laptop and grab a few minutes here and there. Warning: Give enough time to listen to the wife!

8. Write while you’re waiting

There are always times in the day when you’ll end up hanging around, waiting for someone else. Whether it’s sitting in reception at the dentist’s surgery, waiting for the kids to get ready, or waiting for your partner to get home, use those few minutes to write.

Great time to use JOTT.

9. Write while dinner’s cooking

It takes ten minutes for pasta or rice to cook – so why not take your notebook or laptop into the kitchen and finish a couple of paragraphs while dinner’s cooking? You can keep an eye on the food, and your family won’t interrupt if they know you’re cooking for them…

I keep lots of scrap paper in the kitchen drawer for making shopping lists and phone messages  but great place to jot down ideas, phrases and dialogue that comes into your head.

10. Write in the advert breaks

Balance your laptop on your knees and write furiously in every advert break whilst watching television. During the course of an hour-long show, you’ll see at least ten minutes of ads. Plenty of time to finish off your piece!

Drop the TiVo and write during the breaks.

Where do you find 10 minutes?



  1. A positive committment to start September!
    Thank you for caring about other writers.
    Was this post one of your ten minute writer’s committments?
    Well, it was a fine endeavor!


    Comment by Lily — September 6, 2009 @ 10:33 AM | Reply

  2. Yep – it was. Well, sort of. It’s my 10 minute commitment to marketing each day.

    Comment by Frank Fiore — September 6, 2009 @ 11:00 AM | Reply

  3. All great and motivational ideas!
    I am adding your blog to my blogroll. 🙂


    J Allison

    Comment by rockymountainreader — September 6, 2009 @ 12:12 PM | Reply

  4. Thx J. I appreciate it.

    Comment by Frank Fiore — September 6, 2009 @ 12:16 PM | Reply

  5. Great ideas! Thank you : )

    Comment by bluerabbit — September 6, 2009 @ 2:14 PM | Reply

  6. I’m with #1 – first thing in the morning. Alternate: last activity of the day – just before going to sleep. Thanks for the other tips!

    Comment by Sherri — September 6, 2009 @ 2:52 PM | Reply

  7. good article, i bookmark this site

    Comment by jim — September 6, 2009 @ 9:40 PM | Reply

  8. Wholeheartedly agree.

    Comment by writerlyderv — September 7, 2009 @ 8:44 AM | Reply

  9. Having just finished some big and small projects, this just seems silly to me. I don’t know about other writers, but it takes me 10 minutes of refreshing myself on a project before I can even get in the head space to write. Writing, also, is not something I imagine anyone can effectively multi-task–although I agree it’s good to have something with you to jot down ideas as they come, to really write, I need to be distraction free and in a place where I cannot move away from the writing for at least an hour. I just find it hard to imagine that people can really focus on the material in ten minute intervals.

    Comment by leslie — September 7, 2009 @ 12:23 PM | Reply

  10. I disagree with Leslie: I make use of this ten-minute routine all the time and find it very helpful for jotting down scene ideas, plot progression, and so on. I agree that you can’t get a lot of writing done in that time, but the point of writing for ten minutes is more for idea generation than anything else.

    I nearly always carry a notebook around with me, and whenever I find myself waiting for friends or on the bus etc, I scribble down thoughts.

    Comment by quillsandzebras — September 9, 2009 @ 5:54 AM | Reply

  11. I wonder if writing in short bursts like this might make it difficult to get into the ‘flow’ of writing. Does it work well for you? What proportion of your output is written in short bursts and what proportion in longer stretches? For me, it’s 90%+ on the long concentration runs. (I care about this because I just posted 22 ways to stay focused on writing: But I agree about getting up earlier. That works for me every time.

    Comment by Matthew Stibbe — September 9, 2009 @ 6:25 AM | Reply

  12. […] Go to article … […]

    Pingback by Fiore on finding the time — September 11, 2009 @ 12:07 AM | Reply

  13. Very nice site!

    Comment by Pharmd371 — September 26, 2009 @ 11:00 PM | Reply

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