Last week I finished one of the books I was reading to research my novel, and so far I haven't picked anything else up yet. I've had a couple of freelance deadlines the last few days, so that's taking precedence. I might, however, do a little online research today, if I can carve out 30 minutes or so.
I read an interesting blog post last week about how to write 2,000 words a day. You could substitute any number of words you want — the point of the blog post is that it's more manageable if you set aside several 30-minute time blocks, instead of trying to carve out 2 consecutive hours. It makes sense.
I like the idea of setting aside 30 minutes at a time to work on my novel — or to work on anything, really. I think it would help me stay focused if I decide that for the next 30 minutes I'm going to work straight through, and then I'll take a break. I tried some years ago to use a little kitchen timer to do this, but I found that it didn't work as well to have the timer on my desk. So a couple of days ago, I started looking for a timer app for my computer.
Unfortunately, Windows computers don't seem to have as many software options, though I'm sure there is probably exactly the app I need for a Mac. I did find this online timer, which so far is working pretty well. I can set the timer, switch my windows, and it'll make a gong-like sound when it finishes its countdown.
What I really want, however, is software that will put a small timer, perhaps the size of iTunes's mini player, always on top of all my other windows. That way I can see how much time is remaining without having to switch windows. I think it would really help me to stay focused if I can tell myself, "Just 10 more minutes, and then I can check email/get a drink/take a break."
Does anyone know of a software tool like that for Windows-based computers? I have Firefox, but so far I haven't seen that any of their add-ons will do what I want (though they do have a lovely add-on called LeechBlock to block or limit your use of websites that distract you while you are working). I'd love to hear about any software apps or add-ons you've tried, and how well they worked!