How The Pomodoro Technique Can Help You Draft Your Book In Just 3 Weeks – While Still Having A Life

Would You Like to Draft Your Book in a Few Weeks?

Would You Like to Draft Your Book in a Few Weeks?

As a writer, I’ll bet you’ve got more than one ‘brilliant idea’ project rolling around in your head.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve come up with at least a handful of great book ideas in the past 6 months, and have a few other creative ideas flourishing as well.

An e-course perhaps?

An audio series?

A membership section to your blog or site?

Quite likely, all of the above!

It’s one thing to come up with an endless stream of great ideas, but it’s quite another to fine-tune them into a realistic action plan and then to actually execute that plan.

Which means that finding a way of to cut down the time it takes to execute your action plan would be brilliant, wouldn’t you say?

There is a way for you to write your new e-book project in just 25 minutes a day. 

 

The Pomodoro Technique

 

The technique was developed in the 1990s by an Italian efficiency enthusiast.

All you need is a task and a timer. You can use a kitchen timer (place it where you can see it as you work). Or you can use free online timers such as focusboosterapp or ticktocktimer.

Set the timer for 25 minutes – and write.

Churn through your task, ignore distractions. Don’t edit, or check your Facebook account, or make tea, or stare at the ceiling. Just write.

At the end of 25 minutes, stop. Even if you want to keep going on. Just stop.

 

How It Works

 

Seeing time ticking down gives the brain a sense of urgency. Our brains like boundaries because boundaries create sharper focus.

Think about it. If I were to ask you to name your favorite book or author, you’d be blank for a few moments. Then you’d come up with one. As ti

me went by, you’d come up with more and more names. Why does this happen?

Because there are no boundaries. You can choose any book or author you want, but your brain is groping for an answer.

First, your brain tries to formulate boundaries. Only then can you focus on a specific book or author.

But what if I asked you who your favorite mystery author is? Your answer would come much quicker, because a boundary has already been defined.

The Pomodoro technique creates a boundary of time, sharpened by the visual of time ticking down. On focusboosterapp, the color of the timer changes from green to orange and then darkens to red, and there’s a ringing sound at the end of the session. On ticktocktimer, a very satisfying gong sound signals the close of 25 minutes.

And that is the secret.

 

How I Drafted My Book in 3 Weeks

 

I’ve written a book on sleep. Insomnia and other sleep disorders, to be specific.

It has 6 chapters, an introduction, a summary, a couple of handy worksheets, and many ‘real-life’ stories of insomnia woven in – everything from the hilarious no-sleep story to stuff that will make you cry.

Sure sounds like a big project, doesn’t it? And I’ve written all that by working just 25 minutes a day, using the Pomodoro technique.

I learned about the  technique from a fellow blogger, and decided to give it a go.

Can’t hurt, I thought. And certainly anything that has a finite end to it is more appealing than the never-ending feeling of urgency and being overwhelmed that we writers are so good at.

My sleep book had been gathering metaphorical dust for about 5 weeks until I started using the Pomodoro technique.

In just 3 weeks of using the technique, I’ve finished drafting my introduction, key chapters, and summary, and have done roughly 80% of the necessary research and fact gathering. All in 25-minute blocks.

What surprised me was how often I got into the flow of writing – no toggling, no editing, no lack of clarity. Writing seemed delightfully easy!

 

Make It Work for You

 

The key to using this technique effectively is using an actual timer. I like ticktocktimer because it lets you choose the length of time you’d like (you might find you work better in 20- or 30-minute blocks).

The best part is that even if you don’t feel like writing, even if you’ve no idea what you’re going to say, it’s easy to begin when you know that the ‘pain’ of writing will be over in a few minutes.

And who knows? You may find yourself in that elusive flow state before you know it!

 

There it is – the key to writing your next book or project in just 25 minutes a day. Let me know in the comments how it goes for you. Gong!

 

About the author:

Kat Loterzo’s mission is to inspire, motivate and empower women to change their bodies and their lives. She blogs at www.womanincredible.com.

Image: Woman holding clock courtesy of Bigstockphoto.com

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34 Responses to “How The Pomodoro Technique Can Help You Draft Your Book In Just 3 Weeks – While Still Having A Life”

Read below or add a comment...

