It May Not Change your Life, but It Can Finish a Book!
It’s possible that I had already spent a 100 hours on my soul sketch book! Some days I worked diligently for six hours at a time. Then I might have stopped working on it for six months! In any case whatever method I was using as a book writing strategy was not doing the job!
Looking back, I could compare my efforts to taking a long trip across the country. I would start my car, then accelerate it with a jerk. Then I would drive it onto the highway and go full speed toward my final destination. I would continue full speed for about 100 miles. By then I would be tired so I would stop to rest by the side of the road at some picnic area and decide to stay for a few weeks. After that I would pull out my map and start again. Such an enterprise wouldn’t even get me to the first gas station and I seriously doubt if it would take me cross country. But I still dreamed of getting to my final destination with a published book.
My soul sketch book was about like that car and I wasn’t even reaching the gas station.
The original finished drawings were waiting for me to write their interpretations which fell into three categories:
- Visions: drawings for inspiration
- Situations and Solutions: drawings revealing an issue and offering a solution in a subsequent drawing
- Self-Realization: drawings leading to spiritual self realization
Most of my soul sketches began with a general sketch of a real person. This was usually accomplished in a 30 to 40 minute sitting. After that the sketch sort of hibernated for an indefinite period of time until I took it out and allowed the pencils to finish it. Once finished, if I found it worthy I added it to the pile of sketches meant for the
book. But the book itself, that is writing the interpretations for each drawing, seemed to be taking forever. Of course there were excellent ‘excuses’ for this since I had a demanding full time job and social life. I often finished late at night and who wants to start working on their book then? It was easier to just lay my glasses on the computer and wait for ‘mañana’ to free up some time.
Writing is also a demanding job! Sadly, months would fly by and no progress was made on the book. Needless to say this was not doing much for my self-confidence either!
Finally one year, as a new year’s resolution, I came up with my 10 minutes a day rule to finish my book! Of course I had made finishing the book a new year’s resolution several times in the past, but never with the 10 minute stipulation.
This year would be different because 10 minutes is manageable.
No matter how tired you are or how late it is or how useless it seems, 10 minutes can always be spared. It is just as easy to keep your glasses on, open the computer and do a little polishing up to whatever text you left off with. Ten minutes are not intimidating. Ten extra minutes will not deprive you of sleep or make it impossible for you to get up for work the next day. Ten minutes are doable in the worst of circumstances because you don’t have to have a perfect work day plan to accomplish 10 minutes of effort. So I resolved to spend a minimum of 10 minutes a day every day on my book.
It takes a lot of work to get a book ready to publish but with the 10 minutes a day rule I accomplished in a few months what I had not been able to do in the past few years. I got the book ready to go to press.
On particularly busy days when I was exhausted and had to think of my work for the next day, before going to bed I would go to my computer and look over my table of contents or start the heading for a new chapter or write a brief outline. If nothing else I would polish and trim what I had written the day before.
I also might spend 10 minutes adding shading or line-work to the drawings. I found that these 10 minute sessions would often stretch into hours. The key advantages to the 10 minute rule are:
- Regularity equates to rhythm. The practice, no matter how short creates a daily habit or momentum.
- Ten minutes is a ‘start’ and ‘starting is the hardest step in any project so by imposing that start up daily you don’t allow the rhythm or momentum to slack off.
- Writing or other long term projects work best when you are in the flow. You will never be in the flow if you don’t start.
- Being in the flow is self-generating like a car that charges itself simply because it is running.
Finally I published the book but felt I should separate the parts according to purpose by creating three separate parts that could each be an e-book. Because Visions is the inspirational part I published an e-book just with those drawings. You can find the e-version of this inspirational part on Amazon: Art Visions: Transformation and Inspiration through the Power of Soul Sketches
The ten minute rule has also helped me get my ESL/EFL books completed. I’m currently finishing a comprehensive volume for ESL/EFL teachers. This will be a complete guide to the theory and practice of teaching English to speakers of other languages.
Big projects like book writing require self-discipline. If you’re lacking in self disciplined, the 10 minute rule will make all the difference for your book and in your life. It will help you keep the rhythm and regularity needed to accomplish big projects.
And you will be amazed at how hauling small loads daily, quickly builds mountains.