How to Use 2, 5, 10, or 30 Minutes as a Writer

Do you ever feel like there’s not enough time in the day to do everything you want to do as a writer and, when you do have time, you’re not sure what to do with it?

Say no more. Today we’re going over tasks you can do in as little as two minutes out of your day, right on up to a luxurious thirty minutes.

Most of these apply no matter where you are in the writing and publication process. You can pursue them exactly as written or use them as inspirational jumping-off points. Whatever sparks your creative fire!

Before we start, let me emphasize that these time frames aren't set in stone. They're categorized based on my own ability to complete them on an average-for-me day. Please don’t think less of yourself if you need more time to complete some of these tasks. It’s all relative to our physical and mental capabilities on a day-to-day basis. ^_^

Now, let’s get to it, shall we?

Two-Minute Tasks

  • Reflect on something you love about writing and/or your work-in-progress
  • Write a Tweet about what’s going on in your writing world
  • Clear mugs, glasses, and other clutter from your writing space
  • Stretch your neck, shoulders, hands, and/or wrists
  • If you’re in a public place, set a timer and write down everything you hear for the next two minutes
  • Pick four words and/or phrases from the nearest book and write them down as a writing prompt for later
  • Choose a character from your work-in-progress and write down words and/or phrases that you associate with them
  • Check in with a word count tracker and do a happy dance to celebrate how far you’ve come
  • Create a Goodreads shelf to keep track of research books for a work-in-progress

Five-Minute Tasks

  • Add to your collection of writing prompts from Pinterest, Instagram, or other sources (I keep mine on Pinterest, but you could also keep prompts in a bullet journal or writing binder)
  • Research and choose a name for a character
  • Start a wishlist of things you’d love to add to your work-in-progress
  • Create or add to a detail cluster
  • Support and encourage writers on their Twitter or Instagram accounts
  • Create or update the signature at the end of your emails to link to all the good stuff (your upcoming book, perhaps, and your social media accounts)
  • Write an email from one character to another about what’s happening in the last scene you wrote
  • Read a blog post about writing and note down anything you’d like to try
  • Retrieve past positive feedback about your writing and revel in it

Ten-Minute Tasks

  • Create or update a collection in your bullet journal
  • Respond to a writing prompt
  • Respond to an email from a reader/critique partner/industry professional
  • Write a list of research questions for your work-in-progress
  • Write an email or letter to someone who inspires you
  • Review the scene you just wrote and jot down notes of what you’d like to explore in the next
  • Create a playlist on Spotify for a specific writing mood or your work-in-progress
  • Start a spreadsheet to keep track of all the scenes in your work-in-progress
  • Watch a YouTube video on a writing weakness of yours or something you need to research for a work-in-progress

Thirty-Minute Tasks

  • Work on your rough draft
  • Get rid of writing notes that no longer apply or interest you
  • Read and annotate research for your work-in-progress
  • Gather every draft of your current work-in-progress and decide which ones are keepers and which ones can be got rid of
  • Do a set of character development exercises (some of my favourites are laid out in Create an Epic Character Foundation)
  • List writing tasks and deadlines for the month ahead, calculate the approximate time required for each, and mark checkpoints in your calendar
  • Fill out and reflect on a writing life wheel
  • Research professionals to reach out to in the next stage of your writing process (e.g. sensitivity readers, developmental editors, or agents)
  • Write morning pages (even if it’s in the afternoon or evening – be a maverick!)
  • Have an impromptu brainstorming session with a writing friend