How to Write A Book In Fifteen Minute Bursts

“I’d love to write a book, but I don’t have that kind of time. My schedule is already full, plus I’m constantly being interrupted by my kids, and for the sake of my sanity I desperately need to maintain some sort of social life. That doesn’t leave me enough time to write.”

If you want to write a book, you may picture yourself hunkering down in seclusion somewhere, maybe relocating to a cabin in the woods or adopting a Bohemian lifestyle, penning your masterwork in various French cafes.

Though seclusion can work wonders for productivity, not having it doesn’t mean you can’t reach your goals.

You can write a book using only a few slices of time throughout the day.

Everyone has a few spare minutes. If Elon Musk can find time to Twitter, it’s possible for you to carve out a few fifteen minute windows of time to write without stopping.

Who is to say you can’t churn out a 1500 or at least a thousand words in fifteen minutes?

[bctt tweet=”Take three small slices of time during each day to write and you can easily produce three thousand words.”]

Writing nonstop for fifteen minutes creates more material than that which you could achieve by an hour of sitting and thinking.

Becoming a productivity monster

Moral of the story: write without stopping.

Type faster

If you type faster, obviously you can get more words on the page in a shorter span of time.

However, if you are a slower typist, you just need to be patient with yourself. Your pace of thinking will eventually sync with your writing. Basically, the rhythm of your thought will slow down and even take on a greater granularity, stability and depth. The upside is that there can be some really great windows for discovery which happen through writing slowly. So whether you write fast or slow, take heart.

The interesting thing about writing fast is… you can write more in a shorter amount of time.

If you’re frustrated by your typing speed, that can be easy enough to remedy. My recommendation is to tackle it head-on. Otherwise, you may get stuck at your same typing speed despite spending plenty of time each day typing.

We get better at what we do. When we do things the same way over and over again, we don’t get better. We just keep doing the same thing.

It is necessary to actually do something different if you want to improve.

Unless you have the intent to write faster, you probably won’t automatically get better.

All it takes is to actually carve out small sections of time. Seriously, fifteen minutes can be enough to do some typing tests and lessons. It can make all the difference.

As dictation software improves, typing won’t be as much of a bottleneck. For many people, voice dictation isn’t as intuitive yet. It doesn’t feel like writing.

That’s part of what’s interesting about it. It is writing.

And in the future we will very likely be doing a great deal more voice dictation than typing. I don’t think keyboards are going away completely for a long time. But for the average person, it would be better to get on board with voice dictation sooner rather than later.

All it takes is dedication and focus

The main objective is to actually commit. To permanently move beyond dawdling and doodling and half-assing it.


Even committing to small windows of time makes a huge impact.

If you accomplish the above goal of writing 3000 words a day, it would only take you seventeen days to draft a 50,000 word manuscript.

It’s easier to find three fifteen minute slices of time than it is to find a single uninterrupted block of 45 minutes.

To make this happen. . .

  1. Visualize the feasibility of the goal
  2. Set the intent to commit to it. See yourself doing it each day. Really visualize the daily actions and the end result.
  3. Walk the talk. For the next month, write without stopping during three 15-minute windows each day.

Filling containers of time

For the average person, it can be easier to write quickly during short bursts than to write for a longer session.

We tend to procrastinate. If you have a week before a deadline, you wait six days before getting started on it. The thing itself may only take a few hours. But you spent a week on it.

It’s interesting to ponder.

What would happen if you adopted this habit?

Everything else in your life could stay more or less the same, and you would soon find yourself writing that book, keeping your blog current, staying consistent with your habit of self-discovery freewriting etc.

Other factors to consider

With the above example, I did not include two other important factors:

Project management-type factors. For example, knowing beforehand what you want to write and how to structure it.

Depending on the kind of writing you are doing, this may not be required, but these are really fantastic skills that will come in handy.

Revision and editing. This does take time. I would offer as a general rule that the drafting itself is about a third of the total time spent on something. That’s a rough estimate, and it’s going to be different depending on your writing style, reading speed, editing style and ability.


But there it is . . . a technique that can make all the difference for achieving your writing goals.

We think we need this span of perfect uninterrupted time where everything is set in place and the rest of the world is silent.

That is nice, but it is not necessary, strictly speaking.

Sometimes there is a great divide between what we assume is necessary and what it actually takes to get where we want.

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