20 Minute Club-The Lotsa Minutes


The 20 Minute Club definitely saved me a few times this week. I’m not sure I’d have done any experimentation without it. And since experimentation is what pulls creative endeavors forward, I was happy my timer was there to help me out.

I only worked on my waves drawing one more time–and frankly, I’m not sure this baby is gonna work out. But I learned a lot and I think I’ll end up using one or two of the “solutions” I figured out for future drawings in that series.


In my last Creative Breakthroughs Collage Workshop, one of my collages struck me as a useful study for a larger piece as I liked its color and graphic simplicity.

What I usually like about using small collages as studies for bigger work is that it’s a great way to stretch yourself because you can never just replicate what you did. Something always has to change.

But this week, the best part about making a bigger version was that I decided I needed to start over.

After a couple of 20 minute sessions, I realized that I wanted other marks and images receding in the background–marks I should have put down first, before I glued down my big yellow lines.

And since it was a basically still a big simple collage, the smartest way to do that was just to start over.

The best part was that decision freed me up to do anything I wanted to this first one. I had now given myself permission to do whatever I wanted to it.

I immediately drew a bunch of outlines in pencil, didn’t like them and upped the ante with black charcoal instead. That felt great. Then I erased my first lines and liked it even more. It felt fun and free.

Here it is in its current “work in progress” testing self state.

It was a great reminder for me about why giving yourself permission is so much more gratifying than getting investing in a particular outcome. I also realize that I need those reminders regularly.


As promised in my last blog post, I’m also going to add weekly self appreciations to the minutes because I really believe this exercise is a great partner to the 20 Minute Technique and I am urging you to start doing it too, if you don’t already.

I know it will benefit you tremendously because

  • it helps you get on your own side
  • it helps you notice your negative thought patterns about yourself
  • it interrupts those thought patterns and starts introducing new ones

All of which will increase your creativity, allow you to give yourself permission when you need it, and keep the focus on the process.

Now, I’m not saying it’s always easy.

This morning I was much more inclined to focus on what I thought I was doing wrong rather than good things about myself and it actually took me a while to come up with five things to appreciate. Which just reinforces why I need to do this regularly.

Here’s my five:

  1. I appreciate that I made work yesterday even though I was anxious and moody.
  2. I appreciate that by doing that, I also got to experience feeling better and that reminded me how creating is my connection back to myself.
  3. I appreciate that I went to the gym even when I didn’t want to and I gave myself permission to do less cardio.
  4. I appreciate that I’m keeping my worrying to a minimum about a few things happening in my life right now that I have no control over.
  5. I appreciate how I’m getting more comfortable feeling exposed sharing my half done work publicly here on the blog.

Your Turn

How about you? How did the 20 Minute Technique work for you this week? Did you try the self-appreciation exercise? I can’t wait to hear from you!

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  1. Terry says:

    Guess it is taking my comments. This post today is so right on for me. Negatives are in my head the minute I wake up…on what I did not get done. I have been doing what I am doing since highschool, lots of years of working full time, raising a son and pursuing my art. I love the 5 things to appreciate and will incorporate it. I have used a timer set at 15 minutes in the past to clean up work space, clean up the house and it keeps be focused and back to what I love doing, sewing, painting. Thanks for the post.

  2. Joyce Barham says:

    Last week I was ready to pitch my Farm Scene Quilt into the far recesses of the nearest closet and work on it later in the year. I realized that I would only start new quilts and when I got stalled, they would end up the same–in the closet, waiting for another day, maybe another year.

    And, I did give myself permission to start 2 new projects. They are string quilts, so relatively mindless sewing together 2 strips, etc. This is something I can do in the evening after dinner. If I work 20 minutes on them, I’m still accomplishing quite a bit.

    But, I did also decide to spend 20 minutes in the afternoon on my Farm Scene Quilt. I am making progress on it, just seems to be going slower than I would like. And, I can still make final changes if I want to.

    I am retired, so I have time during the day to have several 20 minute sessions to work on my quilts. I appreciate that I was able to retire early and that I have something creative to work on.

    I also appreciate the nice weather we have been having, so that I can hike in the woods on our property.

  3. Caroline says:

    When yu first posted the 20 Minute Club I was in a bit of a slump, not really wanting to work on my projects, but ater the first 20 minutes I have been on a role. Not just in compleating projects but also in comming up with new ideas and feeling more confident about trying new things.

    Today I used the 20 minutes to “try new things”. I am an entirely self taught artist which unfortunantly means tht when I go into an art store I may know what I want the outcome to be but not what I need to get it there. I bought some texture paste and some “better” acrylic paints. I have worked with acrylic paints but never the texture paste so I thought up a trial project and started on that today.

    I preped my serface pulled out a broach that I wanted to sink into the texture paste and then realized that it was going to take forever for that project to dry.

    So I started my 20 minutes over and worked on a job that I am not to enthusiastic about…got that done and my first project was still wet…at this point I was frustrated b/c I couldn’t work on what I wanted to and felt forced to work on something else.

    I didn’t want to end on a sour note so once again I stared the timer over and searched for a challenge site that was inspiring and worked on that for 20 minutes.

    After all was said and done. My testure project is still wet, my required job is almost done and my challenge piece is drying and I am veyr pleased with it.

    What do I appreciate about all this? Well, my family for letting me spend so much time in the studio. My daughter who tells me everything I make is beautiful. And my parents who instilled in me the drive to try new things and to not give up. Without the 20 minute club none of today would have happened nor ould i have ever thought about what I appreciate.

  4. Linda Hickman says:

    I love to sew…not much on finishing things, tho, and cutting out is not my favorite part but if I don’t cut out, I have nothing to sew to the finishing stage!

    I have been using my timer to put 20 minutes into finishing things and it is amazing how many buttons you can attach and how much you can hem if you focus for 20 minutes.

    Today I went to my sewing room and set the timer for 20 minutes and managed to get a jumper and a jacket cut out for my granddaughter, then I sewed for two hours, finishing up with 20 minutes of hemming. I now have two garments ready to sew, a pants, shirt and vest in process, and a “recycled” jumper project finished short of five buttons, all in less than three hours. Then a final 20 minutes for cleaning, sorting and planning future projects, and I left the room ready for tomorrow.

    I actually feel I accomplished a lot today.

  5. jen says:

    Hi everyone! I’m still in a weeks and weeks slump.I still haven’t bought a timer. I did start sanding and painting boxes…that comes and goes in spurts. I also started some Halloween ornaments. Everytime I think I’m getting my groove back~it goes just as quick…

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