writing schedule

Writing Pomodoro Style

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo using a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato. 

I first read about authors using this time management method to spur writing on the Writers Write blog and more recently on Elizabeth Spann Craig's blog. 

Do I use it to write? Loosely. I don't use a ticking timer. But since the beginning of this year I do have a schedule for writing that I try to stick with. 

On the days when I'm not at the office, I write. 

When I was still creating my story and spilling it all out on paper, I did not use a timer method to measure how I did. I used word count to track how much I produced. But now that I'm adding layers and revising a story in draft form, I use the Pomodoro bursts. 

I'm a morning person. I like to sip my tea in the quiet and read through writer blogs as I wake up. But come 7 am? I write on my story or on this blog. I'll stay on task for roughly 45-minutes at a time and then take anywhere from a 5 to a 15-minute break.  I don't use a kitchen timer. I don't use an app. The small clock on my laptop helps me track my time. I'll keep at this until 1 pm.  

Having worked on my story for several years, I need to feel a sense of accomplishment. Novels are anywhere from 70,000 to 100,000 words. That's a lot of words, a lot of writing, and I want to know that I'm producing a story, that there is a forward movement with my story. So I like to measure myself. And yes, I track my measurements on excel spreadsheets! 

How about you? Do you have some writerly tricks of the trade to help you feel that you have moved forward with your story or your article during your day?


Real Live Writer's Group

Writing is a head oriented activity-using our imagination to create stories and selecting words to communicate those images to someone else.

But, to have a vivid imagination, we need curiosity and experience. We need to see, hear, smell, touch, and taste.

Last night, I went to my first, in a very long time, writer's group. 

This group meets monthly and a facilitator steers the group. She had assigned a writing exercise, asking them to use the five senses. (My brief reflection above the picture? I wrote that before I went to the meeting! How's that for coincidence in real life?) There were ten of us last night. Most of them shared their writing pieces.

It was an informal meeting, perhaps because it's the last night until September. They also shared information about the open house for a new artist studio in town, the author's open mike night at a cafe, a couple of books, and one person had attended a workshop at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. 

Though I've been curious about the Loft, between work, cost, and the energy to google directions, drive, and sit in class with new people? Those three things haven't meshed enough yet to propel me there. Someday. Maybe!

As an introvert, I did not participate much last night but observed and watched. I've already received a welcome email from the facilitator that shared again the dates and locations of events mentioned last night. And I'll be glad of opportunities to get to know this group better.

Some of the people in my facebook writer's group pointed out various types of groups which was helpful. I did not have any expectations and it seems this group is more about support of writing habits group rather than critique of manuscripts group.

How about you? What type of writer's group(s) do you participate in? 


An Author's Day Schedule

I was fascinated this morning with Janice Hardy's work schedule. She crafts articles at Fiction University and is author of several YA novels as well as non-fiction books on the craft of writing. 

Adapting her schedule, I pulled one together that should work for me, considering I'm not a full-time writer as she is.

I don't know about you, but I'm good at putting butt-in-chair. But staying on task? Not so good.

If my phone chirrups that I've received a text, I'll respond to it. (As happened this morning.) 

If I feel momentarily stuck, I'll check my emails.

I might even check into a digital jigsaw puzzle site to spend 30+ minutes to put one together. I tell myself it's meditative and will stimulate my thinking. Except, it doesn't translate into more work done on the novel.

Today? Success! (Yes. Except for the aforementioned text)

How long will I keep to this schedule? I'll probably fall out of it before January ends. Life will inevitably interfere with any type of overly precise discipline.

I hope that at the beginning of each month that I will look at my writing schedule again and gently recalibrate my time to keep my focus on finishing up this novel and move into doing more serious work on my next book.