discover your created self

Crazy Idea No. 12: Use a Timer


Yes, that is an egg-shaped timer sitting on my journal. I’ve never used it to time eggs. Instead, it comes in handy when I need a little motivation. I use it to hatch ideas. Those crazy ideas that need the artificial urgency of a time constraint to keep them from dawdling around in my head.

When I need to rustle my thoughts, I use a method called the “quick write.” I learned this technique from Lynn D. Morrissey in the Journal to the Self workshop that she offered locally a few years back. Lynn is a dear friend and journal keeper extraordinaire. I linked her name to her superb book about using your journal to write prayers to God, as a devotional expression. I highly recommend her book, as Lynn weaves vulnerable personal narrative into practical glimpses of her journal keeping practice. The second link is to the book from which the workshop was developed by Kathleen Adams. (If you’re interested in keeping a journal for self-development, here’s a link from Kathleen’s website with tips to get started.)

So back to the technique, set your timer for five minutes, and then just start writing whatever comes to mind. It does help to have a topic or a prompt to get you started. One of my favorite prompts to get the words flowing, which I learned from Lisa Sonora, is to start with the phrase:

Right now…

So go set your timer for five minutes, and respond to the prompt, Right now . . .

Then read what you wrote down. Did anything surface that surprised you? How did writing for five minutes feel? Would you consider adding this practice to your regular routine? Why or why not?

These crazy ideas of mine! I hope you’re having fun with them.

What are some other ways you use a timer?


There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens . . .

(Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV)

4 responses to “Crazy Idea No. 12: Use a Timer”

  1. Love that timer! I need one of those for workshop fun!

    1. Yes, I wanted an analog timer, so I could hear it tick as it counted down the time and to hear the bell ding when time was up… and it’s shape cracked me up…lol

  2. Kel, it’s always fun to read how you use journaling, and always an honor to see my name. 🙂 And of course you and I both can recommend Kay. I used to balk at her timed writings (ask her! :)), but in the end, they are a wonderful technique to get you off your writing duff, and also to quickly probe what you’re thinking. Admittedly I don’t have an egg timer (well, not in the way you mean it), but any timer will do. And I love to say that if you want more time to write, you can always go back and explore aspects of what you wrote quickly, at length.
    Happy journaling, fast or slow!

  3. Yes, Lynni! You really were the first one to teach me about timed writes, I forgot about that…I appreciate and also echo your encouragement to go back and leisurely review and even write more about a topic as time allows. Thankful for you!

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About Me

Hi! My name is Kel Rohlf. I am an intuitive mixed-media artist, creative writer and performer. Life is a performance. I often attend.


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