This website promotes courses based on The 15-Minute Writing Method – which will help you become a better writer, eliminate writer’s block and procrastination and increase your creativity – 15 minutes at a time!
If you would like to know more about how The 15-Minute Writer came to be – read on!
For a simple idea, creating The 15-Minute Writer program was a process. As the concept developed, I found I was able to use the discipline itself to shape the program.
And like anything else, it started with an inspiration, followed by experiments and then feedback from the outside world to become the 40-module interactive course and book that it is today. For those that may be interested, I have put together a timeline of events that helped bring it to life:
Enter Mother And Child
The Mother was having a wee bit of trouble convincing her Son he needed to do his math homework.
Enthusiasm didn’t work, because at 7 years of age, He could already see through that.
Commands didn’t work because He was old enough to say “no” with authority.
General threats didn’t work because He instantly wanted to test how far his loving Mother would take them. (And let’s face it, they both already knew the outcome.)
She knew He loved his video games. And because He is loved, and yes, a tad spoiled, He’s got four different screens on which to indulge his digital delight.
And because the Mother is loving, and deeply interested in his development, she makes a point of reading about various modern parenting techniques.
Enter the kitchen timer.
She bought a cute one, the kind that looks like a little red apple.
A deal was struck between the Mother and her Son.
“15 minutes of math homework gets you 15 minutes of video games.”
And so the red apple with the ticking mechanism became a centerpiece on the combination kitchen table/homework-torture station.
The Son does his math homework, and other assignments, to the sound of the ticking red apple.
Then He gets the allotted video game time, also to the sound of the ticking apple. (And yes, it has been noticed that 15 minutes of video time has a habit of lasting a really long time. Especially when the Mother is in another room.)
The Fiance Enters The Picture
When I first saw the cute red apple, I blurted out, “Hey, I want one of these!” Even as the Mother was explaining how it worked.
And being as lovely as she is, I soon received my very own kitchen timer.
She got me the white old fashioned model, from either Target or CVS, for about five bucks
It’s been sitting in the middle of my desk ever since.
I was really delighted with my new low-tech productivity tool.
I began experimenting, setting it to various times against different kinds of writing assignments.
For some reason I settled on 15 minutes as the ideal duration. Kind of a Goldilocks option – long enough to get a real piece of work accomplished, short enough to work at high energy.
15 minutes turned out to be just right.
As I kept working with the timer, a funny thing happened.
the process started giving me ideas. About how to use it. How to finish things I had thought of long ago. Even what to discard as not useful in the long term.
Overall, I Was happy with the kind of productivity I was getting out of myself with the timer. I was on schedule with everything, plus, I no longer ha the anxiety that used to hang over incomplete projects.
With the aid and experience of using the timer, I knew that when I sat down and twisted the knob to the 15-minute mark, the thing that had to get done was going to get done.
For the moment, it was just something useful I had picked up, experimented with and applied to my own life. It worked for me, and I liked it. Cool.
Enter The Adman
As I was working with the 15-minute solution, I came across a couple recorded interviews with a legendary adman – someone who had been responsible for selling hundreds of millions of dollars of product through mail order, one of the toughest business in which to turn a dollar.
But lots of sales isn’t enough to ape one man’s success – or his methods for achieving it.
One really interested me was that this adman had sustained his career over nearly 40 years. Consistently churning out winning advertising copy that convinced people to buy what he was selling.
So when the adman talked about his technique – how he managed to write massive amounts of copy, on tight deadlines, solving problems where other people were failing, I listened.
The adman used a timer. He said it was the most valuable thing he owned. That by setting the timer and sitting down to write, it allowed his conscious mind to relax, and his creative faculty to produce.
The adman, a gentleman named Eugene Schwartz, talked about how he used to set his timer to 33 minutes and 33 seconds. That was his method.
(And because Mr. Schwartz started his career on typewriters, eventually moving onto early computers, I am still feeling good about the 15-minute duration I am recommending.)
Mr. Schwartz, in his short talks on the art and profession of copywriting, had a lot to say about using a timer. About how it functioned as a trigger to block out other things he might be thinking about. About how it was a source of discipline. And productivity. And how, once he was inside the domain of the ticking clock, it helped him to prod
produce the creative ideas he needed to turn in copy that would not only be approved by his clients, but would go on to convince consumers to purchase what he was advertising.
Having experimented with this method on my own – and then hearing from an accomplished writer how he used the same concept in his own career – helped convince me I may be on to something.
Enter The Client
Around the same time I had a client contact me to help hi create an online business. He wanted a complete package – website, copy, products, e-commerce and email functionality.
Because it involved working on site, efficiency was important. The client paid for travel and lodging, and I wanted to deliver a great experience.
So when arrived we got right to work, and I am pretty fast as setting up the mechanics of an Internet business. Plus there were products to create, and of course, the copy that had to be placed on every page.
I did it all in three days. The client had a functioning web business with new products for sale, e-commerce setup, email autoresponder, the works.
