Experiment in writing a half-hour per day: What is writing time?

My experiment in writing a half hour per day is progressing. One month into my writing commitment,  I’ve been able to reflect on what really happens when committing some routine time to “write” about things I’m working towards.

I’m quoting the word “write” because I’ve discovered I spend a lot of time not writing, as sketched below:

Writing time

Writing time for things I’m working toward is actually proving to involve several steps.

Along the way, I’ve learned that I prefer 60-90 minutes of time of “writing time” versus 30 minutes.

Thinking about Writing goals

I’m finding committing time to write regularly is really helping me to be goal focused. I’ve set some personal-professional learning goals for 2014, i.e. “What am I hoping to learn to improve my skills and how can I apply it to my work?” Thus, keeping a spreadsheet with a list of my goals, then generating a list of associated blog posts ideas, complete with a lists of blog post titles (and notes for each)  is one activity I’ve been working on during “writing time” over the past month.

Connecting Ideas with sketchnotes

I’ve also found that doodling/sketchnoting/visual note taking (one of my 2014 learning goals), is helping me jump start the writing process by providing myself with a visual map of what I should write about. It also helps me see the relationship behind the ideas I’m trying to make. One of the realizations I’ve (and many others, I’m sure) have had is that when I try and express my learning in one linear path, it completely chokes my ability to communicate. Drawing something non-linear, seems to be the first step to being able to write something linear, as funny as that may seem.

Writing!!!!

Next, I’ve been able to write and publish a few blog posts. This is gratifying, even though I’m shooting for 500 words or less and have missed every time!   However,  since my recent realization that making sketchnotes seems to be expediting and streamlining my thought process about what I should write, I think I may be able to achieve this goal for future posts, especially if I can further execute my ‘next steps plan’ (read on further).

Discerning with whom and when to share

I realize the last (and sometimes even the first) part of the equation to writing is discerning with whom and when to share (as Harold Jarche writes). For example, here are some of the questions I consider: Should I write in a paper journal, Evernote journal, this WordPress blog? What blogging tags should I use? Who should I share it with and when should I share it with them? Maybe I should write something and share this with my work team, an online community,  my Personal Learning Network?  What hashtag should I use if I share on Twitter or Google+?

What’s next to keep me “writing”?

As I think about all that is really involved with “writing time”, I’m finding I need more structure or a continuation plan. How will I write less per post, publish more frequently, and write things I and others will find most valuable?

Three next steps plans (outlined in rectangles) for continuing to blog

Next steps plans (outlined in rectangles) for continuing to write on my blog

Here is my next steps plan:

  • Find several tracks or series, where I can gain some momentum by writing blog posts in a series of smaller, but yet connected pieces. I plan to keep a spreadsheet where I can prioritize, schedule, then check off blog post titles and tracks as I complete them.
  • Include writing time into daily priority list. If I’m short on time, discover which of my writing steps can be completed to move me forward to completing a blog post.
  • As I see a list of unfinished blog posts grow, I will likely fold the review of my unfinished posts occasionally into my priority lists, so I can determine what to purge or keep and refine.

So there it is, one month later, I’m finding I’ve made progress in working on putting “writing time” into my daily workflow.  The last observation I’m making here, is that I didn’t originally give myself a commitment to blog, I made a commitment to write.

I’m finding the little bit of feedback and conversations I’ve generated through several blog posts has been so beneficial, that it’s driving me to stay focused and find better ways to write and share through this blog.  So, on that note, future progress reports may be focused on my experiment in blogging.

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2 thoughts on “Experiment in writing a half-hour per day: What is writing time?

  1. It was great to see some of your sketchnotes incorporated here. Really good inspiration to start. Also admire your discipline. I’ve been wondering about half finished posts as well. I think it’s worthwhile keeping them, even if you don’t decide to publish…still a good way to track progression in thinking and documented experiences.

    • Thanks Tanya. Right now I’m taking one day at a time for finding the discipline to write or reflect consistently. I’m hoping that some of my habits and skills from this experiment will carry with me and improve (i.e. take sketchnoting, reflective practice) even if I enter period of time where I can’t commit as much time to writing (because you know that is bound to happen eventually). 🙂

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