Don’t Fear the Timer

Fifteen minutes.

That’s all the time I’m allowing myself to write this blog. Aaaand, my OCD just kicked in. There will be no note consultations, no pre-arranged outlines, no bullet points, no thesaurus checks. Just me, a keyboard, and a kitchen timer. Why am I doing this? Because I spent a lot of time this week coming up with an interesting blog topic, researching the subject, taking notes, and making a general outline of what I wanted to say – the problem is…I can’t say it. It’s as if my brain is so excited over the prospect of writing that it’s tripping over itself to get its thoughts out. “My” thoughts out. I used to be able to knock out essay after essay in high school with ease and enjoyment. What happened? Have my writing muscles atrophied? Is there so much information in my head that when I ask it to form a queue chaos and panic breaks loose?

Ten minutes. Oh boy.


Maybe comics have put some sort of a strong hold on my writing abilities. I’m not used to paragraphs – I’m used to panels. I’m at home with dialogue and brief scene settings. The thought of writing something as arduous as an autobiography puts fear into my heart. How do people write those? Where do you even begin? I tell myself that I excel under pressure, but when it comes to writing this notion of myself often goes out the window. I’m always under the impression that I’ll never get the words out in the exact way I want them, or that someone else has done it better (and faster). Therefore, more often than not, I give up before I’ve started. Is this what all writers suffer? If so, why do it?

Three minutes.

Heart racing. Must say something clever, entertaining. This brings to mind a quote that came across that eases my perfectionist nature. It goes something like “If you wait until the perfect time to do something, it’ll never get done.” Amen. I’d look up the reference, but the timer just went off.


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13 Responses to “Don’t Fear the Timer”

    • Michael Yakutis

      Ahahaha! That’s so perfect.

      I work best with deadlines. If I don’t have them, it makes it very hard to prioritize and make a realistic schedule. When doing freelance work, one of the most annoying things a client can tell me is that there is now set deadline, but get it done asap. Wellllll…wft do you want then?? Give me something to work with here or else your project will never get done.

      But that’s for art. Writing is another ballpark entirely….

      • Joe Edens

        I’m exactly the same way. No deadline then it’ll never EVER get done.

        Haha, also I’m so used to keeping track of my creative time at work than when I sit down to do RF I almost think about setting the timer on.

  1. DaemonDan

    I was going to make a more sincere comment, but this new captcha is too awesome and I forgot it 🙂

    Marisa this sounds too stressful. Glad I don’t have deadlines like that normally.

    • Marisa Brenizer

      I don’t either, actually – I just thought I’d give myself a challenge to hopefully give my writing muscles a workout. I mean, I tend to give myself deadlines just to maintain organization, but I don’t usually keep them. I procrastinate a lot when it comes to writing for some reason.

  2. hipopotamo

    This is one of my shortcomings as a comic creator. I don’t do well under deadlines.
    Actually, my artist is the one with the problem: I push her to have the page in time.
    As for me, I wrote everything weeks ago. God, I wrote everything YEARS ago.
    That is how I work. I write when I have the time, when I have the inspiration, I write for half an hour or pull an all-nighter. I write and when I’m happy, I then publish the results.
    For my comic I have written the whole story. I do corrections for every chapter the weekend before we actually start drawing that page, and I do mid of the week corrections for the current page, usually in a one-hour conversation with Danie. Over the chat.
    Probably I should learn to use deadlines in my favor…

    • Marisa Brenizer

      Wow, I though I edited myself a lot! That’s a lot of correction time…then again, I am lucky enough to live with my illustrator, as well as share one brain with him.

  3. melaredblu

    Ah…deadlines are a killer for me. I approach everything way overly-prepared. I’m talking a couple months-worth of buffer, pre-made extras for Facebook, and backup photos and drawings archived for DeviantArt in case I get a particularly nasty stretch of lack-of-inspirationitus that lasts longer than a month. Trying to do something like this blog would kill me.

  4. Marisa Brenizer

    I should clarify – this exercise was not so much about giving myself a deadline, but about facing the fear of taking less than, say, an hour or two to compose a blog entry without outlining it beforehand, proofreading it to death, rearranging sentences and points, etc. and publishing it without a second’s thought.

    Although I didn’t delve into anything major or earth-shattering, this little test actually seems to have worked – I was able to do some fluid writing yesterday without wanting to pull out all of my hair. I urge you all to try it if you find yourself in the middle of that dark, horrid, arid place known as Writer’s Block.

    (You know what’s funny? It took me three times as long to find a decent image to correspond with the post than it did to actually write it. Man, that perfectionist nature butts in anywhere it can, doesn’t it?)

  5. mcmasters

    “Must say something clever, entertaining”

    That’s how I feel when I enter every new comic and the large empty text box stares at me…saying “say something clever!” And I think, damn, I just added a comic, now I have to talk?

    • Marisa Brenizer

      Exactly! You come up with jokes or gags for the comic, you come up with a title, and then there’s the witty author comments. I used to forego commenting on pages, but realized that that wasn’t doing my or my readers any favors. But man…sometimes you’re just so burnt out by the time you reach that point! D:


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