If you’re having trouble being productive with your writing, then this simple yet effective tip might just be for you. I’m going to show you how to increase your writing productivity.
Anthony Trollope’s writing routine saved me from staring at a blank page all day long.
In his autobiography, Anthony Trollope discussed the following routine, which will increase your writing productivity:
“It had at this time become my custom–and it still is my custom, though of late I have become a little lenient to myself–to write with my watch before me, and to require from myself 250 words every quarter of an hour. I have found that the 250 words have been forthcoming as regularly as my watch went.”
It’s not magic. But the best writing and productivity tips rarely are.
The reason I believe this writing productivity hack (if you like) works so well is because it refocuses you.
The cause of much writer’s block is perfectionism.
There’s too much pressure when you come to the page. The reason why the cursor keeps blinking and the clock keeps ticking and you have yet to produce anything except a semi-colon is because you think your words must come out fully formed and perfect.
But Anthony Trollope’s writing routine forces you to focus on the actual act of racking up words.
Anthony Trollope used to wake up at 5:30 am every morning. He’d sit down at his desk and put his watch in front of him. Then he would diligently produce 250 words every 15 minutes. After 3 hours, he had 3,000 words and he was ready to go off to work as a postman (and do cool stuff like designing those red post boxes in Britain).
The secret to writing productivity is just getting the words down.
At least that’s true in the first draft.
You have the second draft to refine it and the third draft to make it shine.
But for your first draft, just write. Write like clockwork and hit your daily word count.
It doesn’t matter if what you get down is complete rubbish. That’s 3,000 words of rubbish you wouldn’t have otherwise had. And all 3,000 words are unlikely to be bad.
Even if you only manage to produce 100 words of quality, usable material, isn’t that better than staring at a screen? Or clumps of your own hair? Or a fist through a laptop?
The chances are that you will produce something good.
When you start writing fast with focus you enter a state of flow.
The story, characters, and words will sweep you away. You will build positive momentum.
Positive momentum is key to writing productivity.
How else did Anthony Trollope manage to produce over 40 novels? That’s not including his non-fiction stuff, short stories, essays, plays, letters, and bathroom graffiti.
Anthony Trollope’s writing productivity was so acute, in fact, that if he finished a novel and still had time ticking on his watch, he would write ‘The End’, grab a new sheet of paper, and start his next novel.
In short, the writing productivity tip goes as follows:
- Set your word count goal
- Start the clock
- Start writing: 250 words every 15 minutes
- Don’t whine, don’t stop, just hit your quota
- Smile like a madman as your story comes to life
I really love this tip. It’s deceptively simple. You just have to follow it like a lemming, right over the cliff, where a massive cushion of words will break your fall.
Imagine if you set aside an hour each day. In that hour, you wrote 250 words every 15 minutes. You produced 1,000 words a day. If you do that for 300 days a year, you’ll have 300,000 words. Most novels are around 80,000 words. So you’ll have three big novels a year.
There you have it. The key to writing productivity taken from Anthony Trollope’s writing routine.
Tell me about your writing routine. What works for you? What doesn’t work? How do you increase your writing productivity? And have you read anything by Anthony Trollope?