Posted On January 9, 2015 by Print This Post

The Power of 15 Minutes by Kristina Knight

You’ve got a laundry list of things that need to get done (including laundry) and no time to write. Sound familiar? Author Kristina Knight shares her fifteen minute writing method and tips on keeping your fingers on the keyboard.

One commenter will win a digital copy of Kristina’s latest release. 

Great to have you with us, Kristina!  

Hi, Romance University crew! Thank you so much for inviting me here today; I’m a long time reader of the blog, although I only comment sporadically. My first book was published with Crimson Romance in 2012 – that’s only two years ago – and my ninth was just published this month from Harlequin’s SuperRomance line. As I was figuring out what to write for this post I asked – a lot! – what do I have to share that is of value? What I realized is that we all have experiences that can be valuable, whether we’re long-time professionals or newbies to the community. What’s my experience?

I’m the mom of a gymnast-and-swimmer, the wife of a very busy guy, I have critique partners and a couple of group blogs that I contribute to, I have deadlines with publishers (both fiction and non-fiction), friends who deserve attention, I volunteer at my kid’s school, I teach water classes at our local YMCA…the list goes on. That isn’t to say I’m busier than any of you reading this post. We’re all busy and I think every year we get busier. But I’ve found over the last year – when I had my daily non-fiction deadlines, five different book deadlines, revision and editing schedules to keep, a busier than normal travel schedule and took on the Y classes – that I have more time than I think. I just have to use it creatively.

That is where this post comes in. The Power of 15 minutes.

I don’t know about you, readers, but since just before Christmas I’ve been seeing commercials about 15 Minute Power Abs, 15 Minute Yoga, 15 Minute Naps. Everything seems to be 15 minutes.

I’ve been using 15 minutes snatches of time for just over two years – since bebe started pre-school – to accomplish little tasks like folding a load of laundry or writing a blog post. Sometimes I even read books in 15 minute increments. And I write my books, at least half the time, in 15 minute increments. The carpool lane, waiting at bebe’s gymnastics classes, at the doctor’s office…you name it. Here’s how I do it:

First, I stop in the middle.

For the longest time I would write until I reached a stopping point, usually the end of a chapter. What I’ve found with this 15 minute method is that stopping in the middle can be the carrot that pulls us back to the writing faster. I don’t know about you, but if I’ve had to leave off with my hero and heroine in the middle of smexy times, I want to get back. I don’t want to leave them hanging! When the end of my writing time comes, I don’t worry if I’m in the middle of a scene or the end of a chapter.

Second, I know where I’m going, even if I don’t know how I’m going to get there.

I call myself a pant-lotter. I write from a very loose outline/synopsis, but I don’t know every event that will happen. I also accept Kristina Knightthat sometimes the events in my outline will be rearranged and even changed so much that the finished book barely resembles the outline. I’m okay with that because know where I’m going to end up – even if the route to the finish line isn’t clear – frees my mind and shuts up those doubt crows that try to flap their way into my mind.

Some of you need a completely blank page, and I admire you so much! Knowing where you’re going can still work for you. Remember that bit about stopping in the middle – when you stop write down a sentence about where the scene is headed or maybe an idea about the next scene. When you do that, you’ve got your jumping off place ready for the next time you open your manuscript. No wondering, ‘where are my characters going today?’ because you know and you can get right to the writing.

Third, I look at where I’ve been.

When I have a whole day to write, I’ll read the entire chapter that I wrote the day before, editing a little as I go, before I start writing. When I have only 15 minutes, I’ll read the last 4-5 paragraphs and then start writing. This reading brings me right back to my characters. It helps my mind shut out the list of emails in my inbox, the dinner I need to cook that I haven’t prepped or the fact that I’m writing while in the carpool line at school. It immerses me in the story and makes me eager to find out where my characters are going.

When January of 2014 hit my schedule exploded – I had conferences to get ready for, an indie book release, I signed two separate 3-book deals with Harlequin (one for Harlequin-E and one for SuperRomance), had my non-fiction writing obligations, started teaching at the Y and I began to hyperventilate. Because I can write a blog post or schedule some social media posts in 15 minutes, but how was I going to write complete books when my days were already scheduled to the hilt?

