A Little Help from Your Friends


I can’t tell you how much I’m loving reading the comments (here, here, and here, if you want to take a look) that readers are leaving about the 20 Minute Technique.

It’s genuinely exciting to have other people benefiting from a technique I really believe in, and in addition, their experiences are so helpful to other artists and crafters trying to get their creative groove back or dig deeper.

I also love it because it shows the benefits of community and accountability.

The Grooviness of Accountability

Last week I mentioned how being accountable to the 20 Minute Club in my weekly blog post gave me the gumption to face my drawing because I wanted to be able to have something to tell the group at the end of the week.

Can I say that again?

Being accountable to the 20 Minute Club gave me the gumption to turn on the timer when I was both super busy and faced with a difficult stage in my drawing.

The accountability factor is a HUGELY helpful partner to the 20 Minute Technique itself.

Accountability helped me find 20 minutes I didn’t think I had–which in turn helped my drawing and my creative process at the same time.

And that’s the reason I created The 20 Minute Club. I knew it would help me and everyone who reads this blog to have a place to report back to because it’s hard to stretch your creative limits in a vacuum.

Even when you’re someone who creates quite regularly.

Because when you’re trying to push past your limits–whether it’s by learning something new or attempting something difficult or by picking up a paintbrush after 20 years–it’s easy to jump to the “why bother” or “this is silly” kind of thinking–especially if it kind of hurts to do it or when you’re not sure of the end result.

The “why bother” thing or the “who do I think I am thing” can be a tough barrier to push through.

Having a community to connect with about it can help get around that resistance.

To have somewhere where you check in to say,”This week, I flipped through magazines and realized I’m obsessed with pink and yellow”; or “This week I actually finished that top I started last winter and cut out a new one!” or, as it was for me last week–”This week I worked on a drawing when I’m feeling totally lost about what it needs or what I’m trying to say with it” has untold benefits for your long term creative process.

Connection and Support

For most people (especially women) it’s easier to commit to others than to yourself.

It’s easier therefore, to get yourself to do something when it involves reporting back to someone other than yourself.

Suddenly, you can find 20 minutes (or 10 or 5…) because you feel connected to the group and want to contribute and be accountable.

That’s why we get stuff done at work, at church, in clubs, etc. The structure is there and we’ve made commitments and feel accountable. We’re social beings. It’s a good thing.

And because most creative people don’t make their living from their art, it requires a lot of self-motivation and self esteem to commit to yourself and carve out the time or take the risk to make what you want to make. To push past the “why bother” and the “who do I think I am” self sabotage.

That’s why it’s so important to find or create systems that support you. To help you find the gumption to keep creating or to dig deeper.

And finally, it’s nice to be understood. Really nice.

To share the ups and downs of the creative process with other people who know how you feel is affirming and reinforces the validity of what you’re going through.

Join Us

So if you’ve been reading and musing about the 20 Minute Technique but have felt a little shy about sharing, I invite you to give it a whirl and share how it goes. Good, bad, it doesn’t matter.

And if you feel like you need suggestions for getting started, you might check out the list on this blog post, or shoot me an email.

I look forward to the next update at the end of the week. Happy Creating!

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Categories : 20 Minute Club


  1. Sarah- Thank you for the very simple and very doable 20-minute technique. Although I am an artist and I am not the most disciplined about creating, that’s not what stresses me when I’m in avoidance mode. What it is I want to be is more diligent about doing things for my business -whether it’s creating a spreadsheet for tracking clients, $$, dates, etc or designing a flyer. It’s all a creative venture and I find myself avoiding it for many reasons I won’t go into here. So having said all that, I am going to do the 20-minute technique and let you know how it goes.
    Thank you!

  2. Sarah says:

    @Janet–I totally get the avoidance of all the other “business-y” parts of the creative life, as I have those struggles too. I use the 20 Minute Technique for those types of things too–anything hard really. I have faith that it will work for you too–keep me posted! :-)

  3. Sara says:

    I’m happy to say that I took 20 minutes (at least) every day this week to do a little fiction writing. Since my day job as a copy writer usually sucks the writing mojo right out of me, I’ve gotten out of the habit of writing for “me”, and frankly, that just stinks.

    While I’m no where near writing a book or even a short story, at least I’m back in the habit. Thank you Sarah!

  4. Sarah says:

    Wow Sara–every day is awesome! And yay for your own writing–I know it can be hard sometimes when you create for a living to then create your own art on your own terms at home afterward. Keep us posted!

  5. Natalie says:

    This was my first week with the 20-minutes a day. I started yesterday and worked on completing a small quilt. I had taken a class the beginning of March where we created small surfaced pieces. I had been looking at this one for weeks thinking about how I could build a quilt around it. I did-it. Today I’m heading to the machine to do some surface work. YEAH, I shared this with my friend.

    I should spend 20 minutes cleaning, yea right (rofl)


  6. Joyce Barham says:

    Creativity turned a corner this week. I had to stop working on my Farm Scene Quilt because I needed to make a baby quilt for a dear friend. The baby quilt is ready to be quilted and bound and that has to be my main focus for the next few days. Besides, I have come to a stumbling block on my Farm Scene Quilt. I am ready to draw the appliques for the pond, the cattle, and road. The road will probably not be hard and maybe the pond will be fairly simple, but Cattle – Boy! I’m dreading this part! AND, to top this off, I don’t have time to work on the drawing. This quilt needs to be done by July 1st and I have 2 more quilts that are due June 15th. HELP!

  7. CathieG says:

    I acomplished my 20 minutes the best on Monday. After a full day of office work, an hour of gym, coming home and cleaning out the linen closet, I almost didn’t take the 20 minutes of creativity ….but I sat down at the sewing machine and 20 minutes turned into 45! Then I settled in my comfy chair and knitted for a half hour…not saying this is gonna happen every night but it was awesome…slept very well that night.

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