Ten Minutes to Fulfilling Your Writing Dreams

{Guest post from Beth Bader}

I left my dream of writing idle for years when I had the time to pursue it. The longer I waited to try, the easier it was to bury myself in the pursuit of making a living. Sometimes you have to completely lose yourself before you find out what parts of you matter most. That lowest point occurred, ironically, at what was also the happiest moment of my life — becoming a mom.

My little girl had acid reflux. For her it meant a lot of pain, especially when lying down to sleep. For me, it meant not sleeping for more than an hour at a time for months on end. After four months of sleep deprivation and daily hours of consoling an infant in pain wore on me, I slipped into post-partum depression and total exhaustion.

When -taking a shower still seemed like a big accomplishment, I had to go back to a demanding, full time job. There were mornings when I caught myself falling asleep while driving. Everything felt murky and distant. I lived in a constant state of robotically attending to everyone else’s needs. Work. Child. Cook. Clean. Repeat.

About this time, my mentor at work said to me, “J.K. Rowling wrote her first books while she was an unemployed single mom with two kids, sometimes she only had ten minutes a day. What’s your excuse?” He challenged me. In his defiant, gruff way my friend gave me a loving kick in the ass to start my way back through the long tunnel of post-partum.

“Restart my crushed dream of writing now?” I thought. I contemplated my file drawer full of rejection letters. Then I thought about the pieces that I had published and how good those felt. “But if not now, Beth, then when? Never?”

I found my ten minutes while I was up in the middle of the night. At first, I wrote for myself. I gave myself written permission to be tired and imperfect, gave myself the caring words I needed to hear. I wrote about the immense love I felt for my child. I wrote to just process all I had experienced. Then, I picked up the pieces of the food blog I had begun while attending culinary school. Cooking was something I had to do. It wasn’t work. It wasn’t baby. Food was a creative space I could call my own.

Blogging let me write in short bursts. As a social medium, it also meant a community of sorts – even at 2 a.m. It became a social lifeline as well as my creative outlet. Over a few years, the posts and recipes added up along with online friendships. I was doing what I loved to do. One day, a blogger I had shared recipes and comments with emailed me. “We should write a book,” she said.

We worked on an outline and then a proposal. Months later, the book contract arrived. Somehow, through this near stranger, and through my blogging ten minutes at a time, a dream I’d had for over thirty years, was realized. Not that the book writing was easy. At times, only sheer will helped me give up the hours of sleep to care for this new “baby” too, and the eighteen months of labor to get it published. But I loved every minute.

These days, when I feel powerless at work, or failing at being the best mom ever, adrift in a sea of obligations and to-do lists, or when I let myself feel the gaping hole in my heart where the second child I wished for did not happen, I hold on tight to the dream I am pursuing. I think about taking some online writing classes, about taking my passion to the next level. I never think about giving up. Not ever again.

So, let me pay this forward: You’ve got ten minutes in a day. What’s your excuse?

About the author: Beth Bader, the co-author of The Cleaner Plate Club: Recipes and Advice for Getting Real Kids to Love Real Food has been a photojournalist, writer, and shark wrangler. As much activist as cook, she is, most of all, a mom determined to make the world a better place for her child, one meal at a time. She is a food blogger at Expatriate’s Kitchen expatriateskitchen.blogspot.com and contributes to EatLocalChallenge.com and EatDrinkBetter.com. She is currently working on ideas for her next book.

Image Credit: hisham_hm

44 thoughts on “Ten Minutes to Fulfilling Your Writing Dreams

  1. If u were in front of me, I would have hugged u tight n introduced u to my best friend n then taken u out for coffee! 😀 I love writing… Was a journalist with a national daily for a bit… Then years passed n today I’m a mom to a month old little boy… 3am one night I registered on WordPress and thought of giving writing another shot! Needless to say the mad routine of being awake 21 hrs a day got to me… But yes iv got 10 minutes n I’m no longer gonna make any excuses! Thanks to u

  2. You are so right! I’ve been making that mistake for far too long. I have only recently started writing every day (as every writer and writing tutor advises you to do) and, even if it is rubbish, it makes me feel so much better and more fulfilled than before, when I was waiting for that ‘big block of writing time’ and/or inspiration.

