Cynthia Morris

Cynthia Morris

Writing Coach

Your Most Powerful Writing Tool

Posted 8/21/07 | Updated 7/2/20


The timer is the key to holding your focus and staying with whatever comes up to the page.

You may think that my favorite pen or notebooks are the key to my writing success. Or you may be sure that I count my computer as the number one tool to getting things done. Wrong. It's my timer.

My timer, (Polder brand) guides me to success in many areas. Three minutes for tea. Ten minutes for meditation. Twenty-five minutes for white rice, forty-five for brown. Ten, fifteen and twenty minutes for writing. Using the timer is essential for me to achieve what I want in all of these activities.

The timer keeps track of time so I don't have to. With the timer going, I can sit in meditation and not worry about how long until I can get up. When the timer tracks how long my tea is brewing, I can pop into the bathroom or get dressed and not end up with overbrewed, bitter tea. But the biggest use for the timer is with writing.

I advocate the free write to get any kind of writing done. I wrote my whole novel using the free write method and many articles and essays. The unrestrained nature of the free write partners with the timer to keep your hand moving, to keep the censor at bay, and to provide the glue to keep your butt in the chair while you write. When you are timing your writing, you can also use the timer to track how much you are writing each week. Some of my clients like to track their hours so they can see how much progress they are making.

Don't underestimate the power of the timer. You may already have figured out that it's the simplest things in life that are the most effective. The timer is one of them.

If you haven't already experimented with the timer, try it now. If your writing could use a power boost, the timer will lead the way to fuller expression.

So get the kitchen timer out of the kitchen and bring it to your writing space. Don't have a timer? Okay, go get one. You don't need to get fancy. Head over to Target, Bed, Bath or Beyond, or, if you're lucky, to IKEA. The last time I was there, I saw a handful of different timers for under five bucks.

Whether you are journaling, writing a book or writing poetry, the timer is the key to holding your focus and staying with whatever comes up to the page.

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