By Kim Cheel
Last week, I had myself worked up because I had given myself the admittedly astronomical word count goal of 7,000 words written before I next met with my ghostwriting client. I sat at my computer, put my hands on my amazing, magical keyboard, and waited.
I started. I stopped. I reached for my phone. I put my phone down. I started and typed for about five minutes. I stopped. I reached for my phone and opened Facebook. I read comments. I reacted to comments. I opened Instagram. I liked some photos. I put my phone down.
I started. I stopped. My phone dinged to remind me of my next appointment. I got frustrated because I didn’t write enough. I know that I work better under a deadline, but the deadline was getting too tight for comfort. I was needlessly stressing myself out because I set a ridiculous goal.
I needed to re-evaluate this. The stress I had placed upon myself was too much and would spiral into more. My ghostwriting clients are important, but they’re not the only business I have! I had to stop siloing.
Set a timer
Enter the Pomodoro Technique. Developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s and named after the Italian word for “tomato” because Cirillo’s timer was tomato-shaped, this time-management method encourages you to set a specific amount of time – 10 minutes, 20 minutes, and so on – wherein you give your task all your focus.
This week, I didn’t give myself a word count. Instead, I gave myself Pomodoro goals. I decided to allot 25 minutes a day for writing for this particular client. If I’m honest, I did have some distractions due to puppy sitting. Nevertheless, as I write this blog, I am thrilled with my progress this week. Not only did I hit about 4,000 words, but I also didn’t have any stress about hitting word counts, and I had time to address everything else I had set on my To-Do list for this week. I feel accomplished, and I enjoyed my week.
The idea of allowing yourself a singular focus for a short amount of time works to jumpstart your brain. If you gave yourself all afternoon, you might get the same number of words in, but with a lot more guilt that you didn’t do more because “you had more time.” You can avoid social media for 25 minutes. You can delay answering emails and texts for 25 minutes.
For me, it starts with trust. I trust that I know my story. I know what I want to say – even if it’s just for the next 500 words. It’s like when you are running to building up your endurance. You tell yourself, “I’ll just run for 10 more seconds.” And then, “Okay, another 10 more seconds.” All those distractions are giving in to the disbelief of your abilities. Distractions are the voice of your imposter syndrome. For at least 25 minutes, you don’t have impostor syndrome. For 25 minutes, you are fully in control of your abilities, and you are nailing it.
This August, I’m hosting a 25-minute-a-day Writing Challenge. How long have you put off writing your book because you’ve told yourself you don’t have enough time? What if you could see progress after only 25 minutes? What if September rolled around, and you had amazing memories of a glorious summer spent with family, friends, and experiences, as well as a solid chunk of your writing done? What if you didn’t have to slink into September thinking of all the catch-up you had to do? You can make progress in August, and it only takes 25 minutes a day. It is a challenge, so you’ll earn points along the way. Sign up today and learn how to earn 3 points before you even start writing.