For once, a successful New Year’s Resolution

I wrote this a year ago to celebrate a year’s successful writing, using Scrivener and the Pomodoro technique. 366 days later, I’m still getting up early each morning to write. I haven’t quite finished The Book but with 80,000 words under my belt I’m nearly there. Things I’ve learned along the way:

  1. A habit is powerful. It was hard to make daily writing a habit, but now that it has become a habit, it is liberating.
  2. We only have a certain amount of willpower. With writing now a habit, I am free to concentrate my willpower on other matters.
  3. I now feel scratchy if I don’t write something every day.
  4. Scrivener is wonderful. When I open the file, I’m already at the place I left off the day before – which is important to keep that continuity going. But I will never use it to its full capacity, and for me, the final edit is best done in Word.
  5. That early morning doze is an excellent time to rehearse what I next have to say.
  6. A hungry dog is better than an alarm clock. Dammit, anything is better than an alarm clock.


Historians are Past Caring

A year ago I sat down to write my New Year’s Resolution – as the blogosphere is my witness – to spend a minimum of 25 minutes every day working on my book, a biography of Walter Stevenson Davidson. According to the Pomodoro Technique,  25 minutes equals 1 pomodoro. As I explained a year ago, the aim of the Pomodoro Technique is to work uninterrupted for 25 minutes, then to take a 5 minute break. Do it again, then after 4 bursts of work take a longer break. Repeat as necessary.

366 days later, I am delighted to say that the technique has worked for me. I don’t always stop after 25 minutes – in fact I often become so engrossed in my writing that I don’t stop for an hour or more – but give or take a bit, I have largely stuck to the plan. There…

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7 responses to “For once, a successful New Year’s Resolution

  1. residentjudge

    Well done you! I’m full of admiration, and it really brings home what a long, slow process all of this is!

  2. Thanks Janine – and yes, it’s slow. but even tortoises get there in the end!

  3. I am trying to learn Scrivener myself, but it’s taking me a while to work through the tutorial…

  4. i know – it’s a steep learning curve and (like with every software package) you really have to pick and choose the bits you need. But I like the way it lets me write in manageable gobbets. It’s very easy to move back and forwards through the manuscript too. I haven’t imported research into my file – though my sister swears by this – but it’s nice to have a section in,the binder with maps and pictures to hand. This is beginning to turn into another blog post, isn’t it? Stay tuned…

  5. That’s terrific, Marion. Congratulations!

  6. Wow! Sounds like you are going great guns. I’m also a daily Scrivener-using writer, and have been using Pomodoro technique with great benefit since I read it on your blog. Works for me too. And I can relate to feeling ‘scratchy’ if I don’t write – what a great way to put it!

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