  3. When fear takes over you can find any excuse not to write. This is a reminder to look for excuses TO write. Inspirational stuff! xx

  4. This is a good inspirational post. Even when life gets tough, writers still have to write… or else they can’t call themselves writers, can they?

  5. Thank you all for the nice words. Jamie was so kind to work with me on this post over time. It was an emotional one to sort out and get edited. I hope it does inspire others and helps us all keep our “ten minutes.” Thank you so much. Hugs back to you, Devika.

  6. Great job Beth. Your post spoke directly to me. It hit on some points that I discussed in a post I recently wrote. I agree that writing can seem like a duanting task, but the more I do it the easier, and more fun, it becomes. We all can talk about wanting to be great writers all day long, but it never comes unless we take the time out the actually write something and remain consistent with it. Keep up the great work in your writing career and I look forward to reading your stuff in the future!!!

  7. First of all kudos to getting thru the baby years!
    This is a stellar reminder! I am a big believer in babysteps which is why I write just 365 words a day but even that can be daunting when life get in the way. So I love the 10 min perspective! I used to do that with running – commit to ten then wind up going for longer because it felt great! I need to look for more stories on Rowling – she’s a huge inspiration! Thanks for being the gentle challenge I needed today!

  8. Wow, Beth–you sound so much like me, in getting your writing nourishment from blogging! I am much older than you and returning to writing again since last September! I just went “hooray” and “tell it, girl!” at every sentence of yours in this post. You have my profoundest admiration!

    • Thank you, Christine. I’m starting my next major writing project soon. Good luck to you and everyone here on their work. I’ll visit and will love to see what others are working on and their posts.

      Thank you all so much.

  9. Very inspiring! So true!

    I find myself waiting for when I can write four hours/day, three days/week as I used to with a “writing buddy.” In three months, we each accomplished more than we ever had writing alone in twice the same time. We kept each other accountable. It was all work, no talk. It was a great habit, and I anticipated each meet with excitement.

    It is time I return to this habit, even if it means I write alone. It is also time for me to write in those short thirty minutes before work, as well.

  10. Pingback: Writing is good for the soul « moreStories. moreSmiles. moreSharing. moreSinc.

  11. Similar experience with my middle daughter who had colic, sensory defensiveness, neurological problems, etc. Those must have been really tough times for you. Glad you made it through so you could offer inspiring words to other writers who feel like they are in a rut and holding themselves back.
    More than 24 years later, I’m past the baby stage, but my husband was recently laid off from work and it looks like I will have to get a regular day job while he attempts to complete some re-training to increase job opportunities. Found myself wallowing a bit. Feeling sorry for myself that I would not have the time to pursue my dream the way I want to, especialyl since I’ve only been at it a couple of years full-time. Already felt like I didn’t enough time to write with a part-time job to help supplement my income while I build my career.
    But life CAN go on in the most challenging times and writers CAN write no matter how hectic and full the schedule gets. Maybe it isn’t perfect, like you say, but it’s better than denying who we are! Not writing at all is worse than writing only what you can manage fitting into the schedule.
    Thank you.

    • Laura, sounds like you’ve survived your own challenges. You sound like you have plenty of strength to get you through this, too. I hope all goes well for you and your spouse. Thank you!

  12. 🙂 I found this so inspiring! Now I’m going to seriously think about what I should dedicate my 10 minutes a day to. Thanks for sharing! I’m glad you got to publish your book!

  13. amazing! i am so awed by your courage and determination..u inspire me to be the best that i can be 🙂 from now on, i will use my ten minutes as creatively as i can 🙂 thank you 🙂

  14. Such an inspirational blog for every amateur writer who wanted to become a shining star in the open and unending sky of writing. Well, i myself is also struggling with the same situation. Though not married, but still engrossed with the essential and sometimes, inessential chores of daily routine. However, i find an inspiration from your blog wherein attaining the goal does not matter much, whereas following the road of your hidden ambitions must hold significant position in the journey.

  15. This is very inspiring and rather guilt-inducing… I have lots of ten minute gaps and no excuses, yet I seem to spend more time scanning the internet and reading blogs than I do with pen and paper. You’re right, though, what am I waiting for? Thanks!

  16. I have began using apps on my smartphone to either create a new [draft] post for my blog or save a note on something I thought, observed, or questioned. Thanks for that extra in ordinary inspirations!

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