Saturday, August 1, 2009

He's Right, You Know

John Scalzi is a smart man. When asked what one has to give up in order to write, he responded thusly:

What you really need to do is cut an hour of TV watching out of your day. Seriously, now: Keep your job, keep your marriage, keep your friends, keep the kids. Just drop an hour of TV.

It's that easy. He's right. Of course, there's more to it, but without committing a little time, no writing gets done, and if one is spending one's time watching reruns of South Park, one has nobody to blame but oneself for one's lack of writerly output. I'd recommend reading the whole post, but here's a little more:

Because, look: If you’ve got an hour a day to write uninterrupted, you can probably manage between 250 and 500 words a day. Do that five days a week, and in the course of a year that’s between 65,250 and 130,500 words; i.e., hey, you’ve gone and written a novel. All while keeping your day job and not turning into a hermit. This is not complicated.

I think the whole “you must be willing to suffer for your art” thing is overrated and is generally bruited about by people who want to make writing look like some amazing, holy process or whatever. My response to this is, sure, writing can be a wild, transcendent thing, but at the end of the day it’s also about putting your ass into a chair and typing. Writing is a process, and like most processes, if you do it on a regular basis, you generally increase your facility for it.

I have a good amount of grading to do this weekend, but I'm going to make sure I spend an hour a day with my ass in my chair, writing on those projects I keep obsessing about.

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