Five Tips to Maximize One Hour of Writing

When I took a short story fiction writing workshop earlier this year, I wasn’t sure I’d have any energy left to write after a long day at the office- but I had a deadline, and when you have a deadline, you become inventive with your time.

In addition to writing at night, I decided to try writing during my lunch hour—and I was surprised at how much I got done in that limited amount of time.

Whether if it’s first thing in the morning, after you drop off the kids at school, or right before bed, you can still make progress writing in just one hour a day.

Here are five tips to maximize one hour of writing:

  • Book it: Reserve your calendar like you would any other important commitment.
  • Make it a habit: If you can plan to write at the same time every day, it will become a habit. If you have to be flexible with the time of day, that’s okay too, which adds to my next point…
  • Find any space: You might need to be flexible with your writing space. This is counterintuitive to the idea of finding a sacred writing space and shutting out the world. If you have only one hour between other commitments, you might need to get used to writing on the go- in a potentially noisy space like a coffee shop or restaurant.
  • Plan for your next session: When you’re finished with your hour, make notes for your next writing session. Jot down where you left off and where you want to go next. Your “notes to your future self” (as I call them) will give you momentum for your next session.
  • Take notes: Your hour of writing will inspire more ideas at other times of the day. Be prepared to take notes in a notebook, digital notebook, or audio app.

Figure out what works for you, and you will discover time in your schedule you didn’t know you had. Even a few pages at a time will add up with consistent effort.



Have you marked your calendar?

Like most people, I still haven’t made it to New York to see the musical Hamilton. I’m just burning through the soundtrack until I can see it in person.

Lucky for us, PBS is airing their documentary, Hamilton’s America, on October 21st.

Just two weeks from today! I know I’m not the only one counting down the days!

I watched Lin-Manuel Miranda’s interview with Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show, and he said they have footage from the early days of Hamilton, when he was writing frantically, and before they knew what the musical was going to be.

Why do you write like you’re running out of time? –Hamilton, An American Musical

I can’t wait to see how it all came together. In the meantime, check out highlights from his talk at the Broadway Teachers Workshop as written by Howard Sherman.

Lin-Manuel is a great example of a creative soul who has followed his inspiration wholeheartedly. It is interesting to read how he got started. He even talks about creativity and mixed tapes. YES!

Tackling the Page

I was catching up on my DVR last night and saw Tahereh Mafi interviewed on Late Night with Seth Meyers. I love watching Seth’s interviews (yes, we are on a first-name basis) because he is so engaged with his guests, and he asks such interesting questions.

Tahereh Mafi has written the Shatter Me series, and her latest book is Furthermore. They discussed how she got started, her love of reading, and the rejected manuscripts that taught her about writing.

Her writing style compared to her husband’s writing style was also fascinating to me. I love hearing how other writers tackle the page.

There is so much great writing motivation-inspiration-information in this interview. Check it out!


The Fiction Writing Workshop…a.k.a Tackling New Terrain

A few months ago, I returned from a vacation at the Grand Canyon. After tackling some new terrain, I was feeling rejuvenated and ready to tackle some life goals too.

With perfect timing, there in my Facebook feed was an advertisement for a short story fiction writing workshop. It met on Wednesday nights for an hour and a half, and it ran for six weeks. I could handle that! It wouldn’t interfere with my work schedule. It was a short commitment, and it would be the chance to try fiction writing again.


Our main assignment for the workshop was to write a short story. The only other guidelines were that the story had to be ten to fifteen pages long, double spaced, and emailed to the class the Friday before our next meeting. I was in the first group, so I had a little more than one week to prepare my story. Continue reading