The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sixty Minutes is Yours!

I really enjoy re-writing my goals every day, without looking at the previous day's list. I did this thirty years ago, at the beginning of my career, and took off like a rocket. Then...I got complacent and forgot about it. "I don't need that." Well...when I do this, several things happen:

1) I remind myself of my overarching goals (all current goals are to be accomplished by December 31, 2012.)

2) Because I don't look at the previous day's list, I have to struggle to clarify my mind, remember what is important to me. Later in the day, I might compare lists from different days. What keeps coming up? What drops out?

3) I can look and see how well my goals are balanced. Out of 10 goals, three are physical, three career and four are spiritual and family. That works for me--and I'd never want to have less than two in any of those arenas. If I didn't have at least one, I'm in big, big trouble.

4) Writing down a goal is an intermediate step between thinking it and doing it. It is an action, however small, and begins the process of bringing your goal from the purely mental domain into the realm of physical existence. It is revealing how people react to writing their goals out--I've seen it in countless workshops. Their hands will tremble when they do it, if there is any internal conflict. And friends, in my experience, there is ALWAYS internal conflict.


Every day, you need to know the three most important things for you to accomplish. If all you have that belongs to you is your "Diamond Hour" then you have to arrange things so that you are taking maximum advantage of those 60 minutes. Let's say that I'm talking about my own life. I can squeeze out 60 minutes of "my own" before I have to leave to catch a plane.

1) Re-write goals (10 minutes)

2) Meditate/Tibetans (10 minutes)

3) Read one scene of Shakespeare aloud (10 minutes)

4) Write 1000 words or 5 pages of script or rewrite same (30 minutes)

I know that if I do this every day, and if every day this is all that I do, at the end of the year I'll have made SERIOUS progress toward my personal goals. Needless to say, I want more writing time, more exercise time, more meditation time, more study time. But this minimum allows me to nurture my essence, and stay in touch with my childhood dreams, adult goals, and deathbed values. No matter how busy I get, I won't resent the time my family needs, and my body won't fall apart from stress. My writing is getting done, and I'm reminding myself what every day means in the overall structure of my existence.

I will fight to the death to get my hour a day. SIXTY MINUTES OF EVERY DAY BELONGS TO ME. It belongs to me. No one but me. And anyone who says different is trying to steal from the little boy inside me. God help them.


After TEN YEARS of pleading, I've finally managed to get Tananarive to begin the process of documenting the genius-level thought and action she uses to create her best-selling, award-winning novels and short stories. She approaches the dynamic sphere of creativity from a different perspective than I do...possibly because she's a woman, possibly because we're simply different people. But her depth of understanding is simply phenomenal, and until now, she just hasn't had the time or patience to do more than lecture select groups or work with a very few select and very advanced students. Now, she's created TANANARIVE DUE'S SECRETS OF A WRITER'S LIFE (

In coaxing this precious information out of her, I was once again reminded of how blessed I am to have her as a partner in writing...or life itself. For a VERY limited time, we're offering this at a reduced price, just to let our "friends" have access to it before the general public trips across the link. Maybe 72 hours...maybe a week. No more than that, before the price goes up. Check it out today!