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Discover your ‘writing building block’

Advice for writers and bloggers

In this post, I talk about an alternative to writing every day that will still allow you to achieve your writing goal. By the end of the post I prove that all you need is a little algebra.

Start with this exercise

Let’s start with some Pomodoro. You need an hour and a half for this exercise. Set a timer for 25 minutes. Do nothing but write until the timer goes off. Come up with some topics or starting points before you begin. (Tip: Choose something you know about and are interested in!) Have a five minute break, then do another Pomodoro. Spend one more Pomodoro editing what you’ve written.

Your building block

How much did you write? Make a record of this. To use a cliché, there is no right or wrong answer! People write and edit at different speeds. This is your writing ‘building block’.


If two writing Pomodoros, plus one for editing, is not your ideal writing time, then keep working on the exercise until you come up with a number of Pomodoros that works for you. For instance, you might prefer one 25 slot first thing, then another to edit later. Or you might want to do four, or ditch the whole kitchen timer idea all together.

Whatever it takes, come up with your own ‘writing building block’ – an ideal writing session length, in which you can write / edit X number of words.

Apply your ‘writing building block’ to your writing goal

Now look at your writing goal. For instance, I want to enter X short story competition, or I want to write X number of blog posts by September. You should now be able to do some maths and work out how many writing ‘building blocks’ you need to write and edit your way to your writing goal. In reality, it will take some trial and error if you haven’t written regularly before, but knowing your ‘building block’ will act as a guide.

Based on yesterday’s post, you have already worked out when and where you’re going to write, meaning that this (fake) algebra is now the answer to all your problems. 1000 apologies to all mathematicians who are squirming in their seats right now.

Time and Place to Write + Writing Building Block = Writing Goal

Of course, once you get going, you can forget about the kitchen timer and the building blocks if you no longer need them, but they can help you get started.

So, what’s the alternative to writing every day?

All of this means that instead of writing every day, you could write, say 3,000 words in one day, and divide that into 3? or 6? blog posts. Or you could use freewriting to create a 3,000 word short story, have a rest tomorrow, and spend a couple of building blocks editing it the day after. You could have a writing ‘power day’ or two and spend the next few days letting in mellow.

Just to prove the point, I wrote this blog post yesterday.

What next?

Want more? Try following some of the writing tips on this page or some of the productivity tips on this page  or on this page. (Takes you to my other blog.)

Want the low down on batch writing blog posts? Read this.

Hate this idea? Try Julia Cameron’s techniques instead.

Need to know what to write about? Tomorrow I’ll give you two seemingly simple questions that will help you to nail down your topic.

Until then, happy writing.

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