Wednesday, June 12
Guest Author Tom Angleberger: Do You Really Need to Write an Hour Every Day?
Please join me in welcoming Tom Angleberger to the blog today to tackle that age old question—how much do you really need to write every day to be "a writer?"
Tom is the bestselling author of the Origami Yoda series. He is also the author of Horton Halfpott and Fake Mustache. Tom maintains the Origami Yoda–inspired blog origamiyoda.wordpress.com. He is married to author-illustrator Cece Bell and lives in Christiansburg, Virginia. His next book, The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett, will be out on August 6.
Take it away Tom...
The most common advice writers seem to get is some variation on "Write An Hour a Day Every Day."
Exactly why 60 minutes of writing is better than 61 or 63 is not clear. If 60 minutes if good, why not 120? Why not 372?
I mean, wouldn't it be best to write 24 hours a day? Why stop? Why not just write from now on? Your life can become one endless torrent of words.
Of course, that's absurd. But I'm not sure why it's any more absurd than this forced hour of writing every day.
I realize that may work for some authors—either that or they're just trying to sabotage everyone else with bad advice—but it's certainly not my way of writing. I often go a day without writing. Maybe even a week. Maybe even a month!
That doesn't mean I'm not thinking, formulating, composing, plotting, revising, etc... It just means I'm not typing.
If I don't have anything of interest in my brain yet, why should I sit down and type for an hour? Wouldn't a walk be healthier? It may also be more inspiring and thus more likely to result in me having an idea worth writing about later.
This all may go hand-in-hand with the second most common advice given to writers: "Write a lousy first draft." Why? Just so you can then spend TWO hours a day trying to revise it?
No thanks. I'll shoot for "good" with the first draft and then revise THAT.
Look, I used to be a newspaper reporter. I know what it means to sit down and crank it out day after day after day. But this often ends in "notebook dump," "spilt ink," "wasted pixels" and "pointless drivel."
The one problem this planet does not have is a lack of writing. (See: Internet.) So why do it without a compelling reason?
So—for myself—I reject the advice. And I reject the idea that I'm not accomplishing something if I come up short of this odd, wholly random "gold standard" of authorship.
I'm an author 24 hours a day... and a writer/typer when I actually stumble upon that compelling reason.
About The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett
Dark times have fallen on McQuarrie Middle School. Dwight’s back—and not a moment too soon, as the gang faces the FunTime Menace: a new educational program designed to raise students’ standardized test scores. Instead, it’s driving everyone crazy with its obnoxious videos of Professor FunTime and his insidious singing calculator! When Principal Rabbski cancels the students’ field trip—along with art, music, and LEGO classes—to make time for FunTime, the students turn to Origami Yoda for help. But some crises are too big for Origami Yoda to handle alone: Form a Rebel Alliance the students must. United, can they defeat the FunTime Menace and cope with a surprise attack from Jabba the Puppett?