I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I knew it had to be done. I focused on what I knew: those little bits of time add up. Between April and September of last year I wrote 2 80,000-word novels, and revised and edited 3 novellas. There were moments all I wanted to do was run to my bedroom and pull the covers over my head. There were also moments when everything seemed perfect, when the words flowed, and I realized that I was doing it. I was meeting my deadlines, accomplishing my goals.

We are all super busy, but I hope my 15 minute method gives you some ideas about how to accomplish more in your day.

How do you write, readers? Do you have an outline or synopsis or fly by the seat of your pants?

Remember to leave a comment below as one name will be drawn to win a digital copy of my new release, The Daughter He Wanted. 

Author Liz Talley joins us on Monday, January 12th.

***

The Daughter He Wanted

The Daughter He Wanted (Harlequin Superromance, January 2015)

The Daddy Surprise

Since the loss of his wife, Alex Ryan has been living a half-life. But with one phone call, Alex discovers he’s the biological father of a four-year-old girl…and everything changes.

Single mom Paige Kenner preferred to have a family without the man. Now suddenly there’s Alex, who desperately wants to be a father to her little girl. A gorgeous, kind and committed father. Letting a stranger into their lives is far too dangerous—especially if his presence stirs a part of Paige that she longs to forget….

***

Bio: Once upon a time, Kristina Knight spent her days running from car crash to fire to meetings with local police–no, she wasn’t a troublemaker, she was a journalist. Her career took her all over the United States, writing about everything from a serial killer’s capture to the National Finals Rodeo. Along the way she found her very own Knight in Shining Cowboy Boots and an abiding love for romance novels. And just like the characters from her favorite books, she’s living her own happily ever after.

Kristina writes sassy contemporary romance novels; her books have appeared on Kindle Best Seller Lists. She loves hearing from readers, so drop her a line!

To learn more about Kristina, visit her website, or connect with her via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Goodreads, and Google+.

 

 

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32 Responses to “The Power of 15 Minutes by Kristina Knight”

  1. Loved your post – I have always used this method – usually with a book but now it is with writing, whether waiting at the doctor’s with my hubby (as I did on Wed.) or waiting for company and all is ready. Congrats on all your projects!

    Posted by Bev | January 9, 2015, 7:02 am
  2. Thanks for stopping by, Bev! It’s a great method, for sure, glad it’s working for you!

    Posted by Kristina Knight | January 9, 2015, 7:14 am
  3. This was just the post I needed. On Monday, full time classes start at the university and my semester is booked with 15 credits. But my new 2-month-old WIP is begging to be finished. This 15 minute plan can help me dig into my schedule and mine the unused time I forgot I had. Thanks so much!!!

    Posted by Amelia | January 9, 2015, 8:03 am
  4. A very informative post, I am in awe of the amount of work you produced in 2 years! WOW.
    I have a question do you; what tools do you use to write? Is it a laptop, notebook,iPad, or pen and paper?
    Thanks

    Posted by Rose Kerr | January 9, 2015, 8:15 am
    • Hi, Rose! I write my drafts on my iPad and I take it everywhere (I use Pages and either email the files to my PC or use Dropbox)…when I’m editing I use my PC because the screen is bigger and I can put the file with edits and the new file side by side. I’ve usually got a pen and paper with me, but that is primarily for notes about scenes or GMCs.Hope that helps, good luck!

      Posted by Kristina Knight | January 9, 2015, 10:07 am
  5. I’m a get to the end,check it off kinda girl, but I recognize stopping in the middle as crucial advice. A bit of a light bulb moment as I look at my schedule. Now, I just have to try and adhere to that.

    Posted by Rose | January 9, 2015, 9:07 am
  6. Great post. Thanks for sharing your process.

    Posted by Jackie Layton | January 9, 2015, 9:17 am
  7. Just wanted to stop by and tell you something you already know Kristi. You are a super woman! I’m amazed by your energy and ability to pull off the things you do, but not surprised. 🙂 I’ve enjoyed watching you grow from the new writer we both were when we met four years ago into such an incredible multipublished one. Congrats on your fantabulous success sweetie!!!!

