The 15 Minute Plan to writing a novel or accomplishing anything


Out of any given day, you have only 16 usable hours. Subtract at least an hour for eating (more if you’re cooking as well), another hour for bathroom necessities such as showering and brushing your teeth (incl. other things), and another hour for the amount of time you spend in the car or just getting to wherever you’re going. If you’re in school, then that’s at least another 7 hours, but let’s add two more for homework and study. If you work, then just subtract 9 hours. Altogether, that really only leaves 4 hours for time just to ourselves.

Often, though, these 4 hours are taken up by friends, family, exercise, errands, and / or just the need to relax by reading a book or watching TV. Weekends are usually no better.

Unsurprisingly, it’s hard to find the time to write a novel or to work on a project of our own desire. Sure, every now and then you might find several hours in a week to attend to your projects, but that usually doesn’t last for long. Inevitably, a big research project comes along or a job takes up more of our time, and all of a sudden we find ourselves once again with no time to work on what we actually want to work on.

But instead of thinking in hours, think of your time in 15 minute increments. When you do that, those 16 usable hours turn into 64 blocks of time that we can allocate, and those 4 hours of time left to ourselves becomes 16 blocks. Of those 16 blocks, always allocate at least one toward your project. You can spend that 15 minute block of time editing, thinking about your project, or actually making more progress on it. But spend at least 15 minutes on it every day.

Because here’s the thing: those 15 minutes add up. In a single week, that’s 105 minutes. In a 30-day month, that’s 450 minutes or almost 8 hours. In a year, that’s a solid 3.8 days of your time working on your project, and that’s a lot of time. If you manage just an average of 150 words per 15-minute block (about one or two paragraphs), then you have at least a 54,750 word novel by the end of the year. And that’s not even counting all the extra time that you’ll inevitably find as well!

If you want to write a novel or finish any project, 15 minutes a day every day is all it takes.


Nathan Caldwell is the owner and founder of the Young Writers Society and its group blog, Writing Gooder.

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