Kitchen Timer Writing

My normal writing routine consists of spending all day trying to write while playing on the internet, then trying to write some more and getting distracted, then getting frustrated because I wrote so little. But I was fed up with my lack of productivity and decided something had to change. I remembered a trick I used during NaNoWriMo to write 5000 words a day, and decided to try it again. 

All you need for this system is a kitchen timer and one hour of interrupted time.  One hour is, in my opinion, the perfect chunk of time. Thirty minutes is not long enough to get in the groove, and two hours is too long without a break. But see what works for you.

Here are the steps:

1) Close all your internet browsers, gchat, etc. CLOSE THEM. If needed, unplug your internet and hide your phone. Seriously. The internet will still be there when you get back. You do not need to update twitter about your writing every five minutes. Do it at the end of your hour instead.
Note: If you cannot do this, you may want to spend the $10 on software like

2) Make sure you have whatever you need to write (food, drinks, notes, etc). Go pee. Open your document. Turn your music on.

3) Set your timer to 1 hour. Put it out of your line of sight so you don't check it all the time. Maybe in the next room, if the ticking of the timer annoys you.

4) Write. Write. Write. Do not worry about sucking. Do not worry about perfectly following your outline. Do not think about the timer. Just let yourself enjoy your hour of writing and get as much down as possible.

5) When the timer goes off finish your thought and then take a break for thirty minutes, one hour, or whatever works for you. Reward yourself for how much you accomplished in your hour of writing, even if it was only a few hundred words. Walk around. Check the internet. Watch TV. Do whatever relaxes and invigorates you and takes your mind off writing for a while.

6) Come back and repeat steps 1 - 5 as many times as you can.

I did this four times yesterday, and in each session I wrote over 1000 words, for a total of over 6000 words. My goal was to write 5000 words and I easily surpassed that goal in just four hours of writing.

There is something incredibly freeing about knowing that for one hour all you are doing is writing. One hour is long enough to get a lot done, but not so long that it seems like a burden. If you think, "I have to write 5000 words today" or "I have to write for four hours" it seems overwhelming. But if you think, "I have to write for one hour and then I can take a break and do something fun" it becomes manageable.

Do you have a system for getting the words on the page? Let me know what works for you.