Structure and Creativity: Timed Writing

Write Like a Child: Joyful, In Action

Write Like a Child: Joyful and In Action

As a writer, I’ve often shunned creativity prompts. Why do I need them? I am so creative; I can sit down and just write.

Ah! But it wasn’t always this way. For the longest time, I couldn’t write toward an end, a completion point. I couldn’t finish writing a book; I could barely write the start of one. I wasn’t always able to move forward hardly at all.

It took me many years to develop the raw discipline I needed to stay the course. Perhaps turning 30 had something to do with it. 🙂

Now, 12 plus years later, I can just sit down and write AND I always have some kind of focus now.

How do I do it?!

Timed Writing.

My favorite tool for writers ever.

Ready to take timed writing out for a spin?


Here we go.

Choose a topic. Anything you want. Yep!

Get your notebook and pen ready, or open up a fresh word document.

Timed Writing
Set your timer for 20 minutes and write!

Remember, in your timed writing NO EDITNG! Tell your inner critic, “Please go to lunch, or to the library, or go shopping.  You can come back later.” Just start writing.

To paraphrase one of my favorite writing mentors, Anne Lamott, “You have my permission to write a sh&*^tty first draft.”

Ring! Pencils up! Stop!

How was that?

One of my clients recently told me that doing the 20 minute timed writing changed his life! Basically, he said he said he was surprised how much could get done in 20 minutes. And he was already a very accomplished guy! He said he got a sense of accomplishment from writing a complete blog post just writing from what he knew instead of thinking he had to do research — well, he was as pleased as punch!

What can you accomplish in 20 minute timed writing? I dare you!

See you on the other side!

Tell me how good you feel… 🙂

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  • carrie says:

    Great idea, Beth. I’ve tried this before and it really helped free my mind and not worry about editing or being perfect. I tried it more recently at a writing conference where we had
    to just write about what we saw out the window, and it led to all kinds of ideas I didn’t
    realize I had! Thanks…

  • Beth Barany says:

    Hi Carrie, Glad you liked the tool! It’s a great way to discover all kinds of ideas one doesn’t realize one has…

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