Anthony Trollope Writing Routine
Anthony Trollope, as a novelist, was one of the most prolific, respected, and successful English authors of the Victorian Era. He was well known for writing novels based on the fiction, travel, and history genres. In this article, let us see the amazing writing routine of Anthony Trollope that made him so effective and efficient.
Anthony Trollope’s biggest writing inspiration was his mother. Trollope’s mother had some amount of success as a writer and he wanted to take after her. It is said that his mother was also a disciplined writer who adhered to a strict writing schedule.
Anthony Trollope’s biggest writing challenge was lack of time. He had a job at the post office and he couldn’t manage juggling a job and writing. Initially, Trollope was neither punctual nor wise. He got himself into a huge debt. He was looking for a way to get out of debt and make a shift towards a better future.
Click below if you would like to watch (rather than read) about Anthony Trollope.
Shift to Better Writing Habits
Trollope decided that it was time for him to make some serious changes to his writing habits. Meanwhile, Trollope was promoted to the post of a Post Office Inspector. This meant that he had a lot of commuting to do and that made it hard to find time to write.
So, Trollope decided that he must find some peaceful hours in the way when he is not troubled by his occupation or family. He decided to write for three hours from 5 am to 8 am every morning.
Trollope knew it wasn’t going to be easy to wake up at this ungodly hour. He knew he would be tempted to cuddle back into bed if he woke up so early.
Waking Up Early to Write
Anthony Trollope had an idea to circumvent this issue. He paidfive5 pounds to a servant to wake him up every morning with a cup of coffee. The plan worked like a charm. Magically, Trollope found three solid hours every single day to write without any disturbance.
In his autobiography, Trollope observed that the servant was “never once late with the coffee…I do not know that I ought not to feel that I owe more to him than to anyone else for the success I have had. By beginning at that hour I could complete my literary work before I dressed for breakfast.”
As writers, waking up early to write could be the single biggest game-changer for us especially if we have umpteen other things eating into our time during the regular day. If not as much as Anthony Trollope, we can try waking up at least thirty minutes early every single day, before the entire household is up.
Timed Writing Strategy
Anthony Trollope believed that precious hours shouldn’t be wasted in nibbling his pen or scratching his head. He knew there was a high risk that he might end up doing just that when he woke up in the morning. To make sure that he does not while away his time during the precious early morning hours, he kept his pocket watch next to him. Trollope made sure that he wrote 250 words every quarter an hour. This was the one habit that made him extremely prolific.
He says: “This division of time allowed me to produce over ten pages of an ordinary novel volume a day, and if kept up through ten months, would have given as its results three novels of three volumes each in the year.”
Mimicking Anthony Trollope’s Writing Routine
Anthony Trollope’s strict and effective writing routine made him a disciplined and prolific writer. His writing routine is a huge inspiration to most authors. If you want to mimic his writing habits and carve out such a routine for yourself, here are some tips to help you:
Wake up Early
Like I mentioned above, try to wake up early even if you can manage just 20-30 minutes initially. Remember, you are first building up your habit. Right now, consistency is more important than quantity. You can watch this video to understand how to build a consistent writing habit.
I’m sure most of us don’t have the luxury of paying a servant to wake us up. However, there are other things you could try. If there is someone in the family who wakes up at that hour every day, you can request them to spare a few minutes to wake you up. If they can wake you up with coffee, you are a winner already. If nobody else in your house wakes up at that hour, consider having a writing buddy. You could give a call to each other and spend the first fifteen minutes connected via Skype. This will ensure you do not drop back to sleep.
Get a Timer
Get yourself a timer immediately. Please do not use the one on your phone. What is your phone doing in the room that you write in? Put it away!
Always write using a timer. If you cannot do 250 words every 15 minutes like Anthony Trollope, you could try 200 words or 150 words. Choose that which is comfortable for you but which also challenges you to concentrate on your work and give it all your attention.
Do Not Multitask
Needless to say, writing requires your complete focus. When you have a timer beside you and concentrate on churning out a specific word count consistently, it will ensure that you are focused.
If you write on the computer, the chance of a mail or a message popping up is high. If you multi-task, the quality and quantity of your work would suffer.
To circumvent this, I have started using the paid application called OmmWriter. (Not an affiliate link or an ad – just sharing what I use and like) It blocks all pop-ups and messages and shows me only the words that I’ve written. Ommwriter also has ambient music. I love the train sounds; it even plays the railway station sounds every 20 minutes.
Anthony Trollope’s writing routine and disciplined writing habits are something that every professional writer should strive for. Following the tips given above can help you become as prolific as him.