On Tuesday, I shared a letter with writers who are feeling like they’ll never be able to form a writing habit. If you’re in that boat, you’re not alone! You’re also not helpless.
Katharine Grubb is a writer who could have chosen to feel that way. With several children and all of the responsibilities that come with teaching and caring for them, time was definitely not on her side for getting her novel written. Instead of giving up, though, she made a plan: she would set a kitchen timer for ten minutes during her day and write during that time. It worked, and in 2012, she self-published her first novel.
Thanks to her kind heart and an interested publisher, Katharine wrote a book to help other time-crunched writers share the stories they are itching to tell. That book, Write a Novel in Ten Minutes a Day, came out on March 26th—exactly three weeks ago today. I won a copy of the book in a giveaway, and I’m impressed by how much helpful content fills the pages!
No one has asked me to talk about the book, but I’m starting the conversation because I think more people need to be talking about it. Are you curious yet? Here are three quick takeaways from the book as well as five reasons this book is worth your time.
- Stories are sculpted, not simply written.
“A good novel is not one that is rushed through in its writing; it is rarely written in one chronological draft. Instead, it is sculpted piece by piece, bit by bit, hammered, chiseled, filed, stroked and published. A good writer sculpts his story over time.” (Introduction)
- You shouldn’t wait for the perfect time to write—it might never come.
“I don’t believe that any writer should wait for the perfect moment, or for when the kids are older, or for huge chunks of time, or even when our offices and pets and drinking habits resemble those of famous writers. I think, instead, that setting a timer and typing like mad until it goes off is a better strategy. Doing something is better than doing nothing.” (Chapter 1)
- A story is bigger than a novel.
“The story itself is distinctly different from the novel. The story is the narrative—what happens, who it happens to and what happens in the end. The novel is the vehicle in which it is presented, the form in which the story takes place.” (Chapter 6)
What makes this book special:
- A focus on preparation
For would-be writers who are stressed and busy, it’s not as simple as sitting down and starting to plan a story. Katharine addresses this in the first part of the book with chapters that will help you figure out where, when, and why you’re writing.
- Distinguishing between the writing and editing steps
A good book is planned, written, and edited with care, and none of those steps should be left out. Katharine not only explains why each step is so important, she also helps you fit each step into ten-minute increments. Being short on time doesn’t have to mean skimping!
- Overview of story and character types
There are recognizable story and character types that show up in most novels. Katharine explains the basics of each, helping you recognize, understand, and strengthen the plots and characters in your own book.
- Constructive exercises and workshops
This book contains practical 10-minute exercises for every stage of planning, writing, and revising a novel. Not only are there workshops at the ends of the chapters to help grow the novel, there are also exercises to help you organize your schedule, solve your writing problems, and address your questions in tangible steps.
- Self-contained chapters
For all of the information packed into its pages, this book reads fairly quickly from cover to cover. However, each chapter also stands alone—writers can pick up this book at any time to work on the element of their novel that needs the most help. You’ll be able to fit this book to your needs, whatever those may be.
Write a Novel in 10 Minutes a Day is a book that should be on every writer’s bookshelf. While it doesn’t go as deeply into some elements of writing and editing as a specialized guide to that element would, it covers enough to start you on your writing journey, no matter who you are or how busy your life is. You can find the book directly on the Amazon UK site (this is where you can see the table of contents and some sample pages!) or indirectly through the Amazon US site.
As Katharine Grubb wrote her book, she started talking to other writers online and discovered that there are quite a few people out there who have a story to tell but very little time to make it happen. She brought them all together online, and there’s now a thriving community of over one thousand writers who talk about writing, seek and give advice, and support each other through struggles and successes. If that’s the kind of community you’re looking for, you can find helpful posts on the blog, weekly writing chats on Twitter, and a welcoming group with plenty of events and support on Facebook.
It doesn’t matter if you write for many or just a few minutes each day; you don’t have to do it alone. There are other writers out there who want to be your support, and Katharine Grubb is definitely one of them. Check out her book and let her words help you get that novel written!