You Can Do Anything for an Hour a Day
Updated: Nov 9, 2019
I was thrilled to get my question answered on Laura Vanderkam’s Before Breakfast podcast—my favorite podcast! I received a lot of great advice from both Laura and listeners who emailed her with suggestions.
My question was: How can I write creatively for an hour a day when I write for a living and work 40 hours a week (50 when you include 7.5 hours of commuting and 2.5 hours of required lunch breaks), and workout, walk my dog and find some kind of dinner after work. I noticed by 7 p.m., (when I was done with all these must-dos), I was absolutely drained and didn’t feel like writing.
One listener suggested writing in the car through dictation or brainstorming while walking my dog. These are great ideas! I’ve actually started testing dialogue during my commute and walks to see if it sounds natural. So far, Kanna is underwhelmed by my dialogue, but that’s just encouraged me to make it more exciting. Thank you, Before-Breakfast Listener!
Laura’s advice was to write 100 words, or just 10 minutes, a day. I’ve been trying this since the podcast aired on Aug. 12, and it’s working for me. Except that I find myself writing one to two hours a day instead!
It’s possibly due to practice from my recent writing/workout retreat, but I think it’s my new mantra.
I don’t know where I first heard (or read) this phrase. It could be something Laura said in a podcast, Gretchen Rubin wrote in a blog or something my writer-brain whispered to me at 2 a.m., (If you know where I heard it, please tell me!), but it’s really working for me.
Here it is:
You can do anything for an hour a day.
Whenever I don’t feel like revising my really-almost-done novel or hitting the gym, I remind myself of this truth, because it’s impossible to argue with.
Am I really going to tell myself that I can’t go to the gym on weekdays for just an hour even though I have time between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. to get this done? Am I really going to claim that I can’t write for an hour on weekdays when I have time between 7 and 10 p.m. (bedtime) to do it? (I wrote this blog in an hour, today.)
No. I’m not. I do have time to get both writing and working out done on a daily basis. I know because I’ve been at it since Aug. 3rd! That’s a solid month of working toward my most important goals on a daily basis. It is possible.
Another thing I’ve told myself repeatedly is:
Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime will always be there. You’re not going to run out of shows or time to watch them. Getting healthy and finishing the novel you’ve worked on for 28 years is more important than keeping up with on-demand shows.
Not quite as catchy, but also effective.