Thursday, January 21, 2010

The novelist's apprentice...

Pretty much every day I discover something new about writing. One step forward, three steps back. If my learning curve could be graphed, it would look something like this:
Stephen King, in his book On Writing, says he writes 10 pages a day without fail. Even when he's on holidays.
Truman Capote wrote lying down, either on the couch or in his bed. He wrote longhand for the first couple of drafts and then switched to a typewriter, balancing it on his knees while horizontal.
Vladimir Nabokov wrote standing up. For his novels LolitaAda and Pale Fire he wrote all his scenes on index cards so he could work non-sequentially and mix things around at will. That's a lot of index cards. I think I would get totally confused.
Ernest Hemingway's target was a modest 500 words a day. He rose early to write in the cool and peace of dawn. And he never wrote when he was drunk, which perhaps explains the two previous points.
James Joyce wasn't known for setting himself a daily word or page count. He preferred to let the words come to him in their own good time. Asked by a friend once if he'd had a good day writing, he replied with a satisfied smile, 'Yes'. 'How many words did you write?' 'Three sentences.' 
Rubyfire writes at the break of dawn. Or in the afternoon. On her grandfather's recliner chair. At her walnut workbench in her writing room. On the aeroplane. At a cafe surrounded by hubbub and chatter. In bed until lunchtime. At the pub. In the bush. Listening to soft music but only if it has no lyrics. Longhand. On her computer. 1000 words a day. A couple of paragraphs. But the story is unfolding... and will get there eventually, no matter what.
For deep concentration and productivity I like my writing room best, although I'm on the lookout for a more comfy chair...
Where do you write? And can you recommend a great chair?
My writing room (Looking way too tidy. In real life there are piles of books and journals everywhere. Photo magic.)
Top: artwork Curves, Anne Naylor 

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