Five, Ten, Fifteen

Watching the late afternoon sun spread golden light across the landscape can be a highlight of my day.  

But I haven’t always seen it with the same enthusiasm.

As a new TV reporter in the country, I spent a lot of time on the road; most days the cameraman and I would be rushing from one story to the next. A round trip might be a couple of hundred kilometres. If we were still driving back as golden light crept across the countryside, we knew it would be a mad rush to be ready for the 6 o’clock bulletin.

But necessity is a great teacher and I learnt to maximise every scrap of time so I could meet the unmissable deadlines. 

I learned to anticipate what we would need even before we started, and to mentally file away the best elements as we went along. 

The lines from the interview that best summed up what the story was about. Just five minutes to jot them down after the interview.

The filming we did to fit perfectly with what our subject had just talked about. Spending ten minutes to get those extra shots. 

Playing with it in my head, trying out the story to get the right feel. Fifteen minutes to shape a draft well before it became a proper story.

Five, ten, fifteen – those scraps of time make all the difference to writing anything.

Five minutes to record the words or phrases that light a spark in your heart and mind.

Ten minutes to capture the image of what calls to you even if you don’t have a use for it right now.

Fifteen minutes to sort, mentally or actually, what you’ve gathered and arrange them in a way that could yield a story now or one day.

Writing doesn’t have to be huge chunks of time.  

Writing can be what fits into our life, and fills our heads, at any time. 

Until next time, may your writing be a companion even when you’re not putting words onto a page. 

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