#GISHWHES and "it's only a hour of your time"

I'm not going to address the GISHWHES requests for stories from published writers. Other authors have done so much more eloquently than I.

Instead, I'd like to address a random comment that I saw from a fan, who was attempting to guilt an author into writing a story with the justification of "it's only an hour of your time." Had it been just one person, I probably wouldn't have thought much of the phrase, but I saw that sentiment echoed by many people.

"It's only an hour."

I can only speak for myself, but I don't write full time. I can't afford to. I have a full time job that takes ten hours out of my day (I'm counting commuting and preparing for work in the mornings). I write on my lunch hour and at every break. I write in the evenings, which is why I was up until 11:30 p.m. last night editing a story.

I get up at 5:30 a.m. to answer my email and write blog posts. I have to be at work at 7:30 a.m. during the summer months. In the evenings, when I get home, I make dinner and spend time with my family. They are the ones who receive the benefit of any extra hours I might have.

The evenings are also when I work on my stories--you know, the ones I hope to sell. Any marketing, such as writing guest posts and engaging with fans on forums, is done during this time. I don't have any extra hours, and those that I do have, I tend to spend reading. Judging from the tweets of other authors, they don't have any extra hours either.

"It's only hour," but it's not.

Authors don't simply spin stories like cotton candy. We invest a lot more than an hour in choosing the right words. So while some might cough out a quick tale with little effort, others will take much more care over their words.

All I ask is that you think very carefully before you request that an author engage in this event. It may only be an hour to you, but that hour is mine. Most of us don't have many left over at the end of the day. It's not that we don't feel that GISHWHES is a worthy cause, or that you are any less deserving of our attention. The fact is, that by the midnight hour, you are asking for something that not many authors can give--an hour of our very limited time.