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  • Writer's pictureRobert Lynch

The Pomodoro Method

One of the things I learned at Uni was the Pomodoro Method. The idea is that regular short breaks help keep you at optimal productivity. I would watch recorded lectures to the halfway point, get up, have a short walk or coffee, and then finish the lecture. Once I started employing the method, I saw a consistent rise of 5% in my grades.

For Crappy Night Job (I’m going to keep calling it that even though I’m working days now), I can work 10 hours with one break, or none sometimes. Menial work relies on the strength of your back, but creative and intellectual work requires mental strength. The brain isn’t an endurance organ. It uses around a quarter of your daily energy; it already runs hot. What I found at Uni was I could physically sit in all the classes, but my brain wouldn’t retain as much information at the end of the lecture as it did at the beginning.

With my new work structure, I have two whole days per week set aside for writing. This is the beginning of the fourth week, and I haven’t got into the new groove yet. Part of that is that my shifts haven’t been consistent, which is hard to build a routine around. Another part is that footy has started up again, and I’m volunteering some of my time. And a part has been Resistance.

Any self-guided work requires a level of discipline, and mine lately has been terrible. Slithering under my thoughts has been that doubt that I’m actually terrible at writing and I’m wasting my time. Maybe that’s true, but I’m a nerd, and I like data above vague doubt. The data is that I have got a royalty payment every month this year. Not a big royalty payment, but Crash, the little short story that could, has been making slow sales. I can’t know if the Solar Flare anthology will sell until I publish it. At ~31,000 words, it will be the largest piece I have ever published, and I have no idea how big the market is for that sized work. It may not be a novel, but it’s the next step toward one.

Sooner rather than later, I need to get Solar Flare Volume 1 published, including recording an audiobook for it. Crash’s audiobook came in at 24 minutes, and that was only 4,000 words, so I have a few recording sessions in my future. Then get The Case of the Girl in the Box written, the free story (I don’t know how long it will be) I’m going to give away for those who sign up to my email. Then I start in earnest on The Martian Ark.

I’ve been thinking about the Pomodoro method a lot this past week as I tried in vain to slog through the line editing of Solar Flare. I might try setting a timer, work for 25 minutes on editing, then when I come back change direction and do some creative work. Then after 25 minutes, head back to the editing mines. I’m hoping that this modified Pomodoro will help get more work on the page in the long run.

Editing is something that, up until now, I have been able to do in a single sitting. The prospect of days in the creative darkness with no canary to guide me has left me paralysed this week. Maybe the Pomodoro Method can be the canary I need, and when she stops singing, I can head up top until the fog of deadly Resistance passes.

I’m really stretching this metaphor.


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