How Much I Can Write in 5 Minutes?
By Ruth Barringham
I recently came across a PDF copy of a book about writing. This book is now out of print and isn’t available anywhere that I could find, until I came across a downloadable PDF copy.
The Book is called “How to Write a Book On Anything In 14 Days or Less…Guaranteed” and it’s written by Steve Manning.
I remember coming across this book years ago. I didn’t buy it but I did subscribe to the author’s email list and received quite a few emails about writing books quickly and there were even a few writing exercises.
Anyway, I downloaded the PDF ebook and sent it to be printed and comb-bound. Then I started quickly going through it.
In it there was another fast writing exercise which was 3 separate lists of words to choose from and there was a way of randomly choosing 1 word from each list.
I gave it a try and the 3 words I was given was' darkness, chairs and sadly.' The exercise was to write for 5 minutes and incorporating the 3 words into the first paragraph.
So I set my timer and started. And without having any fore-thought of what I was going to write, this is what I came up with:
"Darkness came early and quickly. It was so dark that it was almost impossible to see the chairs just a couple of feet away. Until, sadly, he tripped over one of them and fell to the ground, breaking his left ankle with a sickening crack that he both felt and heard.
He sat there for a few minutes, too scared to move because the pain was so great.
Eventually he managed to regain his thoughts and wondered what to do.
His cell phone had slipped out of his shirt pocket as he fell and it slid across the floor out of reach. It was too dark to even guess where it was.
And he didn’t know if there was anyone else there or if anyone would come along soon."
That was ¾ page of handwriting and I was actually pretty amazed at how much I’d written in such a short time.
But I think I wrote so much because I had a 5-minute deadline to get it done. Pressure and a deadline are good for focus and productivity.
When I don’t put any time pressure on myself, I can write just as much in 3 hours as I can in 6 hours, because the time pressure always make me more focused when I have less time to waste.
They say that when we work a full-time job, we stretch our work to fit 8 hours a day because they give us 8 hours a day to fill. If we only had 4 hours a day to work, we’d probably still get everything done but with less breaks and distractions.
And it’s the same with working at home. We can get more done in less time if we give ourselves less time to do it in and have a system to follow to get our writing done.
It’s easy to work when you have a time limit and a great writing system so that all you have to do is start working. And it’s easier to stay focused when you can see the time winding down and you know you have to get your writing finished before the time is up.
And then you’ll have more free time for other things.
Or more time to write more.