Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Mind the Time

T is for Time, and for Timers.

W. Somerset Maugham has been oft quoted as being asked if he wrote at a set time or only when inspiration struck him. He answered, “I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately for me, it strikes every morning precisely at nine.”

I’ve written a lot in these hacks about ritual, with music and software and playlists and so on, but perhaps there is no better writing ritual than time. Sitting down at the keyboard at the same time each day pre-programs the juices to flow in a way that few other things do. It’s recommended in writing book after writing book after writing books (my favorite being How to Write a Lot by Paul Silva, which, while geared toward academic writers, does a great deal for fiction writers as well).

The other T is for Timers. Setting a timer to try to write for a set period is another way to push yourself to stay focused and to write a reasonable amount. Twitter wars like #WriteClub can serve this function, or you can set one yourself. I find that I can challenge myself to write my daily 750 words in one hour, which works out to about 13 words per minute, and I will check up on my pace from time to time. The tick of the timer keeps my momentum moving.  Often I’ll use the PomodoroTechnique of writing for awhile and then breaking; there are online timer tools just for its implementation. 

This month I'm participating in the A-Z blog challenge. My theme is "writer hacks," or 26 shortcuts you can do as a writer to get the most out of writing and the journey toward and through publication. Find out more about it at a-to-zchallenge.com, and hop around to read the other cool blogs that are part of the challenge! 


  1. Yes, there's nothing like having a routine to make you productive! Mine is out of whack, but I'll be addressing that after April. :)

    1. Amen to that, Nick! I'm looking forward to getting back to regular writing after April. :)


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