Monday, February 21, 2011

Can Five Minutes a Day Lead to a Better Novel?

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to tone up my writing muscles by trying out some writing exercises. I'm sticking to my goal of making time for 5 or 10 minutes of free writing every morning.

I also decided to stop listening to the inane babble of  morning radio announcers on the drive home from taking the kids to school, which I do right before my writing time begins. I wanted to let my own thoughts fill up my mind instead. Sometimes, I even stop outside and just breathe in the fresh air, listening to the sounds around me.

I feel like these simple strategies have really helped to boost my creativity. Now when I'm free writing, I don't want to stop with the timer's bell. Even though what I've written has little to do with my current project, it seems to have helped me generate ideas. I've already come up with a couple of new scenes to stick on my storyboard.

Another exercise I'm trying is to pretend I'm one of my story characters and then just write their thoughts. I've never done this before (except in the context of writing the novel). But just playing around has already helped me to strengthen my character motivations.

If nothing else, these few minutes of thinking each day are building up my enthusiasm for writing/rewriting my story. Now, if only I could make some time and mental space to get started!


  1. That's great. I think free writing is a developed skill and stretches the brain. That's awesome! I used to listen to music when I run but now I use that time to work out plot problems!

  2. Great post!
    When we allow our brains to "breathe" by shutting off the noise and activity around us, even for a short time, it's amazing how the creative juices start flowing. I've been trying to shut off the radio in the car, too, and just letting my mind wander wherever it wants to go.

  3. Great post. I think your right that "breathing" time is essential.

  4. Good for you! I've been doing more character exercises recently which has helped with my WIPs, but I haven't gotten into the habit of free-writing yet. I can absolutely see how it would help get the juices flowing. Maybe I can sneak it in while I'm drinking my morning coffee. :-)

  5. Anna, I said I would free write for 5 minutes, because everyone can squeeze in 5 minutes, right? (But sometimes I write for 10.)

    Laura, Suzie F. and Holly, I think that we forget how much noise is around us all the time, and even if it's in the background, our brains process that stuff too.

  6. This is quite inspirational. Perhaps I'll make these small changes.

  7. Looks like you're taking good steps.

    My daughter has really gotten into audiobooks. As a result, I find most of my driving listening to one. It's getting me to read more books and think about writing even when I'm driving.

  8. Thanks, Medeia. I think it's easier to try a small change than a big one!

    Theresa, that's a great idea! I'm finding that at my library, a lot of the new books are available as audio books first, then print books.


I love to hear your responses and thoughts! Your comments will appear after moderation (I've decided to enable moderation due to excessive spam).