Have You Tried Writing in Bursts?

If writing on a schedule doesn’t work, try this approach instead

Diona L. Reeves
4 min readSep 25

Photo by Thom Milkovic on Unsplash

“You will be amazed at what you can achieve in a focused twenty-five minute burst.”

This quote from Sarah R. Painter in Stop Worrying; Start Selling could be the mantra for anyone who struggles with the linear approach to writing.

Like fireworks, our thoughts often come in bursts, kicking off one after the other as they light up our brains with electricity.

Some people call this freewriting, but I prefer the burst visual because it represents the chaotic splendor of a creative brain.

Writing in bursts doesn’t negate the need to polish, edit, and publish. You still have to show up and finish what you start. (A fact I remind myself of daily.)

But trying to corral your creativity into a single moment dictated by your calendar or your clock is a recipe for procrastination. Worse, the writing can come across as forced or trite.

Why not run with your creative jags instead?

1 — There’s less struggle to find a starting point.

I can’t think of a better way to eliminate the “What do I write about now?” dilemma. When you write in bursts, you open the floodgates to your creative self.

Compare this to the process of starting with a blank page.

Using burst writing, you capture the stream of thoughts exploding in your mind. It doesn’t matter if what you write is half-baked or fully formed. You can pick up it any point, as long as you have a system to capture it all.

2 — It pinpoints your natural rhythms.

Allowing your creativity to flow teaches you a lot about your rhythms and preferences.

Perhaps you’re an early bird like me. Or maybe the nightlife suits you. Either way, when you step back and note the time of day (or week or month) you are most prolific, you can earmark it for burst writing.

Like a runner who does interval training to build speed and stamina, you can rev up or throttle your efforts to match your energy levels (physical, mental, and emotional).

Diona L. Reeves

Author of The Prescott Diaries. Writes articles on productivity, the writing process, and this thing called life.