Writers need to have a writing schedule, one that should be everyday. At least that’s what every established author says. I don’t disagree, but as anyone who has tried to write everyday knows, it’s a struggle to keep.

I’m awful at keeping a schedule. When I was in school my excuse was a pile of books and a research paper due that was begun two weeks too late. Now, it’s a full time job, family, and wanting to just shut off for a little while at the end of the day.

A long time ago I was given the advice that the way to write everyday for a good chunk of time was to start small, and build up. Write five minutes a day for a few weeks. Then up it to ten, and so on. But, force yourself to stop at the minute mark, even when you want to write more as to prepare yourself for the next day.

I’ve mentioned previously that I think it’s perfectly normal to break your schedule and you can’t beat yourself up about it. But you also can’t forget to write.

For me, I decided to break my sporadic schedule up by (finally) taking that advice.

This is what I learned while only writing ten minutes a day:

It’s extremely frustrating when the timer goes off mid-thought, but I stuck to the plan and stopped writing. I realized the frustration at having to stop writing so abruptly helped me creatively the next day. There are days when there’s nothing to write–my creativity is squashed. Forcing myself to stop writing was like storing something for later.

But, those were the days that I was use to writing. The days I usually would skip because I was tired or busy, the ten minutes felt like an hour. I would work on the same thing I had the previous day, but I would drag my feet. By the time the buzzer went off, I was relieved, and surprisingly frustrated. I’d cut through the laziness to begin to write only for the buzzer to tell me I was done.

I learned that staring at a blank screen was better than giving up, it was better to stop writing than to over spend your mind, and that it relieved the pressure of having to produce something everyday.

So, I’d say write for ten minutes a day for a week. Just to try it. Even if you have a good writing schedule, just to see what you learn, how frustrating it can be, or how ten minutes can be too long on a day where you just want to go home and fall asleep.