Writing Assignment: Pen, Paper, and Five Minutes

by Randy Murray on April 15, 2011

Sometimes it is easier to write when you have a very short period of time, a firm deadline, and a clear assignment. Boundaries help to provide focus, eliminate distraction, and if time based, create a sense of urgency that often overrides fears and uncertainty.

Many who write professionally accept deadlines as a matter of course. In fact, many of us embrace deadlines. It’s a motivator, the point where we know we’ll be done. Although others, especially authors mainly ignore them (Douglas Adams said, “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by”), deadlines and time limits can help if you use them to your advantage.

You can turn deadlines and time limits to your advantage if you think of them as a shield, not a sword hanging over your head. Use the deadline to tell your self, to tell others, that you simply can’t stop now, you’re “on a deadline.” It’s a perfect excuse. I set many deadlines every week, every day, and they allow me to get a great deal of work done, finished when it must be finished. This piece is being written under deadline (and will be rewritten under deadline as well).

For today’s assignment, use a pen or pencil and a piece of paper or a notebook and a timing device. Your task is to write about the color red for five minutes and no longer. I’d recommend doing a quick outline and fill it out, but it’s up to you. You may repeat this exercise using any color.

Ready? Go. You’ve got five minutes.

You may leave your completed assignment in the comments section below.

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The Writing Assignment: Pen, Paper, and Five Minutes by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mari April 15, 2011 at 7:49 pm

I remember well when asked my favorite color how quickly I would blurt out “RED!” There were red sweaters and coats and shoes! The shoes were the best, allowing for just the right amount of toe cleavage. Just enough showing to hear quite a few shoe compliments.

Red’s hotness makes me think mostly of edibles these days like wine, cherries, strawberries, peppers and tomatoes. No wonder red is all tied up with feelings of hunger.

Both my closet and my refrigerator share my fondness for red, but it’s no longer my absolute favorite color.

(P.S. Good, tough WA today, Randy! Thanks…time for a glass of red wine.)


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