Write ten minutes a day. You have no more excuses.
Now. Wait. What if even ten minutes a day isn't working?
What if ten minutes a day is turning your writing into a series of false starts, the amalgamation of which resembles what might've been if James Joyce had been bound and determined to write Ulysses in one continuous unedited driveling stream despite being hounded by endless phone calls and strung out on too much coffee.
What if, worse, it was killing your enthusiasm for creating. Having started trying to write ten minutes a day consistently as a solution for ending procrastination it was becoming increasingly difficult not to resume procrastinating because it had become a chore rather than a thrill.
Do you still have no more excuses?
This is the scenario before me.
This scenario is provided for me by way of a difference between myself and many people for whom ten minutes a day is a way to break the ice and get moving that I believe I can sum up in a mere four words: “increased task swtiching cost”. That might be worth a whole discussion some other time, but if you are or you've seen someone who thrives on task immersion and drowns in multitasking, you know or can imagine what I'm talking about.
This is the danger in one size fits all solutions. They don't fit all. Also, I object – from the careworn pitfall of having damned myself into a corner with it – to the phrase “you have no more excuses”. It judges anyone who can't succeed using such-and-so a failure for trying.
But for someone for whom creating an act of loving life and who depends on it as a way of staying alive, who has chosen it as an avocation despite often still failing, there's a different phrase I think is more apt: “I cannot afford myself excuses.” Sure, failures like this scenario will still happen.
They happen to everyone eventually. Maybe not exactly in this particular bottleneck. Maybe someone who has no problem finding the time to write and starting writing has discovered a really crappy can't-stand-it-anymore problem with editing their work: once they start editing it is as if they can't help but make it worse rather than better and they don't yet understand why. They listen to what sounds like sure-fire advice and it just doesn't... stick.
Editing wasn't chosen accidentally as an example. In editing, after the basic weeding-out-of-simpler-errors, you are practicing a series of experiments. Your draft is an hypothesis. If the draft doesn't work, you learn how to revise that hypothesis and retest. You learn how to experiment and improve until you have results. It doesn't sound glamorous? It is. That's the stuff of learning and critical thinking. It is work, yes. Editing is just one specific species of it, seriously looking at writing and altering it until it works. Crunching numbers doesn't sound glamorous either. Crunching numbers gets us into space, though.
So ten minutes a day didn't work out for me, though the point was to break a procrastination streak. I'll figure out what will.
At the end of the day, the point isn't any specific technique, let alone arguing over it. The point is doing what you can to find something you love to do, and then do what you love to do most. I tell myself I can't afford excuses, but kindly. I could try them, but I can't afford them in terms of wasted energy and still get where I feel I need to go. I can merely acknowledge when I fall down, change tactics when I need to, and move on. Fail more, fail faster, do more, repeat.