monsieurdl(M): I understand exactly what you are saying, and finding time for bits and pieces to be added to the effort could result in something substantive after I am done with my work. I especially understand Lord Acton being "remembered for his influence on others." as sometimes the enjoyment of learning and actively being involved with others can be the enemy of sitting down for long periods of time and writing. A personal hero of mine, Theodore Roosevelt, managed to do ALL of it and today I am amazed as to how he accomplished it!
Ron(R): Having this conversation about writing and about historians is certainly something I have given thought to over the years. One's own constitution and personal health is also a factor that I have had to place into the equation of writing. My bipolar 1 disorder is now medicated with an anti-psychotic and an anti-depressant in the last 6 months and one of the results is that I am in bed for 11 to 12 hours a day for a 8 to 9 hour sleep. I have to get up at night 3 or 4 times to urinate due to my having been on lithium for 27 years, too long in my case. You will have your story but don't forget to factor-in your health and personal circumstances.
M: Another fascinating story that I have come across is that of Francis Parkman. He was able to write almost all of his books with this horrible pain in his head from daylight and the inability to move around normally. When I think of that, I cannot help but tell myself that I'm lazy...!
R: At one level I think most of us are lazy, but that is often just a catch-all word for a range of problems. Concentration on one thing at the expense of many other things is a choice a writer makes. And as T.S. Eliot once remarked, a writer has to live with the possibility that all of his writing has been a complete waste of time. I like Eliot's take here since it helps to keep your feet on the ground and live with unrealisitic expectations.
Enough for now and wishing you lots of energy and good health down the road of your writing and career life.-Ron