The older I get, the more comfortable I am with the quirks of my personality and habits. I know that routines matter to me. I like to leave them behind at times, but they provide a structure that helps me to get things done.
For a few years now, I have maintained a writing routine of handwritten morning pages. For over a year, I’ve also written at least 250 words a day. This can be part of a story, a blog post, research notes – it doesn’t matter what it is, as long as I get some words down. In recent months I’ve been jotting down scraps of dreams, some of which have evolved into short stories.
When I’m not working on something specific, though, it can be difficult to pin myself to the desk. There are always competing demands for time, but I know that I always feel better after writing. Recently I read a post from author Amanda Hampson about her writing routine. She mentioned the Pomodoro technique as something she uses as part of her writing life.
I have used this technique during NaNoWriMo. The goal of writing 50,000 words in a month requires more structure and this helped me to focus for blocks of time. But I haven’t used it outside of these intense periods of activity. So I thought I’d give it a go.
Through the working week, I have been using this technique over three or four nights as an ‘hour of power’. The timer runs for 25 minutes before there is a 5-minute break. A second set completes my hour. If I have a longer stretch of time available, I can adjust the settings. Longer sessions have lengthier breaks to help with sustaining concentration.
An hour of focused activity during the working week makes a difference to me. I can do what matters along with everything else that clammers for attention. I’m often startled when the timer goes off at the end of a session. Once you get into the zone, you wonder why it took you so long to begin in the first place!
What do you do to get your writing done?
Photo: kitchen timer with a cluster of tomatoes