He Wrote 40 Books Using This Simple 15 Minute Technique – Find Out How

Blank paper waiting for idea with mans hand and pen

Blank paper waiting for idea with mans hand and pen

typewriter necklace




Are you feeling overwhelmed when you write? Do you feel like you’re never going to finish? This is just one of the many emotional rollercoasters that we writers go through every day. I know I can start a big project, work on it all day, and still feel frustrated. That’s because we really haven’t achieved any sense of accomplishment. Our book is still  months away from completion! That’s why I want to tell you about a 15 minute technique that Anthony Trollope used to write over 47 novels in 38 years! That doesn’t even include the 18 works of non-fiction and 12 short stories.

I came across this strategy from James Clear, who I’ve been following quite a bit. He provides a quote about Trollope’s technique in Mason Currey’s book Daily Rituals:

“It had at this time become my custom,—and is still my custom, though of late I have become a little lenient of myself—to write with my watch before me, and to require of myself 250 words every quarter of an hour…

This division of time allowed me to produce over ten pages of an ordinary novel volume a day, and if kept up through ten months, would have given as its results three novels of three volumes each in the year…”
—Anthony Trollope

This 15 minute technique is very powerful if you give it a chance. Here are some tips and comments you can use to help you write more:

  1. The 15 minute technique is designed to provide small measures of success. Every time you finish the 15 minutes, you’ll look back and see what you’ve accomplished. Getting this constant feedback will snowball into more motivation to continue.
  2. I usually combine this with the Pomodoro technique. Basically, you can write for 15 minutes, and take a 2 minute break. At first, it was difficult to do this because I usually like getting into the ‘flow’ when I write. I may struggle for an hour with nothing written down on paper. When I get into the flow, I can write for hours without any thought about time. Using the 15 minute technique can sabotage that because of the breaks. You can google ‘Pomodoro technique’ and find quite a few apps you can put on your computer to remind you of the time.
  3. New psychology research continues to show that these small accomplishments provide us with the motivation we need. We all heard the saying “How do you eat an elephant? One piece at a time”. That’s generally what this technique is about. Breaking your large piece of work into pieces.

Who can use the 15 minute technique:

There are certain people that will do well with this, while others won’t. It also depends on which stage of writing you are in. If I’m in a creative mindset with the goal of just putting things to paper, I won’t use this technique. I’ll work more on getting into the ‘flow’ or ‘zone’ so that I can let my thoughts spill out on paper. If I’ve already done my research and outline, then this technique is an excellent way to stay on track with the ‘grunt work’ part of writing.

This technique is excellent for those that feel overwhelmed. You try to write every day but feel like you’re no closer to finishing your masterpiece. By breaking it up into 15 minutes, you’ll begin to see the small successes you’re having. I always like to take a 2 minute break where I reflect back on what I’ve done. What did I accomplish? How many words? Is the story going the way I want it to? At first, asking these questions can be a struggle. You’ll doubt yourself. You’ll think you haven’t done much. After a few weeks, something amazing happens. You get better at reflecting on the last 15 minutes and coming up with a solid strategy for the next 15 minutes. You’ll start being more focused with your writing. You’ll correct course faster.

Try this technique and see if its’ something that really resonates with you. Like I said, give it time. It may just be the missing ingredient you’re looking for in being more productive in writing your books. What do you have to lose? You only have 47 more pieces of work to finish!



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