I was talking to my friend, Kerri, this weekend, about struggling to write consistently every day. Kerri was my first writing group- yep, just the two of us.
She told me that the only way that she got her Master’s thesis done was by using The Pomodoro method. (Side note kudos: she just finished her 168-page thesis last week! Way to go, Kerri!)
Pomodoro is the word for tomato in Italian. In this context it refers to this kitchen timer:
The gist of the system is this- 25 minutes (one pomodoro) of concentrated work, then a 5 minute break. This pattern is repeated until a task is complete.
There is more to the program, but the main purposes of this system are 1. To relieve anxiety, which is the real reason we procrastinate and allow ourselves to get distracted from our task, 2. To learn how to better estimate how long a task will take, and 3. To create awareness of how we use our time.
I immediately told my daughter, who was having essay-writing anxiety on the other end of the couch, and we tried this method out. In 25 minutes, I got a ton of grading done and she actually finished the majority of her essay, all because we were not allowing ourselves to get distracted until it was break-time.
I need to use this for my fiction-writing, as well. Anxiety about not knowing how to resolve an issue or about getting an emotionally difficult passage written makes it harder for me to just buckle down and do it. This method can help me push through.
There’s nothing ground-breaking about this, but it is a really effective way to focus ourselves. How many pomodoros will it take for you to get your writing task done today?
For more information (including an online book and printable worksheets- all free):
And for an online pomodoro timer (and quick online accountability):