on Helping Writers become Authors:
Should writers make it a habit to write every day? Is that the secret to success? Is that what distinguishes “real” writers?
I used to think so. Often, when someone would ask me for my single recommendation for other writers, my go-to response was to reiterate some form of the advice from Peter de Vries that I’d had tacked above my desk for almost as long as I’d been writing:
I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at nine o’clock every morning.
I’ve dabbled in writing ever since I was a kid, but as soon as I got serious, around the time I finished high school, I started making writing a rock-solid part of my daily schedule. For many years, my writing time was firmly 4–6PM every afternoon, and Lord help anyone who interrupted that sacrosanct time. Usually, it was my favorite time of the day; other times, it was the worst, hardest, most agonizing time of the day. But thanks to that commitment to writing for two hours a day for at least five days a week, every week, I outlined, researched, wrote, edited, and published books that otherwise might never have seen the light of day.