Updated: May 21, 2022
You’ve been sitting on your newest script, poem, story. Staring at a blank page. Needing to start typing out, but not being able to. Well, I have an idea for you...
Why not write for fifteen minutes?
Yes, just fifteen minutes. You don’t need to worry about what happens after the fifteen minutes, take that time to focus.
Take out a timer, or use the in-built one in your laptop, phone, or device of your choice. Make it fifteen minutes, and then boom, start writing.
Here are three great online timers:
(starts at 25mins, but you can actually change the time to 15mins by selecting the 'setting' button )
And here's a link to a physical timer you can buy on Amazon, no excuses!
It’s known that setting a timer supports productivity. It’s an effective way to get things done.
Will it really work?
When you first try this out you may get distracted. Especially if you're anything like me. In that case, you easily get distracted and can’t stay focused for the life of you (I know the struggle of wanting to write one sentence and ending up watching five YouTube videos instead). However, you’ll also find a lot of times you will get into a flow.
If it doesn’t work for the first fifteen minutes, go for another fifteen, you’ll find that by the second (or third) time, you’ll start to focus for that period of time to write.
Once you get into that flow of focus, you’ll continue writing past your timer. Soon you may find yourself writing for an hour, two or more.
Writing is like swimming upstream until you get into the current of emotions, ideas and concepts sweep you to your destination.
The next step would be to set either another fifteen minute timer, or take five minute break intervals and go for four rounds or so. Find the best system for you!
Why fifteen minutes exactly?
Why is it important to set a specific time though? Why can’t you just be determined to write for five minutes or less?
The real question is, why not? Our brains can and will convince us that it's not worth it when we have to 'will-power' our way through it. Distraction is often inevitable, or we won’t be committed. We might convince ourselves that we can’t do it and go back to doing something else. Setting a timer let’s us know that we're writing for the time that we've set.
Fifteen minutes is the not too short, not too long window to capture our minds and get some words flowing.
The reality is that writing is the start and editing gets you to the finish line, so why waste time not writing? Better to write and have to edit, than to not write at all.
So next time you’re not sure how to convince your mind to stay focused and write, try writing for fifteen minutes only.
And let us know how it goes!