250 in 15

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Last week my husband’s workplace had their Christmas party.  This is the first year with this company and I got to meet some of his co-workers and their spouses.  They seemed to get along well which is good since we moved over 1,200 miles for him to work there.  After dinner the owner stood up to give a little speech.  It started out as the normal polite “state of the company” type thing and then he asked a question.

“Does anyone know who Anthony Trollope is?”

A bell went off in my head, ringing memories of English lit class and a Norton Anthology.  I knew he was a writer but couldn’t recall what he wrote.  Not one of the 150+ people in attendance raised their hands.  Perhaps they too, couldn’t quite remember what Trollope wrote.

The gist of the talk was this.  Anthony Trollope was considered one of the most prolific authors of his time, writing forty-nine novels within about thirty five years plus other papers and stories.  How he did this wasn’t by saying to himself, “I have to write a couple novels a year, so sit down and do it!”  Instead, he wrote in fifteen minute increments with the goal of 250 words.  He would arise early in the morning and write for three hours this way.

I love that he broke his writing down into fifteen minute goals.  It’s such a simple yet effective way to make things happen.  Not everyone has an hour or three or ten each day.  But to take just fifteen minutes at a time is more realistic.  Since we’re not hand writing our stories like Trollope did, perhaps we can write more in that time period.

But first, set the timer for fifteen minutes and write two hundred and fifty words.  Now, stop a minute, stretch, and set the timer again.

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