review: Write a Novel in 10 Minutes

Aspiring novelists today often don’t have time to sculpt great novels. We have busy lives. We have children to raise and jobs to attend to and household responsibilities. We have the nagging thoughts that tell us that our dreams and desires are not worth pursuing.
I would like to suggest that you can, without any guilt or shame, sculpt a novel in very small increments of time. You can make decisions bit by bit and then use your writing time effectively. You can take each one of the exercises in this book, work at them around your schedule, and slowly see your story come to life.

I remember the first book I read on being a writer. The author had excellent advice on everything except for time management. Instead, she expressed her gratitude to her husband, who worked full-time in some non-writing occupation, and whose salary paid for their three-bedroom apartment in Manhattan. One of her challenges for carving out writing time was getting distracted by her child’s nanny.

Having neither husband, nor someone else financially supporting me, nor a view of the Hudson River from my living room, nor domestic help, nor even a child (although that is one distraction I would welcome), I had a hard time relating. I’m sure all of the challenges seemed real to her, but my take-away was without either finding a spouse who was willing to support me or winning the lottery, I was doomed to the ranks of “hobby” (ugh) scribblers. There were writers, and then there were the “rest of us”, with day jobs, households, and people (both relatives and non-relatives) picking away at our precious writing time, so by the time we were done "everything else" and could sit down and write, we were just as likely to fall asleep.

Write a Novel in 10 Minutes is the writing book for "the rest of us": the writers who are trying to juggle their writing dreams with life’s demands. Katharine Grubb has written a book full of down-to-earth, use-it-now advice, all broken down into sections which can be read and then acted upon in ten-minute chunks.

The first few sections of the book discuss how to work in ten-minute bursts so that each of the ten minutes is used well, and how to ensure that there are ten-minute bursts that you can write in. I liked Grubb’s task/reward approach: fold the laundry, write for ten minutes. Make the kids breakfast, write for ten minutes. I’m writing this portion of the review having just finished eating lunch at work, and now I’m... writing for ten minutes. The paragraphs before this one were completed on my phone, on the subway.

Every chapter ends with one or more exercises to help the reader take action and put into practice what the chapter discussed. The most interesting exercises, for me, were the ones to help someone assess what needed to be done in a household and who was going to do it. Never mind writers — anyone who has their own home should do these.

After the chapters on work rhythm and time management, Write a Novel in 10 Minutes discusses story-telling, and specifically novel-writing, in a structured way, with each chapter covering one aspect the writer needs to consider.

At first, these sections surprised me, because I couldn’t initially see what they had to do with the earlier chapters. Once I got into reading them, however, it made sense. If you’re writing in ten-minute chunks, you don’t have time to dither around. You need to know exactly what your next task will be.

Write a Novel in 10 Minutes is generously seasoned with examples and quoted passages from well-known works of literature, and written in clear, engaging prose. Even if you do have lots of free time and a view of the Hudson River, you may well find it useful for organising your writing life.

About the Author

Katharine Grubb is a homeschooling mom to five, blogger, indie novelist, writing coach, baker of bread, comedian wannabe and former running coward. Her novel, Falling For Your Madness, was featured in Catholic Digest and was a quarterfinalist for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Her most recent book, Write A Novel In 10 Minutes A Day, was released by Hodder & Stoughton. She blogs at www.10minutenovelists.com and lives in Massachusetts.

Twitter: @10MinNovelists
Facebook Group: 10 Minute Novelists