NaPiBoWriWee 2011 Day Four – Bedtime Blog!

Oreo and his minions (aka L-R Charlotte & Beethoven) are already exhausted from NaPiBoWriWee Day 4!

Good evening, my lovely NaPiBoWriWee writers! Yes. Day Four is almost OVER. Relax. You are halfway there. Day Four is really tough because some people just give up. Others start to question their sanity. Some folks wonder if National Picture Book Writing Week where we attempt to write 7 books in 7 days is really such a good idea. And the rest of you now HATE me. You have printed out my picture and are throwing rotten tomatoes at it, crying out, “Why did you encourage me to write 7 picture books in 7 days? I’ve had two hours of sleep, the kids are crying, and I fell asleep at work today!”

LOL! 🙂 Just kidding. I’m hoping everyone had a productive and FUN day with Book No. 4. And for those of you who are falling behind – DON’T DESPAIR! We are here to cheer you on! You can do it! Remember, it’s not about the end goal, it’s about the JOURNEY. 🙂

So tonight’s Bedtime Blog is on the short side because I know everyone’s exhausted. How can you make it through Days 5, 6, and 7? How about trying this? THE POMODORO TECHNIQUE.

(What’s the Pomodoro Technique? Keep reading after the jump to find out more…)

The Pomodoro Technique is a famous work-related time management technique in which you force yourself to work in 25-minute spurts with NO outside world interruption. You can focus on ONE thing in those 25 minutes, be it “I’m going to clean the bathroom in 25 minutes” or “I’m going to jog for 25 minutes” or “I’m going to write at least 250 words in 25 minutes for NaPiBoWriWee.”

All you need is a timer and a focused plan. Pick 25 minutes out your busy work or family day where you can write undisturbed for 25 minutes. Give yourself a specific writing goal, like “I will write the opening paragraph for my picture book” or “I’m going to figure out the main plot points for this book” etc. And then just go for it. Don’t do anything else, don’t let your mind water, just FOCUS for 25 minutes.

For more info on the Pomodoro Technique, go here:

From their website: “What is the Pomodoro Technique? The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method created by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980’s. It can be used for any kind of task and enables you to view time as a valuable ally in accomplishing what you want to do. The technique uses a timer to break down periods of work into 25-minute intervals (referred to as “pomodoros”) separated by breaks and is based on the idea that frequent breaks can improve mental agility.”

“There are five basic steps to implementing the technique:

• decide on the task to be done

• set the pomodoro (timer) to 25 minutes

• work on the task until the timer rings; record the task status

• take a short break (5 minutes)

• every four “pomodoros” take a longer break (15-20 minutes)”

So if you have time to do four “pomodoros,” go for it, and figure out four focused writing assignments you want to accomplish during that time. Or you can do what I do during my busy work day – I’ll think to myself, “As long as I have 25 minutes, I’ll have enough time to write SOMETHING.” That really takes the pressure off when I am especially swamped with work or other house errands. It keeps me from getting resentful about not having enough time to write. Because you ALWAYS have at least 25 minutes of free time each day for yourself. (And if you don’t, I will be very worried!)

I use this cool fun app that promotes the Pomodoro Technique. It’s helpful when I have a break at work for lunch or whatever and I want to write. I turn on the Focus Booster App and for 25 minutes, I just write. It’s been really helpful when I feel frustrated that I don’t have enough time to write.

Here’s the website:

Here's what the Focus Boost App looks like.


Here are two pics of what it looks like on my computer screen. (Note: Yes, I have a goofy photo spread of my three cats on my computer screen – it’s of Beethoven & Charlotte coming home after getting fixed/neutered and Oreo looking confused. The Focus Booster is the black bar on the top left corner of the screen.)

Official Focus Booster App image








So for those of you looking for new ways to manage your time during NaPiBoWriWee, try this Pomodoro Technique!


