If you’ve read Natalie Goldberg’s “Writing Down the Bones” you will have noted her assertion that timed writing exercises are the pillars that support a writing practice.
Just what amount of time you spend on a given exercise is dependant on quite a few factors. How new you are to a writing practice. How much time you have to spare. Where you are writing. Are you writing alone?
The key thing is to choose a time segment that you can fully devote to the exercise. Five, ten, fifteen, twenty minutes or half an hour or for the battle hardened an hour or more. It’s what suite your circumstances.
Things you need:
Paper and your favourite writing implement or computer if you can type faster than you can hand-write.
A kitchen timer. A silent LCD type, not a clockwork one that might just get on your nerves.
A place where you will be left undisturbed for your allotted time.
The rules are simple:
Select a topic or question or a phrase or some evocative words.
Set timer for your time period and start.
Write none-stop for the whole time focus initially on your topic etc. And see where it takes you.
Don’t worry about your spelling.
Don’t worry about your grammar.
Don’t look back over what you have written till your time is up.
Don’t correct anything while writing.
Stop only when the timer sounds off.
I’ve found this a great way to overcome procrastination. I also find it to be a useful as a short warmup exercise before moving onto my project writing for that session.