Sometimes to get anything done, I need to work fast. Not everyone has the same writing process, so take everything I’m writing here with a big of flexibility. A lot of my writing process is internal. I go for long walks, I drink coffee and stare out the window, I cook dinner and think about the problems or road blocks I’m facing in my books. Sometimes I write stuff down. I journal. And finally when I get to that point where I’m ready to write, and sometimes even when I’m not, I force my butt in my writing chair, navigate to the Google Timer website, and set a timer.
This is especially important when it comes to NaNoWriMo, that one time of year where I make myself write 50,000 words in a month. Because yes, I can handle one month of crazy creative productivity, and then take the remaining eleven months at a much more reasonable pace (especially when I have a busy day job.
Google timer, which you can find here is easy to use because I’m already working on my computer. Some people try to avoid the internet when writing, but I’ll admit that I don’t. I like to have the internet hand to research something that catches my interest, or something I want to know just a little bit more about, or, even more importantly, to find that word that is right on the tip of my tongue. I do try to avoid my cell phone though, which also has a timer. Because my cell phone has apps that are easy-access doorways to the world of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. So, avoid phone, but Google Time for me is okay.
If you’re just starting, maybe just start with 5 minutes. Be sure you are ready to type something—anything—the minute you press start. Begin moving your fingers and don’t let them stop. Even if you begin writing things that sound terrible or maybe don’t make a lot of sense. Just get the words out. See how many you can do in 5 minutes. Just don’t stop!
When the timer beeps (believe me, you can’t miss it), stop writing, but only if you’re not on a roll. Sometimes I find I’ve actually got going really good and I just keep working. So, whenever you can, stop and check your word count, see how many words you’ve written. Keep track. Can you beat your records?
Most days, I do my writing in 20 minute intervals because that is the limit of both my fingers and my ability to sit still. In those twenty minutes (if they’re a good twenty minutes), I write about 1,200 words. In those twenty minutes (if they’re a bad twenty minutes), I write about 800 words. And, if I’m writing by hand as I sometime do, I think I average about 500 words. Either way, I find using a timer greatly increases my productivity. It literally puts me on the clock, and if there’s one thing I like, it’s a deadline.
Do you writer under the pressure of a timer?