in Teaching

What are your candy-store hours?

In Daily Rituals Mason Currey writes about a man names Isaac Asimov and his candy-story hours. His dad owned candy stores in Brooklyn and they were open from 6 AM to 1 AM every day (and night).

The quote from the book is tremendous.

“I must have liked the long hours, for in later life I never took the attitude of ‘I’ve worked hard all my childhood and youth and now I’m going to take it easy and sleep till noon.’

“Quite the contrary. I have kept the candy-store hours all my life.”

I think Asimov is what the kids call “a grinder.” And what a grind it was. According to this New York Times article from 1969 he had already produced over 7.5 million words worth of books at age 50.

He went on to live 22 more year so there’s little doubt he touched 10 million.

Also, this from that article is just awesome:

When he was 16, his father dipped into the somewhat lean till of the candy store to buy him a secondhand typewriter, and young Isaac was, in effect, off to the races.

My candy-store hours are not as excessive but they’re still structured. Arise by six and (try to get in) bed by 11. Every day if I can. I write and exercise in the mornings, lunch with my family, and write and read and think in the afternoons. I shut it all off at night.

It’s important to have a structure you can stick yourself in, otherwise you’re all willy-nilly when it comes to grind time and that is no place for a writer or thinker or reader to be.