Day Four: Idea Starter #2

(estimated time: 60-75 minutes)

Yesterday, you made one kind of starter. Today I’m going to show you two more starters, courtesy of Kelly Link, author of GET IN TROUBLE and other books. Link has come up with a couple of clever ways to create her own “mother dough.”


Try the five minute breathing meditation here. You’ll need headphones or a private space for listening.



Read this little article by Kelly Link.



Step 2: For 15 laser-focused minutes, build a list of Things You Most Like in Other People’s Stories (or essays, or poems, or articles, or whatever mode you prefer). You can use this online countdown timer if you like.

Step 3: Take a five-minute break. I’m not kidding. Some of you will want to skip this step, thinking, Yeah, yeah, I just want to get this done, Furunicorn. But come on, play my game. Observe the effect a short break can have on your focus and stamina. Get your ass out of the seat and move around a little (-10 points if you open a new tab and check Instagram).

Step 4:  Now sit back down and reset your timer. For the next 15 minutes, come up with as many “first lines” for stories/essays/poems/whatevers as you can. Don’t put too much pressure on this. They’re not all going to be winners. Go for quantity.


How did this go today? What worked, and what didn’t work?

Re: timeboxing—The idea is that you can increase your productivity by alternating periods of focus and rest. We’ve taken this approach for several days now. Is it working for you, or do you think you work better with a long, sustained period of focus instead of short sprints?

Remember to put an X through day 4 on your tracker, and log your time.


*I practice what I preach. Pics of my efforts below: