Can you write for 5 minutes?

“I’m still struggling to figure out when I write.”

I said this to a friend in my writing accountability group, who had shared a link to resources in the NaNoWriMo community about their #StayHomeWriMo initiative, encouraging people to take pleasure in words and writing. 

I have no shortage of things I could write at the moment. I’m writing this to you at the same time as having a document open with another part-drafted article that I’ve had rattling around in my head for at least a week. Words and ideas looking for the time for me to type them up. 

A photo of someone making notes in a notebook. Photo by Calum MacAulay on Unsplash

“Can you write for 5 minutes?” she replied.

Five minutes. Well yes, of course, but what could I produce in 5 minutes? Well this article for a start. It’s taken less than a minute so far while my children play a game on an education app. (Yesterday, I overheard them learning Chinese on it and felt very smug about my zero effort homeschooling technique.)

Those 5 minute bursts also add up. If I wrote for 5 minutes a day, that would be 35 minutes a week. Plenty of time to create a decent length article and have the space to formulate ideas and see where I’m going next in between sessions.

No time to doubt

Writing against the clock is a good way of making yourself write without worrying about the output. If you’ve ever been put off by the blank page or screen in front of you, setting a timer and making a start is a useful way to move past this. 

I’m also reminded, particularly in these trying times, of the phrase ‘done is better than perfect’. Better to have written something than not to have written before because ‘I didn’t have time’. 

One of my friends, Charlie, talks about the power of spending 5 or 10 minutes doing something that moves you closer to your goal. That 5 minutes writing counts.  

Remaining visible

A photo of a person wearing a light suit. Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash

What I write or where I publish it might be different from what I have done before. If I only have 5 minutes a day to write, what does that mean? Well it could mean that I use the time to write a blog post each week. Or it might be that I use that 5 minutes to write a story to share on social media each day. 

One of the important things to remember if you run a business is, that while you might not be able to operate it in the way that you have been, now is not the time to disappear from view. 

Everyone is busy. The world seems to change daily at the moment. A week ago I could move around freely, my husband went out to work in an office and my eldest son went to school. I’m writing this having not left my house for 4 days, with my husband working in our home office, and I now homeschool my children. 

Remaining visible, showing up, being there for people in your community is important. It doesn’t mean business as usual. But 5 minutes creating something useful that will help others and that you can share on your blog and/or social media is time well spent. 

What can you write in 5 minutes?

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Rachel Extance

Rachel Extance

Award-winning journalist and blogger. I help businesses communicate who they are, what they do, and why. If you struggle to talk about yourself in your marketing, get in touch with me.

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