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Tick Tock Time Management: A Simple Tool for Getting Writing Done

by Jennifer on May 25, 2010

By Jennifer Blanchard

There are countless ways to get your writing done. But one really effective way is to write in short (or longer) bursts of time.

You would do this by choosing a specific amount of time you want to spend writing. For example, 30 minutes or 60 minutes or even 10 minutes.

Then you would sit down and write until the amount of time you chose has passed.

After that you can either take a break, start another writing session or be finished for the day. That’s all based on your writing schedule.

Now there’s an online tool making this method even easier for you: The Tick Tock Timer.

Created by the guys behind the “Pun Intended” blog, this tool is just the thing you need to make your writing sessions more effective.

Here’s how I recommend you use this timer, but the guys recommend 20 additional ways you can use it, too.

  • Pick a specific amount of time.
  • Set the Tick Tock Timer for the time you chose.
  • Start writing.
  • Keep writing.
  • No distractions allowed.
  • Do not stop until you hear the gong.
  • Take a break, reward yourself and move on with your day (unless you have time for another short session).

Pretty simple. Pretty effective.

And since you’re only writing for a short amount of time, it’s easier to stay focused and block distractions out. Knowing you only have 10 minutes (or 30 minutes or whatever time you choose) to write before you can go do something else makes the process painless.

How has the Tick Tock Timer helped you get your writing done?

About the Author: Jennifer Blanchard is founder of Procrastinating Writers. For more great writing tips, articles and information, follow her on Twitter.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 K.M. Weiland May 25, 2010 at 12:27 pm

Disciplining myself to sit still and write for two hours every day is a habit that’s become pretty well inculcated over the years. But I know for a fact that I write faster (and often better) when I’m under a tight deadline. If I have an hour to write, my sense of urgency is decidedly lacking and I might let myself get away with a few minutes of dawdling. But if I only have ten minutes to write, my fingers are going to fly like Hurricane Katrina!

2 jennifer blanchard May 25, 2010 at 12:41 pm

@K.M. Weiland It’s great that you’ve found a way to make a habit of writing two hours a day. That’s amazing. Fiction writing?

3 Bamboo Forest - Tick Tock Timer May 25, 2010 at 1:24 pm

This is a great overview of Tick Tock Timer and what it has to offer. Its even inspired me to use it more often to get serious writing accomplished. Thanks for the write up!

4 Jillian Sullivan May 26, 2010 at 4:15 am

How do you keep going with a creative project when doubt and rejection loom larger than belief?
For years I wrote one unpublished novel after another. I knew about the struggle to create, all right. I had 5 children to support. I loved writing and the texture of a sentence. Yet I faced such doubts that at times I almost couldn’t carry on.

It was easier at the start, when I could still believe in the possibility of success. I wrote seven novels before one was published. How to keep going? I still didn’t know. I was stuck halfway through yet another novel and nervous about taking on a project to write a mythology textbook. A writer friend, Bridget, and I came up with a plan ~ we would text each other two random words at night and in the morning, before dawn, we would make something out of them. In this way we would shortcut doubt and procrastination and begin each day already being writers.
On the third day, I started to write what seemed like lectures from a guide I called Godfrey. I thought I would photocopy them for Bridget. On the day I wrote there were fifty more lectures to come, I realised it was a book length project. I wrote almost every dawn over a winter, in my house beside the sea. I wrote a book I didn’t set out to write and I did it without thinking, without stopping, for twenty minutes a day. That was the first thing I learnt ~ that by simply doing it, something would grow.
I went on and wrote the myth book, finished the novel, published two more. The fear has mostly gone. Doubt still lives on and procrastination thrives in many guises. But after meeting Godfrey in these pages, I think I know enough now to carry on.
Jillian Sullivan

5 Eva May 26, 2010 at 2:22 pm

I just used your link for the ticktocktimer! I just did aerobics for 10 minutes (it’s a start) and I’m going to use it today for writing and cleaning. Your blog is so helpful!

6 jennifer blanchard May 26, 2010 at 2:31 pm

@Eva Aw thanks! I’m so glad to hear this blog is helpful for you 🙂 I appreciate you stopping by to comment.

7 Mike June 8, 2010 at 7:34 pm

I’ve been setting my ipod touch timer for 15 minutes and writing until it beeps for me to stop for a couple weeks. It works great.

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