Monday, March 25, 2013

The 5 Minute Writer

Yes, I have five sons (six and a half years from top to bottom), I run a growing publishing company, I still have a few salon clients, AND I’m the best selling author of seven books. At the end of 2013 I will have fifteen books on the market with 5 Prince Publishing (mine) and our catalog will boast over 50 books (of other awesome authors)! So I am asked, almost on a daily basis, “How do you find time to write?”

I often answer that this is my calling. I was born to be an author. The story ideas have never run out and neither have the words. But often, yes, the time does diminish.

The other day I was asked again about my writing and I told my friend “I write in 5 minute increments,” which I do. I’m a HUGE fan of the kitchen timer, and have always been.

I was raised this way. My mother always had a ToDo list and she chunked it off in increments. Because, admit it, you’ve started a quick project and then it led to something else…and so on…and so on… By making a list, and breaking it down into timely increments, I can chunk away that list and feel some accomplishment. So, back to writing this way.

I’ve had days where I have nothing to do but write. Wow! An entire six to eight hours at my disposal, and yet I only get a page or even a few words written. However, my mind stays fresh and engaged if I work hard and walk away—often.

I’m sure, those of you who are authors—or of any creative persuasion—understand that our minds cannot focus on one task. We read more than one book at a time, have more than one project going at a time, and yes, we write more than one book at a time. By allowing yourself that stopping point you give yourself permission to move to something else, even for just a few minutes. I work from home. Some days, the next ten minutes are changing out the laundry, doing jumping jacks or karate forms (yes…this is a great way to get your steps in, because we tend to sit on our butts a lot!). If I’m cleaning or taking care of a publishing task, I’m more apt to do my best and do it quickly so I don’t have to worry about the “non-creative” task that I’m tending to.

And yes, sometimes five or ten minutes turns into an hour long writing spree. Sometimes I can’t stop and that’s okay. My main job is to write, but again, giving myself permission to write often and in spurts keeps my mind engaged and flowing freely.

I did enjoy hearing that my friend tried this method. She began writing in small time blocks and was very successful with it. She was getting more words down than she had been in her allotted time for writing. It did my heart good—perhaps because she’s an amazing author and the more she writes the more I get to read!

As always, my blog…my way of seeing things. Hopefully you’ll be able to take a little something from this and make your writing time more productive.

Happy “productive” writing!
Bernadette Marie

Bernadette is the bestselling author of The Keller Family series and the Aspen Creek Series, along with other single titles. You can find her at the following locations. (She loves to interact with her readers, authors, and other industry professionals.)
Twitter @writesromance


  1. It looks like it'll be another 5-minute writing day for me. The kids are back in school after spring break, but I'll have to drive a lunch in for the one who forgot hers (takes about an hour because we're out in the toolies). Usually I bemoan the interruption of work and writing, but now that I know how much I can get done a couple of minutes at a time? Go ahead, Life. Throw stuff at me all day.

  2. My kids are grown and now I'm an adult home alone most of the time, but I still understand how the incremental writing goes. Seems like there's always something else that needs attention. But those 5 minute blocks sure can add up after a while!

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