A Pomodoro Timer Will Help You Be a Better Writer

Video transcript with bonus content

 

 

 

A Pomodoro timer will help you be a  better writer. You’ll be able to write faster and more efficiently. It’s a fantastic device that will help you reach your writing goals, and eat an elephant should you ever have that need. It’s true. That’s because both tasks use the same strategy. You can learn to write faster and actually complete your writing project using a Pomodoro timer.

The Old Elephant Joke

So what does the Pomodoro technique timer have to do with eating elephants? Let me ask you this question. How do you eat an elephant? Ask any nine-year-old and he or she will tell you, “One bite at a time.” This perpetually amusing kid joke has the ring of truth. Most of us don’t know how we are going to finish our work. It seems overwhelming. The only real solution is to break big jobs into manageable parts.

The Pomodoro technique is important when it comes to writing, or eating an elephant one bite at a time. It is a time management philosophy and a special timer shaped like a tomato (Pomodoro is the Italian word for tomato) that helps you pace yourself.

The Pomodoro Technique Applied

The Pomodoro philosophy is that people do their best work in 25-minute segments, so you follow this procedure:

  1. Set the Pomodoro timer for 25 minutes. The tomato-shaped timer is fun, but there are many timers (below) you can use.
  2. Work on your writing or dining task.
  3. Stop working or eating when the timer rings and put a checkmark on a piece of paper.
  4. If you have fewer than four checkmarks, take a 3–5 minutes break, then start writing or eating again.
  5. After four Pomodoro sessions, take a break of about 15–30 minutes, reset your checkmark count to zero, and start again at step 1.

It is essential that you maintain this writing ritual and not get sidelined by debilitating beliefs or distractions. If you do, your productivity will skyrocket.

Don’t Be Overwhelmed

Most new writers think about writing a book and are overwhelmed by how large the task seems to them. Many people with a novel or nonfiction book idea never write it because the task seems so daunting.

That does not need to be the case.  To succeed as a writer, you must break the big task into parts. That means you:

  • List the chapters.
  • Break each chapter into sections and subsections. Make notes about the content you want to include in each one. In nonfiction, these sections and subsections are points you want to make. In fiction, they are the different scenes where the characters interact and the plot unfolds.
  • Do some research. Both nonfiction and fiction book authors need ideas from other sources. You probably don’t have enough ideas yourself. You need inspiration.
  • Write your first sentence based on your notes. Write five or so sentences and you have a paragraph.  Write a dozen paragraphs and you have a section. Write 3-5 sections, and you have a chapter.

You see, there is a method to the madness of writing!

How the Pomodoro Technique Helps Me

I’m a seasoned professional writer with three decades of experience. How has the Pomodoro technique helped me? No matter how experienced we may be, we tend to lose focus from time-to-time. I have never had so-called Writer’s Block, but I have allowed myself to become distracted on many different occasions.  I knew what I wanted to write; nevertheless, I found myself staring off to space. When that happened too often or too long, I knew I needed to hit the reset button. The Pomodoro technique is ideal for that. Using it for a few days gets me back in the groove.

I advise the Pomodoro technique for new writers who need to gain writing discipline, and for experienced writers who need to regain it.  The Pomodoro technique is a skill-builder. As writers, we all need to master the fundamentals, and the Pomodoro timer is an excellent tool for keeping those fundamentals sharp.

There is a rhythm to writing. We all want to be in a mental place where the words flow. The Pomodoro technique is not a cure-all, but it helps us pace our writing and that increases our focus, creativity, and productivity.

Give the Pomodoro Technique a Chance

You can get free (and paid) Pomodoro timer apps at both the Google Play app store and the Apple app store. You can even buy a physical version of the timer at the official Pomodoro site if you wish. Here is an online Pomodoro timer you can use.

This Pomodoro technique allows you to schedule your day and your tasks into productive time slots. It helps you focus and makes it easier to say “no” to interruptions. Research shows that it helps people with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It is a great tool to increase both your productivity and the quality of your work. You can benefit from the Pomodoro technique.

 

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