In my quest to train myself to write everyday, I wanted to test out a few techniques that other writers and creators have sworn by. Today I tried the Pomodoro technique (focusing on a task for a solid 25 minutes and then taking a 5 minute break). I have had some success in using this, granted very loosely, in my day work, but I thought I would give it a shot.
Now, the key feature of Pomodoro, besides the timer, is that it doesn’t actually put your butt in the chair.
What it did for me, at least today, was gave me a framework in which to work. I was reminded of some of my writing exercises I used to do when I was younger, with certain time limits and other constraints. It made me produce. The quality of what I produced was never epic, or even good. But as we grow older we realize that, especially with writing, producing is the first step.
Everything else is editing.
Today, I found it worked well. I started the Marinara timer (an extension in Chrome, though I write in Scrivener) and made sure the options were set to have a sound at the end of 25 minutes. Why not just use an egg timer, or my phone?
Silly, it’s not a true technique unless you have a special app for it. 😉
I not only hit my 500 word/day mark, but exceeded it. When the timer went off after 25 minutes, I hit the 5 minute break button and sat at my desk, hands folded, wanting to continue. I knew the break was an important part of the system. I tried, I really did. I kept writing through the rest of the break and into the next 25 minute time span. I went over my word goal and then some. While I didn’t work the system as intended, I believe it helped me get into the mindset from the start.
I’ve also decided to list my writing progress prominently in the sidebar of the site. I think it will allow me to be held accountable in some way and, to be honest, it gave me a great sense of accomplishment to write today’s word count on there. Baby steps, you know?
Question: Should I list the days in reverse order, with the latest at the top? I’m not sure.
It is likely I will try any number of techniques, tricks and processes in order to get the words on the page. Any may work, some better than others, but I think (knowing me) switching up the “gimmick” every once in a while will keep the writing train moving forward.
Oh, that early-days optimism 🙂
Other posts about Pomodoro and other techniques:
- R.S. Mollison-Read “Writing and the Pomodoro Method”
- Graeme Shimmin “The Pomodoro Technique for Writers”
- Mary Smith “Procrastination”