Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Guest Post: Tricia Hoover on Timed Writing Sessions

Several of you have commented about the succes of the new timer method I've been using--but I've gotta confess--it was totally not my idea. Nope. Stole it all from my friend Tricia Hoover.

For those of you who don't know Tricia (and what the heck, people, check her out, she's awesome!), Tricia's the author of the Roots in Myth blog, blogs at The Spectacle, and is the author of the Forgotten World series, ending with The Necropolis which is out in October.

So, without further ado, here's Tricia on the awesome writing method she taught me!


The idea for the timer method of writing came when my son went off to Kindergarten. Talk about procrastination. We'd tell him to get dressed in the morning, and somehow he'd find a gazillion other things to do instead (kind of like those old Family Circus comics where Billy needed to go get something out of the house). Anyway, after half a year of nagging and pestering and the like, while putting away the Christmas decorations, I came across a Santa time I'd bought at Hallmark on clearance one year. I thought, who better to motivate kids to do what you want them to do than Santa? And so, when the second half of school started, each morning we'd set the timer for five minutes and tell my son that Santa was not only watching him, Santa was timing him.

This worked magic.

And I mean serious magic. He'd run to his room and emerge dressed within three minutes.

So I got to thinking, if Santa has this magical effect on my son, wouldn't Santa have a little magic to spread around for me? I was having a little trouble focusing on actually getting any noticeable stretches of writing done, and needed something to help me focus and concentrate. So when the kids went off to school, I brought Santa to my desk, set him for 30 minutes, and vowed not to stop writing until he buzzed. Because, seriously, I can do anything for 30 minutes, even write.

Here's how it went down. The 30 minutes dinged, and I needed more time. I was focused and that 30 turned into 45. I finished up, took a break, and set Santa again. My sweet spot seems to be somewhere between 45 and 60 with breaks in between. I'm normally good for two or three of these intervals.
In the past year, I've been doing more and more writing dates, and the question comes up of how can you stop the chit chat and get down to the writing?

The timer.

Set it and have everyone on board. If you don't want to haul along your Santa timer, or if you aren't fortunate enough to have a Santa timer, there are lots of egg timers available online. The one I use is here.

So, ready, get set, and go!

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