Writing the post about The Five Minute Rule, I remembered an article I wrote and published in a magazine called The Lost Generation Journal twenty-five years ago. Sure enough! There are the seeds of The Five Minute Rule. I just put it up here as one of the long list of chapters, etc. on the home page You might find it of historical interest!
Monthly Archives: May 2015
Occasionally someone asks about my writing schedule: Do I write every day of the week? Do I write in the mornings? How long do I write?
I try to write at least five minutes a day, when I’m in good form, I say. Especially when it comes to writing I am undisciplined, spontaneous. I have no writing schedule. (Deadlines are a different matter. I’ll work for hours, stupidly not even getting up to stretch, if I have to meet a deadline.)
The Five Minute Rule works for me, and I recommend it. When I set a goal I like it to be doable. I don’t want to set myself up for failure. So the five minutes can be from 11:55 p.m. to midnight if I haven’t found time earlier. Seriously.
The Five Minute Rule is simple. I sit down with pen and paper (for first drafts) or at the computer (for revising, “researching,”), notice the time (or set a timer) and what usually happens is I am still working a half hour later, or an hour later, or whatever, but I don’t have to! Five minutes is all I’m committed to! Then I can feel good about having worked at my craft that day.
Right now I am working on restoring/revising the original first fifty pages of “Flight to Ohio,”returning to my first version. First thoughts are valuable and we cast them aside at our peril. In dealing with an agent, I decided I had relied too much on a few suggestions she made about changing my novel and in the process had lost some of the building blocks of my main character, Tom. As writers, we have to trust ourselves and that’s hard to do. But it’s imperative.
Anyway, I have my work cut out for me at the moment and have called The Five Minute Rule back into service.