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Tip Tuesday #33

Today I have a tip from Carmela Martino.  Carmela blogs at Teaching Authors and her website.  If you have the time, please click over to both and check them out.  Here's her tip!

I picked this up from reading Natalie Goldberg’s WRITING DOWN THE BONES: timed writing sessions. I use these sessions to come up with new ideas or find a way to revise a scene when I’m stuck. Before starting, I set a timer for 10, 15, or 20 minutes and then try to keep my hand moving the whole time without stopping. I find that the pressure of the timer helps to turn off the inner critic. As Goldberg says, “the aim is to burn through to first thoughts, to the place where energy is unobstructed by social politeness or the internal censor, to the place where you are writing what your mind actually sees and feels, not what it THINKS it should see or feel.” I have a specific example of how I use the timer in my writing classes in a “Writing Workout” I posted on our blog. You can read the post here:

What an amazing quote!  Boy, do I need to burn past my internal censor.  I've seen quite a few writers using timed writing sessions lately.  I plan to give them a try.  Thanks, Carmela!


  1. What an interesting concept.

    I'll have to click through and read your links, thanks for sharing Casey!

  2. Great idea! I suspect this would also work for helping to find (or relocate) an authentic voice.

  3. I remember doing those in my Creative Writing college classes. They were fun and helpful. ;-)

  4. That's a great suggestion. When I get stuck, I tend to read more blogs instead of tackling the problem. I'll try your approach next time.

  5. Time writing sessions are an amazing secret so few people use. I love them!

  6. Sounds like excellent advice and I'm going to try doing it daily. I tend to do EXACTLY what Natalie does when I'm at a loss - start reading more blogs!

    THANKS GUYS for the tip!

  7. This has worked really well for me. It's amazing what I write when I have no idea where I'm going!

  8. This has worked really well for me. It's amazing what I write when I have no idea where I'm going!

  9. I'm glad to see so many writers interested in giving this technique a try. If you're new to timed writing exercises, I'd love to know how they work for you.
    Thanks for featuring my tip, Casey!

  10. Someone recently told me to write the first ten minutes or so when you get up...your inner editor isn't awake. :)

  11. Eek! I don't think I could do that. I'd get brain freeze. :)

  12. It's almost like stream of consciousness.