Take a Look at Joe Lansdale’s Writing Schedule

Us writers can obsess endlessly over the optimal amount of daily writing time. Should it be measured in words written? Pages? Hours spent ass-in-chair?

I try to get up at around 5:30 to get some writing done before going to work. It doesn’t always happen, but I’ve learned that the best time is from 6:00 to 7:00, when my brain is awake but hasn’t remembered to worry about the day ahead. It’s an hour of solitude, stolen from the world.

I worry that it’s too little, however, that if I’m ever going to amount to anything I need to spend more time writing.

Joe Lansdale has some thoughts that are comforting to hear.

Author Joe Landsdale and the cover of his book Jackrabbit Smile

I find that less is more when it comes to writing hours. Three is about it for me, and that way I’m not worn out the next day, and I keep adding to the story because I know I’ll have a short time to work.

It stays fun most of the time and a lot more satisfying, and I get to feel like a hero everyday because I’ve worked with enthusiasm.

Working my ass off for twelve hour a day just gives me dread of doing it, but knowing I only have to show up for about three hours, write three to five pages a day. I often find I write a larger number of pages than that, and I stay excited about the work. I find if the three to five pages come quickly, and I just don’t feel up to working longer, I quit, even if it isn’t three hours, because I know I’ve done my quota.

Next day I might get ten pages in three hours, and often do because I’m invested in the story. It excites me and satisfies me. It’s my method, and it might be helpful to others, and maybe not, but there it is if you want to consider it.

Taken from an update on Joe’s Facebook page.

So. I think I’ll stick to my stolen hour and not worry too much.


Mr. Lansdale has a new book out this summer. Pre-order that bit of sunshine right here:


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