Set Timer to Fifteen Minutes

This is what I say to my Apple Watch when I come here to write each morning. I say this as though it’s now a long-established habit. But it’s just Day 4 (I started writing on Monday of this week).

And today I come with the classic “I don’t know what to write about”. So I’m just going. I’m inspired by author and teacher Seth Godin who has long praised the virtues of blogging. While I may not have a great prompt to spring from today, I know that if I keep blogging, I will be more likely to have something to say tomorrow. In an interview on the Unmistakable Creative Podcast, Godin declares:

“If you know you have to write a blog post tomorrow, something in writing, something that will be around 6 months from now, about something in the world, you will start looking for something in the world to to write about. You will seek to notice something interesting and to say something creative about it. Well, isn’t that all we’re looking for? The best practice of generously sharing what you notice about the world is exactly the antidote for your fear.”

So, today, I come faithfully to write, and to be more faithful to my timer. I have about 5 minutes left. Sometimes I know I will have much more than 15 minutes’ worth of writing in me, and on those days, I will let it flow. 15 minutes is just a mind trick, to get me writing in the first place. 15 minutes is sort of a prompt in itself.

I am a writer, therefore I write. Writer and artist Austin Kleon talks about “doing the verb”. In his book, Keep Going, he writes, “Lots of people want to be the noun without doing the verb. They want the job title without the work”. This seems to be antithetical to my declaration at the beginning of this paragraph. But the key is in the second phrase, “therefore I write”. This is me doing the verb “to write”, so that I can be the noun, “a writer”.

Hey, look at me now. 40 seconds still left on the timer, and I’m done.

p.s. Whoever is hitting “Applaud” the maximum of 50 times every time I post, thank you. I want to tell you to show yourself, but then I fear you might stop the cheerleading. Let’s just say I don’t know who you are, but I know what you’re doing — and it’s working.



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Tom Froese

Tom Froese


Illustrator. Creatively Empowering Teacher/Speaker. Represented by Making Pictures/UK & Dot Array/USA. Top Teacher on @skillshare.