My ridiculously achievable writing habit

Have you ever set an ambitious goal? And then failed?

My hand is in the air, waving wildly. That was me last year. My goal was so far beyond reasonable that I’m a little embarrassed to own up. But I will. Because it makes for entertaining reading at the very least!

As many of you know, team van Ryn spent last year on the road. We did the full lap of Australia: one year, a caravan and the four of us. Sounds dreamy, doesn’t it? And it was, it SO was! We left in January 2022 and returned in January 2023. Every single day was different and full of unexpected wonder.

(Here’s a taster from our @caravanryns page on the gram)

Into this scenario, I thought I’d be able to juggle a few things. I thought I could keep hold of a few clients and do a little work on the go. I thought I could also homeschool our kids (mainly because hubby is a teacher and I would simply act as his erstwhile teachers assistant). I thought I would write a book. And I thought I’d keep trim with some kind of daily fitness regime.

Rewind that… Write. A. Book.

What was I thinking? Because along with all the wonder of a caravan adventure like this, there was also grit and grind. My solitude was seriously compromised by the fact that my entire ‘home’ was half the size of my bedroom. We were in each other’s pockets. Silence wasn’t so common. But importantly, I’m okay with all of that. The squeeze and din was part of the experience and I wanted to be fully immersed in all of it. This adventure was an absolute gift and I wanted to fully appreciate it.

So when I realised that I would not be able to create the space and time and energy needed to write my second novel, I slowly kissed it goodbye. It was a wrench, I’ll be honest. If you’re a creative, you know how it feels to be separated from your ability to create for a season. But I knew that it was the right thing to do. I was too distracted, and I wanted the ‘distractions’ to become enlarged, to fill up more space. Because they were actually the most important details.

And when I let go, a writing friend suggested to our writing group this little challenge: five minutes a day.

Lowering the bar of expectation

Five minutes a day. Just five minutes a day. I shrugged, well, of course I could do that! I mean, that’s ridiculously achievable. And I lowered my bar of expectation from well over my head right down to my toes. My little writers group checked in each day to indicate that we’d done our time.

And it worked!

I was writing every single day. Inevitably some days the words flowed and before I knew it, I’d been writing for thirty minutes or an hour. But my expectation was just the five minutes, which would never impinge on my family time and adventures. It was something I could carry lightly. It wasn’t a burden in the back of my mind. Inadvertently, I found that I was writing plot ideas, building characters, noting down snippets of description. My notebook was filling with what I know will be the building blocks of my second novel.

This year, my writing goals are different. It’s a new season that requires me to be disciplined in a different way. But I just wanted to share this to encourage you, wherever you’re at in your creative forays.

Is there a big goal pressing on your heart that feels overwhelming? How about you do like I did. Set a ludicrously low daily or weekly goal and see what happens! 

8 thoughts on “My ridiculously achievable writing habit

  1. Brilliant! Glad you had a wonderful adventure with your family.
    The advice about 5 minutes a day can apply to so many areas of our lives.


  2. Welcome home guys….such a treasure of memories you have built together!!
    Thanks for the encouraging tip which I will practise with my art in my studio 😜👏


  3. Thank you for sharing this Claire! I love the way you explain things and I will definitely be trying this with my sewing 😉.
    Also, I love that none of your little articles are massively long. It keeps me well engaged 😊😘


  4. I like this. 5 minutes of writing will always be better than 0. My biggest challenge is juggling my writing with podcasting and vlogging (both of which are supposed to support the writing but end up taking over). The 5 minute rule could be a way of ensuring that even when I must focus my creative energy and time on other things, the books never get completely abandoned.


    1. Great idea! I know the feeling – and I don’t even do podcasting or vlogging. For me it’s social media. Terrific trap! Even if it is meant to support my writing 😉 All the best with the new writing habit!


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