How Do Famous Writers Write?

I have an author crush on Paul Theroux.  His descriptive powers have transported me to remote and often dangerous locales I would’t otherwise go to.  He makes armchair travelling respectable.  Writing seem to flow for him effortlessly like water from a tap, but he reveals it’s sheer determination:

I don’t take days off. I sit there and even though nothing comes, I just sit there and do it. Because I usually have something to write. If I have nothing to write, then I’m just as happy going swimming.

I covet Haruki Murakami’s writing style which has the sublime soothing quality of  classical music.  His writing is equivalent to the feeling I get from all things Japanese. Minimal, clear and precise but at the same time a thing of great beauty:

Writing is fun — at least mostly. I write for four hours every day

Reading Salman Rushdie is an education in itself.  With my lack of knowledge about world politics, I would be terribly intimidated if I ever met him in person:

writers are quite often disciplined people. And I think that one of the things as a novelist that you do have is the discipline of a daily habit and a daily routine to do your work. You know, just simply because a novel is a long piece of work that if you don’t have the kind of discipline, it never gets written. I think most novelists that I know, in some degree, are very good at simply buckling down and simply getting on with it.

Peter Mayle got me started on reading again after a lull of 10 years when I was wasting away in Corporate Hell:

Normally I get up about 6:30 AM and take the dogs out for an hour. ….So I walk for an hour or so, think about what I’m going to write in the morning, come back have a little breakfast and I’m usually at the desk by a quarter to nine and I work without interruption until one o’clock. Then I stop and the rest of the day is devoted to lunch… and research in the afternoon that may be going to a winery or Arles or working in the garden. Then I look at what I wrote in the morning and wince and it’s time to go out for dinner or have friends in for dinner–

Unfortunately the common theme seems to be no magic formula but discipline and just getting down to it.  I guess I have to start chipping away at that block of wood.

About bookjunkie

Blogging about life in Singapore & recently cancer too.
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