Several weeks back, I felt in a funk. (I lean melancholy. Hopefully, you’ll get used to it.) While scrolling somewhere on the internet, I came across a memoir written by Lauren Graham, fabulous star of stage and screen. I had no idea she was a writer; she’s not only written this quick and funny memoir but also TWO novels. I tapped my little fingers right over to Amazon and clicked “Proceed to checkout” hopeful this book would provide me some much needed levity.
Now, this was not quite a random purchase. I love Lauren Graham and frequently quote Gilmore Girls in real life and here so prepare yourself for that, too. I adored her in Parenthood, as well. Don’t you want to be an honorary Braverman? I sure do.
Sprinkled throughout Talking As Fast As I Can is talk (get it?) about her process as a writer. When authors pull back the curtain and give the reader, me, a peak at their writing methods I get giddy. You’re giving me your words AND insight into your writerly life? Yes, please. Two gifts for the price of one.
One such chapter in Talking is all about The Kitchen Timer method. Lauren did not invent this method, but it was shared with her as advice for how to curb her tendencies toward procrastination and meet her book deadlines. Click here to read all the details about 🔗 The Kitchen Timer Method.
Friends, I have tried this method and it WORKS. The thing I love most about it is how kind and gentle it is while holding strong to boundaries. You set the timer for 60 minutes but only wrote for 45? My IMMEDIATE natural instinct is to shame myself over this shortcoming and add 15 minutes – or more! – to tomorrow’s hour as a way to teach myself a lesson. (Brene Brown would have lots of words around this. She’ll make frequent appearances here, too, in the form of my own thoughts because I don’t actually know Brene in real life.)
How nice is that? You didn’t meet your goal? That is ok here. It just means your goal was a wee bit off. Let’s adjust the goal to be a bit more realistic for tomorrow, shall we? Yes, let’s do that.
This method has transformed my productivity and the way I think about my writing. Genius.
How This Will Help YOU Grow as a Writer:
Writers, I encourage you to try out this method. I am not by nature a procrastinator, so I was not drawn to this method to help with that. But, if you do tend to dally, this might help.
Regardless of dawdling nature or not, this method helps prioritize your time and set boundaries. Most importantly, it helps build the daily habit of writing. And, in order to get better at writing, you have to write.
Give The Kitchen Timer Method a whirl and let me know how it goes. I can’t wait to hear how it transforms your writing and your self-talk about your writing.
How This Will Help YOUR STUDENTS Grow as Writers:
Staring at a blank page can be intimidating for students. This method will benefit them in three main areas: time, choice, and stamina.
Time: Setting the timer helps reluctant writers know this won’t last forever. This method also helps set the expectation to write the entire time no matter what content comes out.
Choice: Affording your students the option to either free write in their journal (that won’t be seen by you or anyone else unless they so choose to share) or work on one of their current academic pieces gives them the autonomy and flexibility to choose what they write about and for how long, until the timer goes off.
Stamina: Toggling back and forth between their just-for-me writing and their writing with an intended purpose meant for an intended audience will grow their writing stamina. Often teachers share with me that their students just can’t sustain writing for a very long time. This is true. Using methods like this to build strong writing habits will, in turn, build their stamina for writing long.
Pitch this idea of The Kitchen Timer Method to your students as an experiment and share your findings with me!
Until next time, inward and onward writers!