As I was working, I instructed the client to start writing blog posts, to build out his site. He had a lot of ideas, and they were everywhere – notebooks, computer files, phones apps, clipboards – literally all over the place.
So when he put his fingers on the keyboard, he kind of froze. He had spent two years taking notes but didn’t have any finished product of his own. And I want to be clear that this client has some great ideas – helpful, creative and useful.
But he had a hard time writing one complete post in a reasonable time frame.
But I had brought my timer with me – and was using it to keep track of the over one hundred discrete tasks I had to accomplish to complete the project. And the client was impressed with my creativity – but so what? I was really trying to help him bring his vision to life, beyond just setting up a website for him and leaving with my fee.
So I showed him The 15-Minute Writer. I simply twisted the knob on my timer, opened a file and wrote a page of copy for his site.
And of course I was chatting along the way, explaining how the timer allows you to focus on one topic, get it all down, and once the buzzer rings, you’re done.
And here was where the client’s eyes lit up. When I demonstrated the simple idea – and finished a single task – it was obvious he was seeing a way to get all those ideas out of his head, and various notebooks – and onto his website in a finished form.
And his reaction caused my own imagination to light up.
I realized that as simple as this idea was, it still needed to be taught. People had to be given a platform to experience and practice this method.
So they in turn could teach themselves to be more productive. To eliminate writer’s block, dissolve performance anxiety and free up their creativity within the confines of the ticking timer.
The 15-Minute Writer Is Born
On the train ride home from the client, I was pretty fired up.
Filling lots of index cards up with ideas for The 15-Minute Writer. At first I thought, ‘well, this is obviously a how-to book, I’ve got to get across to people who powerful this simple discipline can be.”
In front of the computer, with my kitchen timer sitting between the keyboard and the screen, I worked out the draft.
And wouldn’t you know it, every time I set the timer to the 15-minute mark, I executed one section of the book.
And then another, and so on.
When I was done, I had 40 essays about the power of writing in 15-minute blocks. Because as I was writing, and setting the timer, again and again, the words kept coming and I became more and more convinced that this was something everyone committed to committing words to paper should learn and use.
While that was going on, I did some thinking about the nature of the Internet and “good ideas.”
Because there are in fact so many good ideas available to us now – and lots of junk as well, I think it’s reasonable to say that a lot of innovations are simply being ignored by the people who can really benefit from them.
Plus, with The 15-Minute Writer it’s clear that telling you about how it works doesn’t come close to helping you experience it for yourself.
And then doing it, over and over, until it becomes a habit and you have gotten the real benefit – which is training your mind, imagination and yes, your fingers, to respond to the sound of the ticking timer.
In other words, I realized there should be a component to The 15-Minute Writer where people can actually do the thing itself.
Because again, if you don’t put a good idea into practice, you might as well have never heard about it.
So I knew about training course software at this point, and with the text of The 15-Minute Writer book in one file folder, I constructed this website – where people can learn about, and practice the 15-minute discipline so that it becomes second nature to them.
Along the way, of course, I am using it myself. The simple kitchen timer, of course, but even the online course, where I actually login, the same as any student, click the green button to begin and start writing.
I am in fact using The 15-Minute Writer to compose all of the sales letter and marketing material for this course – after having a ‘you must eat you own dog food moment.’
So I do the same thing I am asking of you, 15 minutes at a time. And while it is obviously writing for each of those 15 minutes, it is also mental training.
Every time I login and push the button – when the workspace appears I begin writing. I even love that the workspace “locks me out” when the 15 minutes are up! You see, I am learning, just as you will, that having the timer running while I am writing gets the best out of me for that session.
And there are plenty of other benefits, as you may have read on the other pages of this site. One of them us more quality family time – because as the timer ticks down on this session, I am waiting to be picked up by that wonderful woman and child that I wrote about in the beginning of this letter. And we are going to spend the rest of the evening together doing not much expect being a family. And that is great, because when we do so, I will be totally present, partially because I have spent several sessions today, logged in and writing, in those 15 minute segments. And I feel satisfied and able to put it aside, when appropriate.
So There You Have It
As you can see from this short tale, The 15-Minute Writer came to be via evolution – from inspiration to experimentation and feedback from the outside world. The method is as simple a piece of advice as drinking water six times a day or going for walks in the morning and evening (if fitness is your goal). And as is the case with other pieces of sturdy advice, it works only if you do it.
And to adopt any new habit, even one as simple as twisting the knob on a timer and writing for 15 minutes, you have to begin doing it. And then practice, making sure you make it part of your day.
And just like other simple and sturdy habits, once you make it part of your day, time after time, it becomes just something you do, everyday, that makes your life work, filled with productivity and creativity and the achievements that you desire.
I hope you decide to become The 15-Minute Writer. Once you go through the course you will find you can apply it to any composition assignment you want to undertake – including writing that novel you always dreamed of, starting and running a successful blog, or becoming a successful college graduate. You will find that it makes writing fun and adds to your arsenal of personal achievements you have accomplished in your life.