What could you do in 20 minutes a day?

Slightly cheating on my “blogging every day” plan, as I drafted this a while ago but hadn’t had time to finish it. But with a bit of editing it follows on nicely from yesterday’s post about time….

A few years ago, I did a 30 day challenge in which I wrote a blog post a day. The first of many creative challenges, as it turned out.

I’d sit down and write every day for 20 minutes. Some days it was easy, an idea came into my head and I just typed away. Other days I started out with no inspiration. On those days I just typed whatever appeared in my head. A few sentences, not always connected. And eventually after a few minutes something did emerge, and sustained itself as an idea for 20 minutes.

The last time I’d written creatively was in my final GCSE year, and I can still recall a piece I wrote (literally wrote, with ink pen on A4 lined paper), about a watery shore with a boat, I think it was a lake. I still have that self-imagined picture in my head after more than 20 years.  I went on to study chemistry, then later marketing, taking on project management roles, all of which were very busy. Add to that my social life and some charity and community volunteering, and there was no room for creative writing or any other form of creativity. Until the 30 Day Challenge came along…..

That blog was the official start of my creative rediscovery. (You can still read it here). I even compiled a few pieces into an ebook a few months later.

And since then I’ve reinvented that challenge in other forms many times over in a quest to find out what worked best for me – writing, photography and combinations of those. I realised that this creativity wasn’t a potential career change for me like it is for others who embark on a similar challenge or challenges. I was never going to write novels for example, and probably not even be paid for short stories.

But I learned a lot from it, too many things to go into detail about right now. (Perhaps there’s a book in there somewhere…) Aside from rediscovering my creativity and realising I could find time for it, the other thing I found out was that working on something for just 20 minutes a day is a powerful activity. I have used the technique to complete other projects – including writing a course about Twitter, which I would probably not have found time to finish if it had required me to spend a large block of time on it.

You can read the results of my own 30 day challenge here or pick up a copy of the book the challenge was based on here – Screw Work Let’s Play by John Williams.

What could you do if you committed 20 minutes to it on a regular basis?

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