… I agree with this reviewer that if a successful writer thinks I can be satisfied with two hours of concentrated writing a day, then I shall give that a try!
… Having a day job helps some artists keep a sense of perspective. For much of her career, Toni Morrison worked as an editor at Random House, taught university classes and raised two sons alone. The luxury of a Franzenesque life devoted solely to the craft—if luxury’s the right word—wasn’t in the cards for Morrison. But the limits on her free time had a liberating effect. “When I sit down to write I never brood,” she said. “I have so many other things to do, with my children and teaching, that I can’t afford it. I brood, thinking of ideas, in the automobile when I’m driving to work or in the subway or when I’m mowing the lawn. By the time I get to the paper something’s there—I can produce.”
Of all the artists, I took the most comfort in the remarks of Martin Amis. “Everyone assumes I’m a systematic and nose-to-the-grindstone kind of person,” he told The Paris Review. In truth, he admitted, he typically writes only from 11 in the morning to 1 in the afternoon. “Two hours,” he said. “I think most writers would be very happy with two hours of concentrated work.”
Amen. That’s my new goal.
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