What Do Writers Really Do?

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
June 24 2009 12:54 PM

What Do Writers Really Do?


Author J. Robert Lennon has a very amusing and delightfully honest story in the Los Angeles Times , " The Truth About Writers ," that answers any gnawing questions you may have had regarding exactly what writers are doing with all that time in which they claim to be writing. Writing? Mmmm. Not exactly. In fact, most of their writing time is spent ... not writing.


Certainly, some of us Double X ers have spent our time instead, as Lennon notes of himself and others, belly-aching about the fact that if only we had more time, if only we had more money, heck, if only we had a sugar daddy , we would write, write more, write until someone tried to stop us.

During a four-hour "writing session," Lennon finds he spent a grand total of 33 minutes actually writing. "What this means is that, even at my absolute peak of productivity," he notes, "I am actively writing less than 5 percent of the time." Based on his findings, he wonders if he should even call himself a writer. More fitting job descriptions: "eater," "sleeper," "naked girl imaginer," "child reprimander," "cougher."

He concludes that writers "have invented 'writing time' as a normalizing concept, to shield ourselves from the critical scrutiny we deserve." Tragically, that sounds about right. At least, to this ... uh, "writer."


Photograph of woman not writing by Getty Images.


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