Katia Raina

The Magic Mirror

31 Minutes? Try 93! A Guest Post

This week I’d like to welcome my writing friend, the delightful Jody Bilbo Staton, an overachieving YA and middle-grade novelist, with a guest post about her ambitiously vigorous trek through the month.

Katia’s 31-minute challenge came at the perfect time, both as a welcome substitute for the standard (and usually vaguely worded) New Year’s resolutions, and as a motivating tool for tackling a revision inspired by an agent’s very nice rejection. (To quote an old Snoopy cartoon, I’d rather get a nasty acceptance!)

JodySo I took the challenge—and decided to expand upon it. Not in the promised-to-myself-and-Katia 31-minute writing sessions, though many of them have continued longer because I had pulled myself into the story. No, I’ve also made two other 31-minute commitments.

One is to sorting through the accumulations of 40 years in one house. I’m a widow now; I’ll be moving someday, though not yet. Spending at least just-over-half-an-hour a day, discarding or donating or tidying up a drawer at a time, has done more to get that accumulation dealt with than any round tuits (as in “I’ll-get-around-to-it”).

The other is to exercise for that same length of time. I belong to a gym and try to get there three times a week, but the other four days needed some commitment if I’m ever to shed the extra 15 pounds that now make some of my favorite clothes a bit snug.

 I’m sort of retired—my freelance copyediting is only part-time, so committing 93 minutes a day hasn’t been that hard. I’ve been very good about it, getting those minutes in every day so far this month. (Although I will admit that a couple of the sorting and exercising times have been a bid dodgy in what I counted. [Filing e-mails? Helping to take up a carpet?]) But it has had the benefit of pushing me past procrastination (oh, I’m very good at that!), and toward a feeling of making progress on what matters to me.

Two other concepts I’m adding to the challenge: I’ve made a graph in Excell that helps keep me on track; and when January ends, I plan to add 28 more days to it. Ease off a bit, maybe, make it a 28-minute challenge. But then of course I’ll have to up it back to 31 in March.

 Thank you, Katia, for that shove—it’s gathering momentum!  —  Johanna Bilbo Staton (Jody)


Thank you, Jody! Keep on writing, girl!

Hope the rest of you are doing well, too! 🙂


January 16, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized | ,


  1. Jody, I LOVE your other commitments. I need to do that, too… not that I’m planning on moving. I’ve already downsided, but brought too much with me and keep accumulating. Maybe if I forced myself to do 31 mins. a day, it would lift me from my procrastination mode on unpleasant tasks!
    I’ve used my 31 mins. to write blogs, to see if I was up to the task of doing a blog 2 or 3 times a week, so I’ve tried to do one a day and file, to be used later if I decide to go with it. I MUST learn more about the technology involved before I can start one. It’s a challenge. I have worked some days on my fifth grade story and some on a newspaper article almost ready to submit.

    Thanks for reminding us how we can expand the 31 mins. to other areas. I intend to walk even 10 mins. a day, but not doing too well with that task either. More fun to sit and write, but that won’t help my physical health. Maybe using your method of small time segments I might have more success.

    Comment by Barbara | January 16, 2013 | Reply

  2. I enjoyed your post, Jody. Good luck! Doing the other tasks is a good time to let the writing bits noodle around in your head, too.

    Comment by Wendy Greenley | January 16, 2013 | Reply

  3. Those are great commitments to make and I’m sure you are accomplishing a lot with them.

    Katia, I’ll have to be taken off of the list of winners. I missed a few days. I had the darn flu. I’ll still pick up where I left off and continue to write every day.

    Good luck to everyone still in the challenge.

    Comment by Miranda Hardy | January 17, 2013 | Reply

  4. This is great. I do extra tidying up during vacation time, about an hour a day, because I figure if I ever have to move I don’t want to deal with clutter the last minute. I also purchased a weight set recently and have been using it pretty diligently.

    What fantastic offshoots from this challenge.

    Comment by Medeia Sharif | January 17, 2013 | Reply

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