At Lunchtime, You Could Be Writing a Novel

So, no, I didn’t sit down and churn out a book over my lunch break. However, I developed a good deal of the characters, places, and narrative by devoting a half-hour each weekday to sketching some ideas. The amount you can do in thirty minutes a day will amaze you.

First, some context. My work was causing me to lose my mind. My former employer’s corporate goals were constantly shifting, making it difficult to keep up. Projects I was in charge of were either canceled in the middle of development or blew up before they ever got off the ground. My employment had devolved into a tedious routine of paperwork and scheduling. My mood had sunk, and I was angry. My mind wandered back to the unfinished manuscript I’d always intended to write.


Finding the time to write quickly

In the end, how could I write it? There was never enough time in the day for me. I was often late getting home from work. I was unable to do anything except eat supper and go to sleep since I was exhausted and irritable. Taking care of the home, doing laundry, and visiting relatives took up most of my weekends. If I was going to do anything, I had to devise a strategy. First, I made a commitment to write down anything came to mind for half an hour each day during my lunch break at work.

While eating lunch at a juice bar or taco shop, I would sit alone and write my thoughts down. After eating lunch at home, I would go to a parking lot or side street where I could sit in my vehicle while taking notes. So when I couldn’t get out for lunch, I’d make sure to book a private half-hour window on the company calendar so that no one could schedule me for a meeting. Every day I would go to a section of the building where no one else went, grab my notebook, and begin writing in the cubbyhole.

At first, I had a hard time ignoring thoughts of my job. But I was able to write at least a couple of pages per day after following a few easy tactics. A few paragraphs of passable text were achieved on certain days while others were spent scribbling down lists of words and adjectives. As time passed, it became second nature to me. My journals were full with personalities, circumstances, and places at the end of the three months. My story was taking form. But there is still some form to it.

I didn’t anticipate all of the additional perks. After a half-hour of writing in my notepad, I felt relieved from the pressures of my work. Things became brighter and cheerier in the afternoons. I’d say I’ve gained a new lease of life, since I no longer walked with a swagger. It also gave me the courage to hunt for a new job, one with a lower workload, so that I could devote myself to finishing the project.


To help you get started with a lunch-hour writing regimen, here are 10 ideas, along with some helpful hints to keep you on track.

  1. Sketches of the characters

Choose a character that you’ve been thinking about. Or make up one on the spot. To begin, give yourself a moniker. Is the protagonist a man or a woman? How old are you? Are you single or in a relationship? What are the chances of having brown or blue eyes? What is the color of your hair? What is their line of work? Who lives there? To begin, choose a location and then fill in the specifics. What kind of residence does the narrator live in? There are a lot of little things that may make a big impact. If you can think of anything further to add, do so! Who drives (if they do) and what type of vehicle does it seem to be? I’m curious as to what they consume in the morning. I’d want to know what they wear.

  1. Sketches of the location

Once again, begin with the broad strokes and work your way down to the nitty-gritty of the issue. It’s up to you whether you start with a genuine place or an imagined one. Do you mean outdoors or inside of a building? What’s going on? What kinds of plants and animals might you expect to see if you’re outside? Take a virtual tour of the area in your imagination once you’ve come up with the concept. Take a few steps through it, halt, and take in the surroundings. What are your thoughts? Examine your surroundings with all of your senses engaged. What’s the odor like? How does it appear? That’s right.

It’s time to mix things up!

Try putting together a cast of a dozen or more people and settings. It’d be interesting to see what would happen if characters A and D met at place C. What’s the point? What’s the deal? Are they meeting for the first time or are they old friends? What is everyone’s reaction to the gathering?

  1. Plan your sessions in advance.

Plan ahead of time by adding the event to your calendar. When you approach writing like a business meeting, it’s simpler to get yourself to write.

  1. Leave your workstation.

In your office, there are too many distractions for you to focus on your task. Faced with so many obligations, how are you going to come up with new ideas?

  1. Switch off your mobile device.

Nothing is so urgent that it can’t wait for a half-hour..

  1. Obtain a writing instrument, such as a pencil or pen.

When it comes to enhancing the aesthetic appeal of documents, computers are unsurpassed. They’re not ideal for generating ideas. As long as you have a pad of paper, you may write wherever on it.

Just stop, but don’t give up.

Choosing between bagels and donuts shouldn’t take more than a few minutes of your time. You’re free to do it whenever you want. Take a chance on one of them and see what happens. Anything you write down helps you go ahead.

As far as “writing” goes, don’t worry about it.

It’s not the right moment to be evaluating your writing’s quality. When it comes to the first step, you may not even want to “write.” Organize a collection of attributes that describe a person or place. Create character name lists. Then then, don’t hold back. Follow your gut and do what seems right at the time.

Don’t worry about anything at all, period.

Don’t worry if nothing occurs at first. Take no more than 30 minutes out of your day. It was at most a peaceful respite. And don’t forget, you’ll have another chance to see us tomorrow.

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