Do you write?

Do you do timed writes?

You should. I’ll tell you how.

But first let me tell you my story.

I recently determined to develop a rock-solid foundational writing habit for myself.

Every morning, I write for at least five minutes. I don’t have to write any longer than that, but I have to put in those five minutes. It’s non-negotiable.

I started out using a timer app. Depending on my volume settings, the alarm would startle me, or I couldn’t hear it at all. The best timer I found stole the focus so I couldn’t type any more.

Cheap timer. Don't buy this.
This cheap timer really bugged me.

So I went out and bought a cheap kitchen timer.

Well, I bought two, because the first one broke the first time I tried to use it.

It didn’t take long for the darn thing’s ticking noise to induce a quiet panic. The jangling alarm sound made me jump out of my seat.

I couldn’t write with that.

I forget where I first heard about the Time Timer. When I first saw it, I felt like someone had made it just for me:

The Time Timer
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  • ✅ A physical timer
  • ✅ No ticking sound
  • ✅ A visual indicator of time left
  • ✅ A gentle beeping sound when time is up. 😅

Compared to my flimsy, trauma-inducing kitchen timers, it was pretty expensive though. So I put it on my Christmas wish-list and my wife bought it for me. 😂

Once I got it into my office and started using it, I found that it’s addictive. I use it for more than just timed writing sprints now.

I find myself plotting who else I can buy Time Timers for.

How do you use it?

If you’ve never done timed free writes before, start by setting the timer for two minutes.

Then you write. Doesn’t matter what.

Your goal is to get as many words down on the page before the time runs out.

When the timer beeps its gentle beep, you finish up your thought and stop.

Once you’ve gotten used to it, two minutes won’t be long enough.

So you add more time.

I take five minutes for my morning warm-ups.

The free writing helps me shake the cobwebs out of my head.

I’m also training myself to write without editing. This has been a hard lesson for me, but I’m getting better.

I might continue using the timer for more writing throughout the day, or I might not.

But those first five minutes set the tone for the rest of the day.

Time Timer. Buy this one.
This is my Time Timer.
No, you can't borrow it.

Highly recommended.

Buy a Time Timer for yourself! chevronRight icon

If you’re interested in learning more about how I’m developing my writing habit, look over here.


by David Eyk