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Thursday, September 3, 2015

The King of Clockwork

I envy the grimacing joggers I pass on my way to work every weekday morning for their samurai discipline and inveterate svelteness (a quality I lack).

Leadership and personal productivity experts goad us to rise above mediocrity by forming useful habits.

Surpassing champs like Kant, Edison and Einstein, the king of the clockwork habit could well be Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope.

He wrote with such regularity, that he produced 47 novels—plus 32 plays, short stories and nonfiction books—in his spare time.

Stephen King (with 60 novels and 200 short stories, no slouch either) describes Trollope's habit in his memoir, On Writing

"His day job was as a clerk in the British Postal Department (the red public mailboxes all over Britain were Anthony Trollope's invention); he wrote for two an a half hours each morning before leaving for work. This schedule was ironclad. If he was in mid-sentence when the two and a half hours expired, he left that sentence unfinished until the next morning. And if he happened to finish one of his six-hundred-pound heavyweights with fifteen minutes of the session remaining, he wrote The End, set the manuscript aside, and began work on the next book."

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