This is the exercise I do most often, not least because five minutes is sometimes the most I can manage in a day (or a week if things are not going my way). The exercise runs like this:

  • find a writing prompt
  • write from it for five minutes straight

Five minutes is good. It sounds short to our monkey brains, so that even if we think we are pushed for time, we can manage five minutes. But a curious thing happens – once you start writing, five minutes elongates into a much lengthier period than you expected, which means you write deeper and/or further than you expected. Usually. Sometimes a prompt might not work for you.

At the end of five minutes you can put your pen down, happy and satisfied, or perhaps put your pen down, exhausted and wrung out, or if you are really enjoying yourself you can carry on writing, either with the same prompt or a new one.

Practice, quick and simple.