Journal, Routine

15 Minutes

Last year, I signed a contract to ghostwrite the first draft of a short novel. It was on a tight deadline, and I have a day job. So I knew I was going to have to maximize the way I use my time both before and after work.

I did this by breaking both periods into 15-minute increments.

While I was writing the book, I woke up every day at 6 AM and spent 15 minutes eating breakfast and drinking a cup of coffee. Then, I took a quick shower. By 6:30, I was writing and doing so for one hour. The rest of the morning went to a workout and a bit of straightening up or reading before heading out the door.

When I got home, more often than not, I went to work on the novel. That left me with some time afterward to take a walk, eat some dinner, and unwind before going to bed.

The best thing about this kind of routine was that I knew where I was supposed to be at all times. In other words, I didn’t have to waste time figuring out what to do next. I’d written down, so I just looked at the schedule.

But all was not bliss. This kind of efficiency is burdensome. The worst thing about it was that the routine made me feel a bit like a robot.

Ultimately, I believed I could do just about anything for eight weeks and knew it would be necessary to have this kind of structure if I was going to finish the project on time. This schedule helped me finish early.

photo: Veri Ivanova

This entry was posted in: Journal, Routine


Justin Meckes is a writer and filmmaker living in Chapel Hill, NC. His short stories have been published in various online journals and magazines. He has ghostwritten novels and is the author of several children's books. You can learn more about him at or by sending an email to