March 29, 2021

Anthony Trollope's 15-Minute Writing Routine

English author and playwright Anthony Trollope published 47 novels, 17 books of non-fiction, 2 plays, and more than 20 articles and letters during his lifetime. Here's how.

Anthony Trollope's 15-Minute Writing Routine

Allow me to begin with an apology. Technically, prolific English author and playwright Anthony Trollope wrote longer than fifteen minutes a day. He actually wrote for three hours each day, but he did it fifteen minutes at a time.

James Clear outlines Trollope's process over on his website:

Anthony Trollope didn’t have to wait three months to feel a sense of accomplishment from completing his book nor did he have to wait three days until he finished a chapter. Every fifteen minutes he could check his progress. __If he wrote 250 words, he could mentally check that time block off his list and feel a sense of immediate accomplishment.

Trollope's 15-minute writing block was a well-designed progress meter that allowed Trollope to “get to finished” faster while still working on a big task. He received the long-term value of working on the most important things and the immediate payoff of finishing each little time block quickly.

Breaking down big tasks into smaller chunks is a great way to accomplish them more quickly and with fewer headaches. By working toward 250 words every fifteen minutes for three hours each day, Trollope was able to write and publish 47 novels, 17 books of non-fiction, 2 plays, and more than 20 articles and letters in his lifetime.

So, set a timer and get to work.