Force Yourself To Write By Timing Yourself

I've been trying to motivate myself to write lately. Instead of writing I convince myself that there are so many other talented writers out there it's hard to see why my voice is relevant.

This attitude is non-sense. I didn't start blogging to become internet-famous, to make money, or to even make an ever lasting difference/impression. I started to write online because I enjoy the process of building websites and I wanted a place to improve my writing. The former I accomplished by building this stupid thing, and the latter only happens when I actually force myself to write.

To do so I've concocted a new technique. Instead of aimlessly researching and planning out an article, I pull out my iPhone while I sit at my computer. On my iPhone, there's a little app called Clock—maybe you've heard of it? And inside that application there's a tab called the Timer.

Every time I want to sit down and write I set a timer for ten minutes.[1] Once that countdown begins I start writing like a bat out of hell. There's absolutely no time to think about solid grammar practices, properly format my text, or any real time to edit things. All I have time to do is to vomit all of the garbage ideas that exist in my head into my text editor.

After the said ten minutes have elapsed. I take an extended break from writing, typically a day or two. Then I come back, look at the garbage I wrote and begin to edit. If there's anything worth salvaging, the process only takes a few minutes. If not, I set the timer again and have-at-'er.

The sense of urgency created by the timer dulls my indolence and focuses my attention on writing. (Not even the best "distraction free writing environment" has the tools to get rid of that.) So far this technique has worked swimmingly.

If you've got any suggestions for me, or have your own opinions about this technique, please, feel free to chime in @trst_blog on Twitter.

  1. Note: the actual time I have set is arbitrary. If you replicate this technique, set your limit to whatever you feel is most appropriate. If you run out of time and you still have gas in the tank, then reset the timer and push onward. ↩︎


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This is the weblog of the strangely disembodied TRST. Here it attempts to write somewhat intelligibly on, well, anything really. Overall, it may be less than enticing.