Keep Writing, in Bite-sized Chunks When Necessary

The past few weeks I have been busy preparing to move my family into temporary housing. It’s a long story. But the short one is our landlord is selling the house, and we had to be out by the end of March. Every day consisted of work, packing, trips to the storage unit, driving my kids to their normal activities, and squeezing in time with my family. It was a busy time, and culminated last week in a final push to move out of our home, clean it up, and hand the keys back to our landlord.

You can probably guess about how many days in that time I sat down to write.

The good news is it was more than zero. The bad news is it was a grand total of one or two days at best. So much for my daily rhythm of writing.

I could rationalize the reasons why I didn’t write. And some of the reasons—ahem, excuses—were understandable. But the bottom line is I didn’t get it done, and with the standard excuses I let myself off the hook. On Sunday, as we wrapped up the move, I reflected on what I could have done to keep up a daily rhythm of writing.

I may not have had thirty minutes or an hour every day to sit down and write. But I did have five minutes here or ten minutes there. And I could have taken those bite-sized chunks of time to write bite-sized chunks of content.

We’ve all experienced those times when we didn’t feel like we had the time to write. But we must find ways to keep writing. I have listed a few bite-sized writing prompts below, based off a quick brainstorm. Try them out the next time you feel too busy to write.

  • Write for five minutes about what you are experiencing with your five senses. What do you see around you? Describe what you hear. What do you smell? Touch something and describe how it feels. If you’re eating or drinking something, what does it taste like?
  • Write for five minutes using Merriam Webster’s “Word of the Day” as a prompt.
  • Write for five minutes about a value by which you try to live your life.
  • Visit The Most Dangerous Writing App and write for five minutes about…writing.
  • Write a list of the things you did or experienced today, both the mundane and the unusual.
  • Write a list of 5-10 people you admire, with a quick statement of why.
  • Do copywork. Pick one of your favorite books or poems, select a passage, and copy it down. Bonus points: get off your computer and write it by hand.
  • Ask your kids (or anyone nearby) to give you a character(s), a scene, and a situation. Write a quick story, in five minutes, based on those prompts.

Whether it’s writing, drawing, reading, thinking, exercising—anything you pursue as a regular rhythm—you’ll face those times when you feel too busy to keep it up. Those are especially the times you need to keep at it, even if only in bite-sized chunks. Those bite-sized chunks of time and creative output will help you sustain the rhythms that are important for your wellbeing.