I can’t help myself, I’ve been loving all the Tiny House shows on HGTV and FX. Some of those houses use their tiny spaces ingeniously.  And of course, you probably know, I’ve moved from what I used to think was a  medium-sized house with three floors, a basement, a two car garage, and a five-room apartment above it – to a small house in California. It’s a single floor, tiny garage, no basement and a galley kitchen. It has 4 bedrooms and 2-1/2 baths, so, as you can see, I’m still spoiled. Despite my complaints and self-pitying, there is something truly freeing about having “lost all that weight.” Our new smallish house is not flooded with stuff and furniture because we’ve sold, given away, donated and freed ourselves from 27 years of accumulation. So, lately, I’m feeling tiny in our biggish (by tiny house standards) house.

Tiny is freeing. But to take that method and mindset to another arena, I’ve embraced tiny opportunities in my days too. Often we think we need vast amounts of time to tackle our dreams. How much time does it take to write a novel? By one estimation, 736 hours from start to finish – delivered to publisher.

I’ve heard clients think they’d need to take at least a year off work to write a novel – which incidentally would be 8,760 hours, or 5,840 waking hours. Still eight times what you’d need. There’s bloat in there. You’re using lack of time as an excuse not to have to face down that demon. Stuff you don’t want to see, unpack, discard – just like a big old house full of 27 years of unexamined stuff. Some of it is rotten; some is plain garbage; some is not useful anymore, and in among all of that is your good stuff. The stuff you want to keep, share and display. (Are you catching the double-entendres?)

It is time to look at our time as finite – the way the space in a tiny home is – and come up with some ingenious ways to find time to write in small pieces of time. Let’s fall in love with the 90-minute interlude. Set a timer, and let it be your own time to write. What if it’s only 30 minutes, before or after work, or on our commute? Some times have to do double duty – we write and commute in this half hour, or eat and write. Be inventive. And free up the space by discarding the “things” that clutter our lives. Is it TV? Candy crush? For me it’s Sudoku, which relaxes me, so I won’t give it up entirely. But I’ll experiment with time.

Just because it feels like a big undertaking doesn’t mean it can’t fit into small parts of your day or week.

  • 736 hours is two hours a day for a year.
  • Or one hour a day for two years.
  • Or an hour a day for a year and then a 4 week writing retreat over the summer and then another 3 months of polishing the final draft on your commute or your lunch break.

There’s a lot of ways to make it happen, but you have to clear the space, both literally and figuratively. Let yourself sit down and focus – clear your mind – and give yourself the hour or 90 minutes to fulfill your big dream in the tiniest of spaces.