Last week, someone on one my loops sent out this link to a blog by Elizabeth Gilbert. It’s a great read and I’d recommend reading the full article, but basically it’s about focusing on one project without distractions or interruptions for only thirty minutes at a time.
I’ve also at some point read another writing article about a copy writer and his suggested work period length of around 33 minutes at a time. I don’t have a link for that one, because I can’t remember which article it was.
I decided to give it a try. What was the harm? It was 30 minutes or so and it couldn’t hurt. I’ve been in a bit of a word count slump lately and any boost to the tiny numbers I’ve been putting on my chart would help. The plan was: set the timer, start it, type away until it goes off, take a short break as suggested and then try again.
I set my timer for 35 (an internet timer by the way not the kitchen timer there). Yes, I’m differing from the suggested time, but sometimes, it takes me a little while to catch where I left off and actually start typing. I gave myself a little cushion for think time.
I may be the last one to catch on to this, but woah, it’s a great tool and it’s having results. The first time I tried it was late in the work day and I cranked out about 1300 in around 45 minutes. That’s the initial 35 I set the timer for and part of another one. That day, I got distracted with a spreadsheet I was filling out and stopped to put in something I’d thought of on it. Bad idea. I got sucked away from the story into filling in the spreadsheet. A necessary bit of work which still needs to be completed, but once I realized how good I did, I was kind of kicking myself. The number could have been higher
The next day I pounded out 3k over a few periods of 35 minutes a pop. It felt great. The smaller bites and enforced time limit gave me incentive to type, to produce something, whereas staring at the screen without a limit and only a vague word count expectancy frustrated me. The next two days were the weekend and I kind of fell off the 35 minute wagon. I rested and typed what I wanted. I started again tonight and so far over 2k. I hoping for 3k again, but I’ll be happy with 2.
It has helped me gain a little more discipline lately. I’ve tried other methods which seem to work at first, but end up not fitting with my work style, but so far, it’s going extremely well. I’m hoping the number count increases to a little more than 3k with more repetition and that I can make this a habit which sticks.