    Posted by Calisa Rhose | January 9, 2015, 9:56 am
  8. xo, Calisa! Thank you so much … you made my day!

    Posted by Kristina Knight | January 9, 2015, 10:09 am
  9. I needed this today, Kristina!! First, congratulations on all you’ve accomplished in the last two years! I’m really impressed! I love your ideas of stopping in the middle and snatching writing time at odd places.

    I wrote a short story while waiting for my daughter to finish track practice. I often read during my son’s baseball warmups. I snatch minutes here and there all day long!

    Posted by Jill Kemerer | January 9, 2015, 10:09 am
  10. Great post, Kristi! I’ve finally realized I don’t always need chunks of time to accomplish something.

    Congratulations on your new release!

    Posted by Jenna Rutland | January 9, 2015, 11:49 am
  11. Very timely post! Those few minutes do add up.

    Congrats on the new Superromance!!

    Posted by Tamara Hunter | January 9, 2015, 12:09 pm
  12. Kristina,

    This is such a great article. This is exactly how I’ve been writing for the last year and a half. I work full time and have three young children and a husband that works out of town during the week. Life is crazy. I still haven’t finished my book but the time does add up I agree. I can get almost two chapters a week in and for me that’s pretty good! It’s nice to see other people that write in this method. Most writers think I’m crazy!

    Posted by LIndy Dierks | January 9, 2015, 12:26 pm
  13. Great post, and VERY helpful. I’m a pantser trying to become more of a pant-lotter. I participated in a Storywonk workshop on writing to anchor scenes, which I find much easier than plotting the whole thing out. I’m always looking for large blocks of time to write – and rarely finding them – but I can do 15 minutes. Great suggestions!

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | January 9, 2015, 1:09 pm
    • Hi, Becke, I hope you try it and it works for you! I love the days when I have all the time in the world to write and get those big wordcounts in, but I’ve found that even on days when I have a few 15 minute sessions I can get a lot accomplished. Good luck with the pant-lotting! 🙂

      Posted by Kristina Knight | January 9, 2015, 2:07 pm
  14. An excellent post and excellent advice.

    Posted by Liz Flaherty | January 9, 2015, 2:26 pm
  15. Excellent post. I’m exhausted from just reading about your schedule. I outline my stories and use them as a guideline, which keeps me from writing myself into a corner.

    Thanks for blogging with us today!

    Posted by Jennifer Tanner | January 9, 2015, 9:43 pm
  16. thanks, Liz! And Jennifer, those guidelines are important, aren’t they? 🙂 Thanks for visiting!

    Posted by Kristina Knight | January 9, 2015, 10:06 pm
  17. Hi Kristina!

    Sorry so late to post. =) I love Dr Wicked’s Write or Die….I can set it for however many minutes or words I want to write, then I’m off and running….=)

    I also do things in 5’s…not sure why, but I always have. If I clean 5 things, I can write/read/do something fun for 5 minutes. I read 5 emails, then have to fold 5 pieces of laundry. Weird, I know, but it keeps me moving from one project to the next and pretty soon I’m all caught up.

    We all have our little quirks to keep ourselves on task!

    Thanks for posting with us today!

    carrie

    Posted by Carrie Spencer | January 10, 2015, 12:41 am
  18. Very inspiring! Lately I only get short spurts (30 or 45 minutes.) When I have 15 minutes I think, that’s not enough…but I really could write in that short amount of time. Thanks.

    Posted by Laurie Evans | January 10, 2015, 12:37 pm
  19. Hi Kristina. Thanks for the great tips on power writing. After being blocked for weeks, I decided to write in small do-able chunks of 500 words a day. That ways, even if I’m not happy with what I have written the previous day, it’s easier to do a do-over. Also, when the flow is good, it can go up to 1000+ words.

    Posted by Adite Banerjie | January 10, 2015, 10:08 pm
  20. That’s a nice site you people are carrying out there.

    Posted by ukessay | January 20, 2017, 12:19 am

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