Writing Timer 0:00 0  

What's one goal for right now?

in 30 min  


About Writing Timer

Writing Timer helps you set and complete goals, and gives you feedback on how long your goals actually take.

How long does it take you to write a paragraph? What about an entire manuscript? Without knowing how long your writing takes, you can't make accurate estimates for your goals. Use Writing Timer to complete your writing goals while you learn to make better estimates.

To become a better writer, the most important thing is to spend time writing. So why feel bad for writing longer than your estimate? Use it as a chance to learn. With Writing Timer, every minute counts. Write every day, write now!

How To

Set Goals

Type what you want to achieve next. The best goals are SMART (specific, measurable, attractive, reasonable, and time-bound).

Are you suffering from writer’s block? You can still set a goal when you’re feeling stuck. Try, "write 10 relevant sentences in 10 minutes” or perhaps, “free write 150 words in 15 minutes.” Setting goals is just like writing: The more you do it, the better you get.

Complete Goals

Click the clock when you complete your goal. Doesn't it feel good to cross something off? If you realize there’s more to do, just click again to uncheck and click play to keep the timer going.

Interpret Results

The solid bar represents your writing time. If you go over your estimate, you'll see a second bar that shows the extra time the goal required. Even with educated estimates, goals often take twice as long to complete. As you complete goals, look for patterns and make better estimates.

Change Estimate

Click the down chevron to adjust the time for your goal. Writing Timer defaults to 30 minutes because of research about the limits of human concentration. If you want more than 75 minutes to complete a goal, do yourself a favor: Find a way to break up your goal into smaller sub-goals. Smaller goals are easier to achieve, which means you'll be more successful and feel better, too.

Make New Goals

Click the refresh cycle to reset the timer and start a new goal.

Pause and Play

Click pause any time to take a break; click play to resume.

Daily Time and Goals

Totals reset at midnight. Writing Timer stores your data separately for each device and browser combination used (unless you sign in). To aggregate all your work on a given day, always use the same browser on the same device. Write every day!


I created Writing Timer to support my own writing and to help my students with theirs. I am a pre-tenure professor, so writing is a big part of my job and defined my education.

Writing is so important, I always gave it all the time I had. But clearly, that strategy was not sustainable. How would I know if I left enough time for writing given personal commitments and other responsibilities? A timer seemed the obvious solution.

Over several years, I tried lots of timers and writing apps, but often the time pressure and feeling of disappointment when the timer went off was more stressful than helpful. I needed to get goals finished, but it's no surprise timing myself never felt good. Even worse, I sometimes felt bad after writing all day.

I was in a bind. The big thing I didn’t know was how long it actually took to complete my writing goals, so timing my writing still made sense. But I didn’t want failure to complete timed goals to kill my motivation.

The breakthrough came during an excellent professional development program in my first year as an assistant professor: I realized that I was trying to achieve two purposes by writing. On the one hand, I needed to complete goals. On the other hand, I needed to spend more time writing (both to complete my writing goals and to become a better writer).

Writing Timer is my alternative; it separates goal completion from time spent writing. Time spent writing is time well spent, so writing longer than your estimate has a clear upside. At the same time, completing goals is the point and knowing how long that actually takes is invaluable.

I hope Writing Timer helps you, too.

- Erik


Have questions, comments or suggestions? Please get in touch. info@writingtimer.com