Showing Up

Crap on My Desk
Photo Credit: Terry Johnston via Compfight

“If you tell yourself you are going to be at your desk tomorrow, you are by that declaration asking your unconscious to prepare the material. You are, in effect, contracting to pick up such valuables at a given time. Count on me, you are saying to a few forces below: I will be there to write. The point is, that you have to maintain trustworthy relations. If you wake up in the morning with a hangover and cannot get to the literary work, your unconscious, after a few such failures to appear, will withdraw.”

Two Hats

Colourful army
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: maistora via Compfight

“I have a strict controlling governor present during the first draft of a book. I write as if it were a rehearsal, I attempt to try out everything … I’m continually being fed and diverted by the possibilities from the world around me—chance anecdotes overheard, the texture within a rumour … When writing I reject nothing … I do this till I have a complete but rough first draft, by which time I’ve discovered the story. I then put on a different hat … and I start eliminating the wrong notes, the repetitions, the trails that go nowhere, I start merging and tightening the work … at this stage three scenes can become one. I take this process as far as I can. There are numerous drafts.”

Well-Dressed Writing


“Everyone who writes strives for the same thing. To say it swiftly, clearly, to say the hard thing that way, using few words. Not to gum up the paragraph. To know when to quit when you’ve done. And not to have hangovers of other ideas sifting in unnoticed. Good writing is precisely like good dressing. Bad writing is like a badly dressed woman— improper emphasis, badly chosen colors.