The Writing Process According To…Vol. 3

June 18, 2019

Every author has a different writing process. By researching some famous authors, it was interesting to see how each one differs in their individual approaches. We are continuing this series by investigating more of our favorite writers.

 

Haruki Murakami is an early riser who often starts writing at 4 am. After writing for several hours, he takes a break for physical activity – either running or swimming. He believes that repetition and routine is the key to writing a successful novel.

Notable works: Norwegian Wood, A Wild Sheep Chase, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

Quote: “There’s no such thing as perfect writing, just like there’s no such thing as perfect despair.”

 

Joan Didion writes during the day, then reviews her writing and takes notes before dinner with a drink. She believes that once she has her first sentence, then she has her story: “What’s so hard about that first sentence is that you’re stuck with it. Everything else is going to flow out of that sentence. And by the time you’ve laid down the first two sentences, your options are all gone.”

Notable works: Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Play It as It Lays, Salvador

Quote: “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.”

 

Jack Kerouac liked to sleep in and write through the night by candlelight: “The desk in the room, near the bed, with a good light, midnight till dawn, a drink when you get tired, preferably at home, but if you have no home, make a home out of your hotel room or motel room or pad: peace.

Notable Works: On the Road, Big Sur, The Dharma Bums

Quote: “Don’t use the phone. People are never ready to answer it. Use poetry”

 

Ray Bradbury didn’t need to follow a routine to write, simply because he enjoyed writing that much: “My passions drive me to the typewriter every day of my life, and they have driven me there since I was twelve. So I never have to worry about schedules. Some new thing is always exploding in me, and it schedules me, I don’t schedule it. It says: Get to the typewriter right now and finish this.

Notable works: Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man

Quote: “We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.”

 

John Steinbeck believed in the simple act of writing one page each day then correcting and rewriting once completely done, as to not interfere with writing flow. Everything Steinbeck believed in stemmed from avoiding the feeling of being overwhelmed: “The simplest way to overcome this is to write it to someone, like me. Write it as a letter aimed at one person. This removes the vague terror of addressing the large and faceless audience and it also, you will find, will give a sense of freedom and a lack of self-consciousness.

Notable works: Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath

Quote: “Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.”

 

 

 

 

To learn more about the writing process of some of your favorite authors, check out our previous posts in this series, here and here!

 

 

 

Sources:

https://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/2/haruki-murakami-the-art-of-fiction-no-182-haruki-murakami

https://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/3439/joan-didion-the-art-of-fiction-no-71-joan-didion

https://invisiblechildren.com/blog/2013/01/08/the-daily-routines-of-famous-writers/

https://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/11/20/daily-routines-writers/

https://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/11/20/daily-routines-writers/

https://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/4156/john-steinbeck-the-art-of-fiction-no-45-continued-john-steinbeck

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