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Reblogged:Not Enough Wee Hours in the Day?

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Make more of them.
It's gorgeous, but what can we do about it? (Image by Remi Yuan, via Unsplash, license.)
Over at Cal Newport's Study Hacks blog are an interesting idea and some very good discussion about how author Michael Connelly works. I love the title, "Michael Connelly Starts Writing Before the Sun Comes Up," because it sounds so unremarkable, until the reader realizes it could have gone on with, "And Doesn't Let Silliness Like Daylight Stop Him."

Connelly uses blackout shades to keep his office dark all day long. This both preserves the quiet solitude so many of us love about the wee hours, and prevents time cues from intruding. It's not something I'll be in a position to try for quite some time, but I like it.

More interesting to me -- and a big part of what makes Newport's blog worth visiting -- is the serious discussion that goes on in the comments. That's particularly true with this post, as when a woman asks a pointed question about what Connelly's child care situation means for his wife in light of the implication that he can sometimes work until "called to dinner."

Two valuable comments come in answer to that one. The first offers the alternative hypothesis/useful idea that Connelly has assistants for such commitments, and the second provides the following insight about writing as a job:
He's treating it as a full time job, and it is one. With writers though, they must set up boundaries and rules, and enforce them. A lot of people see writing as not really being work -- they think, "How hard is it to write a novel anyway? I could do that." (So not true.) So when they see the writer at home, they assume he's available and interrupt. "You're not busy. How about just one favor?" But if writer doesn't produce words, he doesn't make money.


Yes. As Weird Al Yancovic attests, the non-writers in our lives will never fully understand that we are working and that interruptions are extremely destructive. That is a constant battle, and I'll bet that a major aspect of the job for whoever is taking care of other things while Connelly is holed up in his office is as gatekeeper. Unless the house is on fire, nobody goes through the door to my office, I can almost hear him saying.

There are other comments worth looking at, including an idea for a poor man's version of Connelly's darkened office that could be useful for some people or some kinds of deep work.

-- CAV

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