  1. Abayomi says:

    I came across the pomodoro technique some years ago while researching time management tools to help me become more efficient. I am delighted to read about how to apply it to write a book (I am presently writing one). Thanks a lot for sharing this.

    • Vinita Zutshi says:

      Good luck planning your book with the Pomodoro technique, Abayomi. Do share your experience with it.

      Vinita Zutshi,
      Guest Post Editor, Write to Done

  2. Jevon says:

    This is similar to Schwartz’s 33 minute rule, which I find very useful.
    Jevon recently posted..Use Your Protagonist to Hook the Reader From Start to FinishMy Profile

    • Vinita Zutshi says:

      Jevon, that’s what I was thinking as I read about the technique, but the timer ticking down in front of one’s eyes, makes it a different experience altogether!

      Vinita Zutshi,
      Guest Post Editor, Write to Done

  3. I am going to try this, that’s for sure. I need all the help I can get. Thanks for sharing.

    • Vinita Zutshi says:

      That’s what I thought when I read about it, Robyn. And it works.

      Good luck!

      Vinita Zutshi,
      Guest Post Editor, Write to Done

  4. Lee J Tyler says:

    Hey Kat!

    I adore the Pomodoro Technique! I wrote an article about the technique awhile ago on my site and got a lot of very interesting…and interested comments.

    I think the hardest thing about using the Pomodoro Technique is actually stopping when the timer goes off!

    Congratulations on your ebook.
    Lee J Tyler recently posted..Skyrocket Awareness of Your Book with These ResourcesMy Profile

    • Vinita Zutshi says:

      Kat is away and can’t respond to comments, Lee.

      What you said is so true! I tried the Pomodoro technique after Kat sent in the article, and it was hard to stop when the time goes off.

      But that’s one of the secrets to beating writer’s block, I believe. Many successful authors say the trick is to stop writing when you still have something to say.

      Vinita Zutshi,
      Guest Post Editor

  5. Elke Feuer says:

    That’s how I wrote my first book, but I didn’t know it was a specific technique, that’s just how much time I had each morning before work. I like the timer idea. I use it to limited my time on social media, but never thought about applying it to writing. Will definately try it! Thanks for the tip!
    Elke Feuer recently posted..What’s YOUR Daily 5?My Profile

    • Vinita Zutshi says:

      Elke, it’s lovely to hear that you wrote your first book in 25-minute installments.

      And congratulations on your self-discipline in using timers to limit time to social media!

      Since you’ve used both ideas already, I’d really like to know what happens when you ‘marry’ the 25 minutes to the timer. Please share again!

      Vinita Zutshi,
      Guest Post Editor, Write to Done

  6. Neal Martin says:

    Very helpful post. Thank you. As I struggle to stay focused most of the time due to the constant clanging of ideas and projects inside my head, I believe this technique will be of some use to me. Twenty-five minutes doesn’t sound like a lot of time to write, but I’m certain you can accomplish a lot in that time. And to think that by just repeating this daily you can bang out a full book in a few weeks is pretty awesome. Why wait? I’m of to hit that timer…

  7. Liz says:

    Hi Kat,

    Using timers does work. There’s something about knowing you’re being timed that gets you moving. It’s actually one of my best suggestions in my last blog post where, embarrassingly enough, I had one of the most unproductive days ever! Oh well, it happens to the best of us :-)

    One other thing that works for me is to turn off your monitor or put a cover over it and just type It forces you to look within your mind and just write. I thought that was a really dumb idea until I tried it and it proved to be quite useful.

    Thanks for the tips Kat :-)
    Liz
    Liz recently posted..8 Tips For Sticking To A Blog Post ScheduleMy Profile

  8. John Dale says:

    Thank you for the article. I love the Pomodoro. I stumbled upon it via a free app (not sure if still free) called Focus Time. I use the technique almost all day long…mixing in 5 min stretch, refreshment break after every 25 minute focused season. I get more done in less time than I ever would have thought.

    • Vinita Zutshi says:

      John, I can imagine that continuing for multiple sessions would skyrocket your productivity. Good going!

