In the middle of the desert you can say anything you want

31 Jan 2019

Ten minutes a day – Noteworthy - The Journal Blog

Now, I didn’t say I wrote the book every day — just that I worked on it. Some (many) days, I would work on sample code, futz with formatting, brainstorm ideas, or make edits. All I needed to do was stare at the page for ten minutes and try to do something that felt like progress.
Instead, I got into a different kind of zone — one where the work was omnipresent, but in the background. More sous vide than flame grilled. Writing every day kept ideas top of mind. When I finished writing, I’d carry the puzzles to my commute or the shower, and I’d talk to people about them. My ideas were always nearby, making it easy to jump back in. If I’d worked for 70 minutes, every Saturday, I’m sure I’d have made far less progress. I’d have forgotten where I was every time I was ready to start.
If I had writer’s block, I didn’t beat myself up about it — **today might not be a good day, so let’s use it for something I have to do anyway.** There’s always tomorrow to take another crack at writing.
On those days, I would often review and edit dozens of pages, which kick-started my thinking by reminding me of the big picture — and of the gaps — in a way that I couldn’t when my cursor was sitting and blinking in the middle of a sentence. I rarely found myself unable to write for more than a few days or a week at a time.