The principle is breathtakingly simple: commit to writing for at least ten minutes every single day — and then see that promise through.
You might now be tempted to throw down the book and start your first ten-minute block and, in that case, I say go for it. But then come back and read the rest. It’s pretty short, occasionally entertaining and, as you’ll find, there’s more to it than meets the eye.
I started my streak back in 2017 based entirely on reading Mini Habits[i] by Stephen Guise. Later on, having already written the best part of a million words through my ten-minute habit, I encountered Atomic Habits[ii] by James Clear which confirmed much of what I was doing, but also helped me add a few wrinkles of my own that I’ve now incorporated into my routine.
So, in Ten Minute Author, I’ll spill the beans on my technique, supported by experience and the research and writings of Guise, Clear and Charles Duhigg.
But this is a practical guide—I’ll only cover enough of the theory to help you understand why and how this technique works.
I completely accept that the ten-minute habit won’t suit everyone. It’s a little like the plotter or pantser debate (see later). Writing is an intensely personal exercise and you need to find what works for you. In my view, the best way to do this is to try as many techniques as you can. But you must give each a genuine try if you’re to discover your ideal routine.
For the ten-minute habit, I want you to commit to following the technique for just 28 days. That gives you long enough to try it on for size. Even if you decide it’s not for you, you’ll end those 28 days with more words than you started, and you’ll have proven that you can write consistently. You should find those four weeks enjoyable and fulfilling, and I guarantee you’ll learn something about yourself both as a writer and as a human being. I suspect you’ll like what you discover.
This book also contains many of the craft and productivity lessons I’ve learned as an author. They’re not here because I think I’m some sort of self-publishing guru, but because I know that many readers of this book will be at the beginning of their careers, and I want to pass on some of what I’ve learned to make their path a little smoother than mine. As with all things indie publishing, take from it what you wish.