Hourglass on bookshelf


If you’re a hard working creative like me, the idea that anyone (sometimes even you) will ever take your work seriously as a job can seem like a distant a daydream.  Any artistic endeavor seems to be susceptible to what I like to call time-suck.

The chores, maybe a job, the family, the internet.  The never-ending time-suck vortex sometimes overwhelms us so completely that it makes any progress at all seem impossible.  If it sounds like the voice of experience talking, that’s because it is.  Between school, the house, helping the husband with his running for the shop, and my own insatiable “research” addiction (you know, surfing and social media), there just never seemed to be enough time to really get into any sort of writing “groove”.

If I ever wanted to make a career of writing, I had to solve the time-suck problem.  What was it that kept my days so full, even after quitting my full-time job to go to college, that time to write seemed as rare as it ever had been?  I puzzled on it for a while and then forgot about it. The busy got me again.


Through all of it, I noticed one set of phrases that kept popping up not only coming from my beloved and friends and family but from myself as well.  “Oh, it won’t take but a few minutes”, or “You have time to___ right?” and the humdinger of them all, which almost always came from me: “What’s thirty minutes?”

(Don’t get me wrong, I love my hubby and love helping him and doing the school and household things for us both, but…)

Once this pattern solidified in my mind enough to be recognized (it only took about a year), I decided to make a list.  It was easy enough to push my issues off onto others but my real problem was self-discipline. So I got up, set the kitchen timer on the microwave for thirty minutes and set to work.  Here is a partial list of things that I came up with.


What’s 30 Minutes?
  • I read a chapter in a novel.
  • I brushed my teeth and hair and made the bed.
  • I wrote two pages in my journal.
  • I vacuumed the living room and kitchen.
  • I wrote most of this article in thirty minutes (Not counting editing).
  • I wrote a poem.
  • I Listened to a video lecture on writing.
  • I Made two phone calls to potential colleges.
  • I Filled out a college application.
  • I edited about ten pages of a 100-page document (Got paid for this one).
  • I read three chapters in a book on writing (Nonfiction).
  • I organized the desk (It was actually clear!)
  • I created an invoice form.


I didn’t include a time for fiction writing, mostly because how fast it goes varies so much.  Granted, the same can be said of anything, especially poetry, but then poetry is the one thing I never push.  The journal can be pushed to get the juices flowing, and the nonfiction and sometimes even the fiction to a certain extent, but the poetry only comes when it chooses.

Again this is just a partial list and this is just me.

What can you get done in thirty minutes?

Time it.