Pomodoro Technique and Writing Music / Lyrics

16 Sep

Damn, it’s already September. During the summer I’ve been busy, I’ve been idle, I’ve been thinking, I’ve been holidaying/vacationing, I’ve been writing, all the stuff I usually do in the summertime.

Eternal Tears of Sorrow is not having its winter sleep. We’re busy finishing our album. Due to some things (that are not under our control), the release of the new single and the music video have been delayed. Well, we don’t mind, we just keep doing what we can do: finishing the album. I also have another musical projects of which I’ve mentioned before. One is a long-time project that is finally about to finish something concrete. But I’ll write about it when the right time comes.

What I’ll write about today is the Pomodoro technique i.e. the tomato technique. This is what Wikipedia says about the technique:

The Pomodoro technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The technique uses a timer to break down periods of work into 25-minute intervals called ‘Pomodoros’ (from the Italian word for ‘tomato’) separated by breaks. Closely related to concepts such as timeboxing and iterative and incremental development used in software design, the method has been adopted in pair programming contexts. The method 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 with an x
  • take a short break (3-5 minutes)
  • every four “pomodoros” take a longer break (15–30 minutes)

So, this is originally an IT technique, a software design technique. But, in a way, designing and implementing software is similar to writing lyrics: you want to create something, you need some time to do it and you will have to split the task into smaller tasks.

I’ve used this technique this week, with some changes. And it works.

My first attempt was 5/5. Five minutes of writing, five minutes of rest. My idea was “I’ll take these four lines and try to improve them in five minutes”. And a five-minute break after the intense writing minutes. If I couldn’t improve the lines in one Pomodoro session, in five minutes, I’d use another small Pomodoro session.

The 5/5 Pomodoro technique was good one evening. I was tired that evening and I only could concentrate for five minutes at a time. On Saturday, I had to use a longer time scale. I had slept for 11 hours and I felt like a new man. Then, 15/5 was better. I didn’t even try 25/5 (maybe one day). Fifteen minutes of intense writing, five minutes of rest. After three sessions, a longer break.

What’s good about this technique? Well, it makes you write (or at least to try to improve) your lyrics even if you don’t feel like writing, even if you don’t have the inspiration. It also makes writing a bit easier because you concentrate on one small thing at a time. Instead of thinking “oh, how I am supposed to write lyrics for a whole song, that’s such an enormous task” you think “ok, one thing at a time, perhaps I should try writing the chorus first?”

Just try it. It won’t kill you. It won’t make you insane. But also, it’s not a miracle tool. It’s just a way to organize your time and your tasks.

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Posted by on 16.9.2012 in In English, Music


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