The Folded Paper
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The Folded Paper

Writing tip

The power of 10 minutes and a writing prompt

Write for 2–3 hours everyday. One of the first pieces of advice we get when we are serious about writing. But that is a commitment that many of us can’t make with our full-time jobs, family, and social circles. Further, for the aspiring or the hobby writers, this kind of commitment reinforces writing as an exclusive activity that only a few can do.

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To break this notion of exclusivity and make writing a more achievable activity, in the Writing and Creativity Jam meetings of The Folder Paper, we write in intervals of 5–10 minutes. In these small chunks of time, we think only about the prompt, let our creative juices flow, and write. Nothing more or less.

Contrasting this with the times when we just sit and wait for inspiration — we just see a field but no fence and the vastness overwhelms us.

Of course, this approach might not get a novel completed; we must put in the work that a format deserves. These smaller chunks save us from a binary existence — either 2 hours of writing or no writing. And also this approach comes with these other benefits:

Timed focus and pressure

It is a small start and we know where we are headed. We are headed towards completing a piece in 10 minutes and reading it out to the other fellow writers in a positive space where every idea is accepted. It seems achievable yet the urgency of the small window of 10 minutes looms in the background, thus sprinting us to action.

Prompts are a fence we stay within…or jump

When we give a prompt, it is like opening a door to a vast field with fences. It gives us more control over our thoughts, yet lots of freedom. We can pick the fallen leaves or appreciate the dew on the grass or take the cattle for grazing, or even jump the fence to an adjoining field if the given field is not what we want. We tell Paperians that it is completely fine to not write about the given prompt. At times few adjoining or contrasting ideas are triggered after getting the prompt and it is better to write on these ideas, instead of forcing ourselves to stick to the topic. Triggering of new ideas is a win here.

Contrasting this with the times when we just sit and wait for inspiration — we just see a field but no fence and the vastness overwhelms us.

Also, we prioritize the prompts that surface a human story and push our creative limits so that we are more invested and engaged while writing about the topic.

We also understand that we shouldn’t expect magic in these 10 minutes. We just want to get comfortable with our voices and our ideas so that we can confidently put in 2–3 hours of writing work. Hence, we have built our writing meetings to be a no-comparison zone; no matter how naive or grandiose our writings are, we caution against and withhold any sort of comparison.

Start building a foundation for your writing today, brick by brick. Where each brick is a 10-minute interval and a prompt. If you want to try this approach with more people, join fellow Paperians, Shibani Krishnatraya, and me at The Folded Paper: Writing Group by messaging us here or on Instagram.




A writing group where we write a little more than before. You might like to read what we are learning, what we are thinking, and, of course, what we are writing.

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Harini JBL

Harini JBL

Practicing writing for the kitchen and the soul | Creative Content Writer at MediaAgility & Co-Creator at The Folded Paper, Writing Community

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