From the Paris Review interview with author J. G. Ballard:
What are your daily working habits like?
Every day, five days a week. Longhand now, it’s less tiring than a typewriter. When I’m writing a novel or story I set myself a target of about seven hundred words a day, sometimes a little more. I do a first draft in longhand, then do a very careful longhand revision of the text, then type out the final manuscript. I used to type first and revise in longhand, but I find that modern fiber-tip pens are less effort than a typewriter. Perhaps I ought to try a seventeenth-century quill. I rewrite a great deal, so the word processor sounds like my dream…
How many hours a day do you put in at the desk?
Two hours in the late morning, two in the early afternoon, followed by a walk along the river to think over the next day. Then at six, Scotch and soda, and oblivion.
That sounds like the schedule of an efficient worker.
Well, concentration has never been a problem, and now there are few distractions. I assume that it is not entirely coincidental that, to the despair of my friends, I live in this remote backwater seventeen miles from London, in a small town where I know almost no one. However, until five years ago I had three adolescent children here, and not much more than ten years ago, at the time I was writing Crash, I was still driving them to school, collecting them, and getting totally involved in the hurly-burly of family life as a single parent…. I used to start the working day once I returned from delivering the children to school, at 9:30 in the morning, with a large Scotch. It separated me from the domestic world, like a huge dose of novocaine injected into reality in the same way that a dentist calms a fractious patient so that he can get on with some fancy bridgework.
That practice of working about four hard hours a day is a common one. For a surprisingly large number of people, that’s about all the really serious thinking they can do: the rest of the day is spent answering letters, going to meetings, talking walks, or other stuff. Indeed, for most people, the challenge is to keep the other stuff from eating into the time you should really spend on your most serious work.