The Benefits of Timing Your Writing Sessions
Writers have been using this simple trick for many years because it works. There are several ways to do it. Most include setting up a countdown timer of some sort.
Choose how long you want to focus. Once the timer is on, you're not allowed to do anything else but write. Like the bomb that is going to explode by the end of a Bond film, the ticking clock gives you urgency. It makes you aware of time, and that it's going to run out. It works surprisingly well.
We've built a timer directly into the Writing Analytics editor. It's visible at all times, reminding you how long have you been working.
But we've flipped it around. Instead of a countdown, it's a stopwatch. You don't set a specific time goal but simply start writing.
The problem with countdown timers is that it's difficult to predict exactly how long you're going to need to finish. When you're in the flow, you don't want to be interrupted by a beeping clock. And what do you do then? Just stop it and carry on? Or do you push it back 15 more minutes only to be interrupted again?
With a stopwatch, you always see the accurate time elapsed without being disturbed. This approach has several advantages.
Time slips away, whether we want it or not. We tend to not think about that much. Having a ticking clock around makes you aware of it. You know exactly how long have you been staring at the editor.
There's an urgency to start working. The competitive part of you will want to write just a little faster than usual. And you certainly won't want to fall behind.
A timer serves as a benchmark for your performance. After you've used it for a while, you'll develop a sense of how fast you normally write. If you feel like you've been going super slow, you can pause it try something else – take a break, write an outline or free-write for a bit.
When you've set up a timer with the intention to write, you're far less likely to switch context and do something else. You've decided to focus, and the ticking clock serves as a reminder of that.
This becomes particularly powerful when combined with the tracking features in Writing Analytics. The editor records when you type and when you get distracted to keep you accountable.
You may set a minimum time to focus, but if you find that you'd like to keep going longer, there's nothing to interrupt your flow. In fact, that's one of the biggest advantages of writing for a set amount of time. It may take a while to get going, but once you're in the flow, you won't want to stop.
A timer is only one of many features that we've built into Writing Analytics to help you write more. Schedule your writing, track your progress and create a sustainable writing routine. Sign up for a free 14-day trial today.