Screenwriter Don Roos has an interesting technique for ensuring that he gets the job done – by using a Kitchen Egg Timer and a series of handy tips behind the method to ensure that he sticks to the time allotted. But why do we have to go to these lengths?
Many writing tools offer you the ability to write – distraction free, ie in full screen mode; but they can’t make you stick to it. This last two weeks I have been bereft of the desire and the passion to write, even though I have had the time to do so. It is not good enough to fritter away valuable time, but yet I find myself constantly doing so. I have no such trouble when time is precious and scarce; I know exactly how much time I have to write and can then force myself to perform, often on key – when inspired – but it is obvious that I need to go back to basics and force myself to learn good habits.
To that aim, I have rearranged my spare room into a study once again – not used since I last finished editing a film – and taken the laptop away from the living room, and the interfering signals of the TV and the chatter from the missus. I have treated myself to a glorious 24 inch wide screen monitor for extra screen real estate when editing (and not for watching movies!) and gone back to using a proper keyboard and mouse. I have a blank cork notice board – ready for me to start pinning Index cards to it. I also have my Index cards. Yes the room is still cluttered currently, but that is no excuse not to write and spend the time tidying up instead.
I know that I now need to ration my internet time – which is difficult to justify when you need to do research, quickly find the right word to describe a cat’s claw tip, or locate a picture of a specific gun mechanism – item’s that you may not necessarily have to hand in your own reference books. But that is no excuse to fritter away time on Twitter etc. Also, without setting myself goals I will merely be seated in another room, missing social company as well as still not achieving anything and revelling in those achievements. So from now on I will ensure that I get at least 1 hour a day of proper activity in the bag. I may very well invest in my own kitchen timer too!