Sweet dreams, everyone! For this blog’s comments, I’m curious how you manage your time. How do you balance work/job and family/home duties with writing? How do you squeeze in the time to write?

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s GOOD MORNING blog where I discuss another writing craft issue, and another Guest Author blog at noon PST and of course tomorrow night’s Bedtime Blog. Tomorrow May 5th will feature Guest Author HOPE VESTERGAARD!




  1. Ah! Not very well! So I appreciate this post! I have two toddlers, one of whom is always up before my eyes open. If they’d sleep in JUST a little… 🙂 My current life situation makes “undisturbed” a rarity but perhaps I’ll have a family meeting and convince the little tikes to do it for the love of their mommy. Or maybe I’ll just put on a Veggie Tales movie. 🙂 Anyway, I’m inspired to make it happen! Thanks! @MarcyPusey

  2. Oh! I like that idea. I even like to say it “Pomodoro, Pomodoro, Pomodoro!” I did my day four NaPiBoWriWee story in ONE Pomodoro! Cooool.

    I don’t balance anything very well. I just spend all day answering a million questions, responding to dangerous situations, ensuring everyone is fed and throwing the dog scraps from the floor. Then after I have spent 20 minutes patting my youngest to sleep, I can write! (Note that I say CAN, but often I DON’T, which is why I love NaPiBoWriWee!)

  3. Not a massively productive day today, but that segue ways right into your question about balancing work/home/etc. with writing. For me, it’s all about long term planning. For me, that means scheduling my week tightly and sticking to it.

    Like today– actual 9-5 hours with church choir at 7-9 pm, but my sister had to be at work at 7. So I took her, drove to work, and took over a table at the Starbucks next door. I knew I wasn’t likely to get any time during the day. I also think about it in terms of decision making. Work during lunch means I can ignore coworkers I don’t associate with and the ones I do will understand when I slap them upside the head for disturbing me. Most of them don’t care about my writing anyway– the omnipresent apathy of retail. But instead of working before choir, I socialize, because I know the people who I attend church with are good for my morale and love to hear me talk about my writing and encourage me. That decision propels me into joyful singing and building great energy and optimism to hit the writing again tonight instead of coming home and crashing. And all this was decided and plotted out back on Sunday. Sundays are big take a bit of downtime and sort myself out days- several hours at church and quiet afternoons are useful that way!

    So today’s productivity means I got close enough to finishing picture book 2’s draft that it looks like it just might be achievable tonight. I’ll be sure to let you know in the morning!

  4. Well, I didn’t get more than a few ideas jotted down yesterday for a story, and Day 4 wasn’t much better, in that I didn’t get a draft done, but you know what? In the course of doing some research I DID find a cool old fairy tale that I want to take a stab at retelling. So at the very least there’s a story idea that I’m excited about working on! The first two stories I wrote this week feel like throwaways in comparison…they were “complete” drafts (albeit sucky ones), but I feel sort of “meh” about them. I’m far more excited about the idea I stumbled on today, even though it’s only in outline form. Which is kind of what I’m hoping for at the end of all of this — having something I’ll be excited to work on for the rest of the year!

    Maybe I’ll manage to finish a draft tomorrow. Here’s hoping…tomorrow IS another day, after all.

  5. Oh, and Paula? That wallpaper on your computer screen? Best photo EVAR. The expressions on the cats’ faces are priceless!

  6. Hi, Paula.
    I’m enjoying this week so much!Thanks for organizing this.
    On the subject of productivity–as the home schooling mother of five for 20 years (yikes!)– interruptions to my creative process have been underfoot forever! I’ve learned to a) recognize when I’m likely to have energy for writing and schedule that; b)value small blocks of time, but log them in to keep on track; c)lower my expectations for quality–give myself permission to play, which seems to help creativity.
    Thanks again for this fun week!

  7. Gotta love those cats!
    Thanks for some more good advice, Paula. This technique is simple and full of (oft forgotten)common sense.

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