Is it worth it to write only 15 minutes a day?

A while ago, I had a conversation with a friend of mine about time management. Like so many others, she too was struggling to carve out time for her creative work. She was wondering if she would make any progress with her novel if she only had 15 minutes a day to write.

This made me think back to the time when I had just had my son (now 4 years ago) and was afflicted by a sudden change in perspective on what it meant not to have time.

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The sinuous nature of life (and our twins will soon arrive).

I’m sure that I’m not the first to observe that life is sinuous like the graceful wave of the sine function. There are phases when nothing happens, and then circumstances tilt to fill our lives with more than we can handle.

In the past weeks, our life as a family took quite the turns, and since I’m pregnant with twins and soon to give birth, I imagine that all that has been happening until now (not always joyous) was just a preamble. But I’m glad to say that I managed to go through another substantial revision of my book plus the necessary editorial nit-picking that must follow.

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The beginner’s mindset: so important in writing.

The good thing about long breaks (even if involuntary) from a regular routine is that they help us see the big picture of an activity, a life choice, a goal. They bring clarity. It’s been more than three months since I worked on my writing projects, and I have come to recognize a couple of things.

But first, let me explain the break in my writing. The reason is, in fact, lovely: I’m pregnant with twin girls and I can’t be happier. But I was also very morning (or rather all-day sick) for a good number of weeks. Looking at screens or even reading printed books made it even worse, so I had to take an involuntary break from all I was doing and spend some time on the couch meditating next to a bucket.

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Owning the baggage that trips us: when they told me I shouldn’t write.

A few weeks ago, I met Garth Greenwell at a reading of his book, “What belongs to you.” I was completely taken aback by his eloquence and uplifting ideas. During the discussion, he said one thing (among many other wonderful things) that stayed with me (I’m paraphrasing): The wrong or hurtful things we hear and are taught as children will always stay with us; we can never grow up to be as if we had never heard these things; but what we can try is to turn them into something useful.

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Finding that voice.

On November 30th this year, I reached a milestone: my short story, “Clara,” appeared in the November issue of Electric Spec magazine. This is the first time that a short story of mine got published. I can’t explain what this means to me. It’s been a long road.

I took the decision to live my dream rather than dream my dream at the beginning of 2016. Before that, I had always wanted to but had never taken any real steps to live the life of a writer. In that faithful spring of 2016, a slow transformation began inside me, ending with me finally breaking through the thick wall of fear that had hitherto held me back and finally beginning to send stories out.

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Finding balance in life is not a balancing act.

There has been a lot of hype around the concept of finding balance in life: work-life balance, balancing social life vs me-time, a balanced healthy life, balanced parenting…you name it.

Lately, I have been struggling a little bit with this. For example, I love to exercise, but I’ve also had plenty of couch-potato moments. I like being among people, but I also love being on my own. I love spending a day reading, but I also love binge watching Star Trek: The Next Generation. Most years, I have been wobbling through my life, feeling pulled in all sorts of directions, wondering when I will finally find balance.

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Oh, that elusive word count goal.

To me it seems that every writing advice out there homes in on the following mantra: write every day, no matter what. Stephen King writes in On Writing  that he writes 2000 words a day. I do agree that a writer should write. I also think that if I were to write only 250 words a day, it will take me an awful lot of time to finish my novel. And what about all the other ideas in my head?

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