In a recent post by Jeremy TeG, we heard about Gene Wolfe’s classic science fantasy series, The Book of the New Sun. A highly successful set of five novels based mostly in the fantastical, far future Urth, the series is an inspiration to aspiring writers in all genres. But how did Wolfe find the time to pen the 950+ pages?
Patrick Wayland gave us a clue in an earlier post that linked to an interview with Wolfe. Before he became a full-time writer, Wolfe said he would “write for about an hour before work on workdays, and then I would write on Saturdays and Sundays. That left my afternoons and evenings free to play with my kids or read to them. And then in those days—and believe me, I no longer do this—anytime I woke up after 4:00 a.m., I stayed up and I wrote. I stopped writing when Rosemary called down to me that breakfast was ready. When I left off editing, I increased the time I spent writing by a factor of three.”
It takes plenty of discipline, or ambition, to stick to a rigorous schedule, but Wolfe shows it is possible to write regularly even when dealing with the demands of a job and family.
James Clear asks a chilling question: How many people die with their best work still inside them?
As Clear’s interesting post on the writing habits of famous authors shows, there’s no one perfect schedule to suit all. Some of us bound out of bed ready to write for two or three hours before the rest of the house rises; others seclude themselves with a laptop and a glass of wine late at night while the world sleeps. But one thing most successful writers do have in common is that they had some kind of self-imposed discipline around their writing habits.