How many hours do you write a day?

I'm working my way through the Masterclass by ad legends Goodby and Silverstein (of "Got Milk?" fame), and came across a nice little nugget of wisdom.

Goodby shares the story of being a junior copywriter and getting the chance to meet the OG Madman himself, David Ogilvy.

Between chain-smoked cigarettes Ogilvy asked, "So, kid. How many hours you write a day?"

Not knowing the answer, and not wanting to sound like an amateur, Goodby lied and said "10 hours a day. Every day."

Ogilvy shot back. "That's all wrong. I never have time to write more than 2 hours a day. I'm spending the rest of my time thinking what to write about."

This is so spot on.

Most of the job of writing is actually observing. Taking it all in. Being constantly alert to discover what's actually interesting out there.

The lesson here is simple, but powerful.

Figure out your world first. Then write the words.