Advice from the Masters: William F. Buckley, Jr.

Dec 31, 2014 | Writing A Book

William F. Buckley, Jr. led an amazing life. He did so many interesting things well that it’s hard to write a summary paragraph about him. So I gave up. Here’s what the multiple authors of Wikipedia came up with.

“William Frank Buckley, Jr. (November 24, 1925 – February 27, 2008) was an American conservative author and commentator. He founded the political magazine National Review in 1955, which had a major impact in stimulating the conservative movement. He hosted 1,429 episodes of the television show Firing Line from 1966 until 1999, where he became known for his transatlantic accent and wide vocabulary. He also wrote a nationally syndicated newspaper column, and wrote numerous spy novels.”

Buckley wrote more than fifty books on a wide range of topics. In 1996, Sam Vaughan of the Paris Review interviewed Buckley. The interview is filled with colorful comments and sharp insights. I picked out the following about how to write a book.

“When one sets out to write a book, I do believe one should attack it two or three hours a day, every day, without fail. You mustn’t interrupt it to do a week’s lecture tour or whatever. On the other hand, don’t ever devote the entire day to doing just that, or the chances are you’ll get bored with it, or simply run out of energy.”

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