Monday’s Manuscript: The Pomorodo Method
By Linda Shenton Matchett
Life is a balancing act. Or is it juggling? Either way, getting everything done can be a challenge. As an author who also has a full-time day job as well as assisting my elderly mom with daily tasks, and volunteering at church and a local museum, my time is precious. Until about eighteen months ago, completing the first draft of a manuscript took months. At that rate, I knew I might not live long enough to develop my writing career.
Then I was introduced to the Pomodoro Method by Shelley Hitz of Author Audience Academy. The process seemed too simple and too good to be true, but I was desperate so decided to give it a try. Invented in the late 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, an Italian whose consulting company is located in Berlin, Germany, the method is a time management tool used worldwide and is for anyone looking to shut out distractions, overcome procrastination, and enhance productivity. Who knows? You might even want to consider the method for your household chores.
Pomorodo is the Italian word for tomato, and according to Wikipedia, Cirillo chose the name to commemorate the kitchen timer he used as a college student. Apparently, those timers were all the rage back then!
There are six steps to the Pomorodo Technique:
• Decide what task is to be done (write a scene, edit a chapter, etc.) and gather everything together that you’ll need to do the job.
• Set the timer. Any timer. It doesn’t need to be fancy. I use a basic timer app on my cell phone. Cirillo’s method calls for twenty-five minute time segments (each one is a pomorodo), however, you may choose to go slightly shorter or longer. I’ve found twenty minutes to be my “sweet spot.”
• Work on the task, and only the task. Don’t give into temptation and decide to research something for your scene or check the text message that just pinged.
• When the timer rings, put a check mark on a piece of paper.
• If you have fewer than four checkmarks, take a 3-5 minute break then return to step two; otherwise go on to step six. I deviate slightly from this timeframe because I found that four sessions are too many for me. I take three minutes or so after each pomorodo, but only do three sessions, then get up and take about a twenty minute break.
• After the break, reset your checkmark counter to zero and start over.
I believe the success behind the method is the sense of urgency created by the timer. Instead of feeling like I have “all the time in the world,” I race against the clock to get as many words written as I can. If I’m struggling with a word, I don’t take time to use my thesaurus, I type XX and move on.
In the beginning, working in the short time periods felt awkward, and in the back of my mind I was convinced I wasn’t getting as much work done. Surprisingly, after about a week of using the method, it became more natural, and now I look forward to my Pomorodo session. Not only am I more productive and my daily word count is higher, but the forced breaks ensure I’m not as fatigued at the end of my day.
The Pomorodo Method is a simple technique, but it isn’t easy to eliminate distractions and dedicate a time period to a single task (especially if your a chronic multi-tasker like me), so don’t become discouraged in the early days. With a little practice you’ll be conquering your writing goals one pomorodo at a time.
About Murder in Madison Square Garden:
The dream of a lifetime becomes a nightmare.
Photojournalist Theodora “Teddy” Schafer’s career has hit the skids thanks to rumors of plagiarism. With any luck, a photo spread with Charles Lindbergh at the America First Rally will salvage her reputation. After an attempted assassination of Lindbergh leaves another man dead, Teddy is left holding the gun. Literally. Can she prove her innocence before the police lock her up for a murder she didn’t commit?
Private Investigator Ric Bogart wants nothing to do with women after his wife cleaned out their bank account and left him for another man, but he can’t ignore the feeling he’s supposed to help the scrappy, female reporter who is arrested for murder at the America First rally. Can he believe her claims of innocence and find the real killer without letting Teddy steal his heart?
Purchase Link: https://books2read.com/u/31qK17
Linda Shenton Matchett writes about ordinary people who did extraordinary things in days gone by. A volunteer docent and archivist for the Wright Museum of WWII, Linda is also a trustee for her local public library. She is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and was born a stone’s throw from Fort McHenry. Linda has lived in historic places all her life, and is now located in central New Hampshire where her favorite activities include exploring historic sites and immersing herself in the imaginary worlds created by other authors.
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