My Favourite Pomodoro Technique Videos

My word for the year in my writing life for 2022 is focus. 2020 and 2021 were definitely years that I struggled to focus.

Struggled so much.

And I don’t think I was the only person struggling.

Focus has always been difficult for me as an autistic but the last few years haven’t done much to help.

In an effort to manage better, i’ve begun using the Pomodoro technique once again. It’s helped me in the past. This time though, I’m using YouTube videos instead of just using a timer.

The Pomodoro Technique is essentially where you work for a certain period of time then take a break for a bit. And repeat. I usually go for 15-30 minutes then take a 5 minute break.

More about the PT here: https://francescocirillo.com/pages/pomodoro-technique

The ones I’ve been using are technically ‘study with me’ videos. But they work great for writing as well. I’ve also been trying to make sure I get up and stretch during the break time. I’m terrible at sitting for long periods without moving around.

My favourite channel for videos is: https://www.youtube.com/c/TheSherryFormula

This is the video in particular I’ve been using this past week for writing:

2021 in Review

In 2020, I decided my word for my writing in 2021 would be have fun.

2019 and 2020 were such rough years that I hoped to try to have fun with my writing.

And for the most of the  year, my brain went:

It wasn’t until I started moving into planning my NaNoWriMo novel that I finally began to enjoy myself.

In any case, I thought it might be fun to do a review of what I’d hoped to accomplish this year.

What did I hope to write/accomplish in 2021?

  • Motts book 3 and 4
  • Podcast book 3 and maybe 4
  • Start book one of a super secret project

What have I managed by December 2021?

  • Podcast 3.
  • Motts 3.
  • And I should finish wrapping up Motts 4 by the end of the year. (I’m writing this in advance lol.)

Over all? Given we are still in a global pandemic (and how badly I did in 2020)?

I’m pleased I did far better than I imagined.

How about 2022? What do I hope to achieve next year?

  • Motts book 5
  • Book 1 in a new series
  • *insert super secret project*

How about you? How did you manage in 2022? And what are you hoping to do next year?

What is failure?

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I don’t know is the short answer.

2019 was a year from hell, personally. Hospital visits. A husband diagnosed with heart failure. A death in the family. A car accident where my aforementioned husband almost drove off a mountain (only being mildly hyperbolic.)

If it could go wrong, it went wrong in 2019.

And I remember thinking fuck, 2020 has to be better, right?

I set goals. Intentions. A word for the year. I was so hopeful about 2020.

Or maybe, cautiously optimistic.

And to borrow a quote from George RR Martin…”ah, sweet summer child.” How wrong I was.

2020 hit like a wrecking ball and hasn’t slowed down since.

Initially, I found myself feeling like a failure because every time I set a deadline or goal, I had to move the finish line. It’s been three years in a row of taking longer to write novels that I did in 2017 or 2018.

It feels a lot like failure but it isn’t.

The thing is that finishing any creative project in difficult times takes strength and resilience.

So what if I didn’t cross the line I set for myself within the time frame that I thought I would?

I still finished.

Maybe it takes months longer than expected but finishing a project is success.

Not failure.

And seriously, if you’ve managed to complete any sort of creative project during the trashfire of the last few years?

You should consider it a massive success.

4 Things I Love about Motts’s Cottage

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One of the main characters in my Motts Cold Case Mystery Series has to be the cottage. I know it’s not a person but it has a personality all its own. Here are just a few reasons I love it.

The Garden

Vegetables, fruit, herbs. Cactus adores running around the garden. It very much is a safe haven for Motts.

The Fireplace

Motts spends a lot of time in front of her fire. She tends to run cold outside of hot flashes, so keeping warm is important. And also, Cactus is very sensitive to the cold.

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The Bathroom

Despite being a little cottage bathroom, Motts loves her tub. Cactus, however, is highly suspicious of water.

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Do the Job

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Do The Job.

It’s a phrase written on the dry erase board over my bookshelf. A small reminder to myself. Do. The. Job.

I don’t remember where I saw it, initially. I think a friend shared something on Instagram. I don’t remember. It stuck in my head, though. And I scribbled it on the board over a year ago.

Do the job.

The job in question?

Writing.

I love to write. It’s what ‘brings me joy.’ My head becomes way too cluttered when I don’t. Some days I’m working on a novel, others I’m writing simply for my own entertainment.

Stories I’ll never share with the world.

My hobby?

Writing.

My way to relax?

Writing.

My job?

Writing.

And therein lies the problem.

When one of your hobbies or ways to relax becomes ‘the job,’ it adds a lay of stress to your joy. It adds a deadline. Responsibilities. I don’t just want to write–I have to.

It’s often a struggle. One of the reasons I wrote the phrase on my board was a reminder. If it’s what I do, I need to do it.

Take a break when required.

Step back when needed.

But eventually, I have to do the job and write.

Writing Advice Revisited

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In 2016, I wrote a post about writing advice that boiled down to simply sitting in a chair and writing. Still true. But I can think of a few more things I’ve learned in the last five years so I thought I’d revisit the post.

First, Do Not Respond To Reviews. And especially don’t respond to bad reviews. Don’t call the readers out. Stay off Goodreads if it’s bad for your mental health. Nothing good ever comes from responding to a negative review.

So, just don’t. Don’t track the reviewers down either. It’s unhealthy, at the very least.

Second, take all advice on writing with a grain of salt because what works for one author might not work for you.

Third, toxic productivity is a thing. Don’t get sucked into the idea you have to write/publish at a particular pace. It will only lead to burn out.

Fourth, read your contracts carefully.

Fifth, find people who want to support you with no strings attached. It’s brilliant when you have a healthy connection to other authors or people in the writing community. Just be careful about expectations.

Sixth, there are many paths to publishing. Find one that works for you.

Seventh, a good editor is worth their weight in gold.

Eighth, not every story is yours to tell.

Ninth, don’t steal images from photographers. Seriously. Don’t. If plagiarism in books bothers you, stealing from photographers should as well.

Tenth, or maybe 9.5, learn what you can about copyrights. It can help you avoid a lot of scary legal trouble.