      Now I need to schedule a Pomodoro technique day… :-)

      Vinita Zutshi,
      Guest Post Editor, Write to Done

  9. Julie Isaac says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience with this helpful writing technique!

    Years ago I came across Eben Pagan’s 60/60/30 rule, which is a weird name for this technique considering how it actually works. You set a timer for 50 minutes and write straight through, then take a 10 minute break–that’s the first “60.” Then you do it again, writing for 50 minutes and taking a 40 minute break where you go for a walk, eat a light bite, or relax in some way–that’s the second “60″ + “30.”

    Although the timing’s a little odd considering the title, it’s amazing how doing this can keep you energized, clear-headed. and creative all day long when you’re facing a deadline and it’s crunch time. I’ve found that when I take fewer breaks and write straight through, I get more tired and my creativity is less sharp.

    Whether it’s the Pomodoro Technique or Eben Pagen’s 60/60/30 Rule, these timed writing spurts WORK! The hardest part is to slow down enough in your day to actually choose to use one of these techniques.

    Another great timed writing resource is #WriteClub on twitter, which was started by @FriNightWrites (Megan Whitmer). Every Friday, from 11am to 11pm PT / 2pm to 2am ET / 7pm to 7am UK, writers from around the world participate in 30 minute writing sprints, with 15 minute breaks in-between. Everyone shares their word count at the end of every sprint and total word count for the night is reported. Last Friday’s word count was 90,960 words!

    Write on,
    Julie

    @WritingSpirit
    Julie Isaac recently posted..Amazon Announces Winners in Sixth Annual Amazon Breakthrough Novel AwardMy Profile

    • Vinita Zutshi says:

      The 60/60/30 Rule is certainly a creative way to name that technique, Julie.

      And thanks for sharing about FriNightWrites – a Friday NaNoWriMo of sorts. So every Friday can really be Writing Party time!

      As you said, it’s more the (reasonably) timed writing spurt than the actual timing of them that spurs us on to focus.

      Vinita Zutshi,
      Guest Post Editor, Write to Done

  10. K A Petentler says:

    I found this very inspiring. I just got a new idea for a project and think I am going to try this method. Who knows maybe it will be my first published story! Thanks for the inspiration. K A Petentler

    • Vinita Zutshi says:

      Good luck with your project, and do let us know how the Pomodoro technique worked for you!

      Vinita Zutshi,
      Guest Post Editor, Write to Done

  11. Ruth Loffa says:

    This made me laugh to start with, I am married to an Italian and live in Italy, so Italian and efficiency are not two words that I would put in the same sentence!! That said I can have recently experienced the merits of this idea as I made a commitment to writing for a min of 30 minutes a day, like you say, you often run over. But it certainly works. Didn’t know there was a special name for it though….. And what has the humble tomato got to do with it!?

    • Vinita Zutshi says:

      Ruth, your comment made me smile! I think we all agree that timed writing works.

      About the tomato: apparently at the time this technique began to be used, many people had tomato-like kitchen timers which they used to keep track of 25 minutes. :-)

      Vinita,
      Guest Post Editor, Write to Done

  12. Rachel says:

    I like this strategy. I think it can help me tackle several work writing projects that I’ve been putting off. Once I clear those off my plate I’d love to try this technique to get back into writing short fiction and overcome the dreaded writer’s block that often creeps up on me.
    Rachel recently posted..Does This Stuff Gross You Out as Much as it Does Me?My Profile

  13. “Writing seemed delightfully easy!” Wow. I’m sold. How many of us don’t want that? Thanks for the great tips! I’m definitely trying this method out.
    Jessica Flory recently posted..Michael Jordan’s Guide to Writing a BookMy Profile

    • Vinita Zutshi says:

      That’s what made me try it immediately, Jessica! :-)

      Vinita Zutshi,
      Guest Post Editor, Write to Done

  14. So that’s where the pasta sauce name comes from… interesting!

    • Vinita Zutshi says:

      Does it? I didn’t know that, Mike.

      Vinita Zutshi,
      Guest Post Editor, Write to Done

  15. Tunde says:

    I have to admit how sincere this technique is. I just tried it today, and wow….it really did work, and within 30 minutes, I was almost done with a chapter, though alot of editing is still required. Thanks for sharing this. So grateful!