Survival Instinct

All writers must get this, right? When you sink lower and lower into the foxhole and live in the perpetual world of your book. It has to happen, or else the book doesn’t get written.

I’m in deep right now, foetal position. Barely conscious of what’s going on around me. Taciturn to the point of muteness. The only people I am willing to talk to are my loved ones. I’ve got to keep the foxhole free of pests. Not that other people are pests. I just need to see them like that in order to focus.

This can’t be my own personal affliction? It’s got my particular bent, but it has to be universal. I’m not some lone voice in the wild? Can’t be. Plus, I’ll crawl out of he foxhole when it’s time to foxtrot. When the book’s finished. Until then….I’m in two worlds. But I’m more of a shadow in the diurnal reality right now and a very strong presence in the fictitious one.

Jesus, if you disturbed me now, I might swear at you in German! (That’s because my novel in set in the Third Reich.)

It’s like some pleasurable narcotic. And makes life so much more exciting.

Here’s some sound and sexy writing advice from Philip Pullman:

One: Work every day. Get into the habit of it. Work when you don’t feel like it, when you’ve just broken up with your girlfriend or boyfriend, when you’re feeling ill, when you’ve got homework to do. Put your work first. Habit is your greatest ally. Get into the habit of writing when you’re young and it’ll stay with you. Sixteen is a very good age to start.

Two: Find out what way of working (place, time, writing instrument, desk light, and so on) suits you, and insist that you get it.

Three: Don’t listen to anyone who tells you you should study what the public wants, and give it to them. They don’t know what they want, or they’d be writing it themselves. It’s not their job to tell you what to write. It’s your job to write something they could never have thought of, and then offer it to them.


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