At the writing desk today I’m having my first virtual meeting with Melinda Tognini Author & Writer, for our Shut Up and Write (SUAW) session. In the past we’ve always met up at the Bodhi Tree Bookshop/Cafe but thanks to COVID19 we can’t do that so we’ve decided to schedule our sessions via Zoom.
As with most writers (and for me as a new writer) discipline to stick to a writing schedule is a challenge. There are writers who have the discipline and commitment to write during their scheduled time without distractions or allowing other activities to take priority over their writing. I admire those writers. Disciplined is something I am to be.
How you do something is how you do everything
So, I am beginning with some small daily writing habits.
Advantages of doing a SUAW Zoom session :
- no cafe noise distractions
- being in the comfort of my own writing chair, desk and room that I call my creative sanctuary
- no drive time hence I save money on fuel and parking
- no chance of a parking ticket because I’ve stayed too long with my writing buddies
- more relaxed (I can be in my pajamas, although today I wasn’t)
- more focused and clear, hence more productive
- no cakes, cookies, delicious lunches and meals to choose from , and no fresh juices (I guess the advantage is that I save money and don’t put on as much weight)
- I don’t get to listen to (eaves drop) on neighbouring conversations on other tables. I like to call it research.
Our SUAW format :
Melinda suggested during our Bodhi Tree meet up days to try the Pomodoro Method. It worked well then so why try something different. It ensures productivity and focus.
What is the Pomodoro Method?
The pomodoro method was developed by a university student in late 1980s, Francesco Cirrilo. He was looking for a more effective time management way of studying.
Why Pomodoro? Pomodoro is the Italian word for tomato and Francesco used a timer shaped like a tomato for his time keeping. Working in intervals of 25 minutes with a short 5 minute break at each interval.
How? There are six steps:
- Set your intention on the task you want to do or what you want to focus your writing on
- Set the timer to 25 minutes
- Work on the task/write
- Finish when the timer stops
- If you have fewer than four sessions of 25 min, take a short break (3–5 minutes), then go to step 2.
- After your fourth interval take a longer break (15–30 minutes).
You can do as many intervals as you like.
I prefer to use a Pomodoro App. There are plenty to choose from in the app store for android and Apple phones.
How I felt after and during the session :
- on task
- confident and encouraged
I’m excited about our next session.
My writing schedule :
- Weekday 6am-7am check ins with Melinda
- Tuesdays & Fridays I have allocated as my dedicated writing day (where I write, research, read and learn anything that is writing related)
- Tuesdays Zoom SUAW session with Melinda 9.15am -10.30/11am
- Friday FB Inspired Collective Writers Group SUAW check in 9am to 10.45am
I’m also part of Louise Allan’s Writing Mentoring group too. We meet via Zoom once a month.
Checking in with Melinda and being part of Louise’s mentoring writing group has been beneficial not only for my writing practice and my development as a writer but also for my daily life routines.
I need that accountability, and a simple check in makes a huge difference to my productivity.
My take away advice :
Make sure you set your intention before you begin to write or set upon a task. It will give you focus, direction, purpose, and a sense of achievement once you’ve completed your pomodoro session.