Veronique Darwin

One Hour is Not Enough

In Thoughts on Writing on August 10, 2013 at 5:00 pm

I must confess. I’ve been patting myself on the back; I’ve been bowing low to my new habit. I’ve written one hour a day for 40 days. I was at school, it was summer, but I wrote for one hour a day. One day I woke up early because I knew I would be busy that day! One night I wrote tired!

I come now to the realization, on an open Saturday afternoon, that one hour isn’t a big part of my day. One hour over forty days is forty hours on my novel. How long is a novel? 180 pages? How many times do I have to rewrite a page? Three times? This novel is never going to end!

Because really, one hour isn’t an hour. It’s a period of adjustment, in which I get into my writing brain. It’s an early finish, especially if I have to blow dry my hair. It’s a couple turns on Facebook, a few peeks at the news and maybe a bite to eat. It’s definitely not an hour, that’s for sure.

So am I supposed to write two hours a day? Am I supposed to write first thing in the morning and last thing at night? I thought I was doing so well; I thought I was doing so much.



What I know about things is that setting goals makes things happen. I would not have memorized 50 digits of Pi without deciding to do it. So maybe I shouldn’t write in time, but in goals.

Maybe I sit down and I don’t stop writing until I have that scene right. I’m not a perfectionist, and I’m a good cheater, so I won’t be there forever. But maybe I’ll be there until that scene gets done. I hope so! That was my goal!

And maybe I’ll start looking at my novel like something made up of pieces, not of time. And maybe it will keep building on itself instead of just continuing. And maybe over time I’ll learn that two hours isn’t very much of my day either, or maybe I’ll just forget about time. And then at some point, somewhere down the line, I won’t be counting hours because writing will be the thing that I do, and something else the job in which I count hours, waiting to get back here.




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