Archive for the ‘Book’ Category
6. Talent is a must.
No matter how much enthusiasm or effort you put into writing, if you totally lack writing talent, you can forget about being a writer. Murakami says this is more of a prerequisite than a necessary quality. The problem with talent though, is that you can’t control its amount or quality. Talent has a mind of its own and wells up when it wants to, but once it dries up, that’s it.
7. Focus. Focus. Focus.
For Murakami, focus is the ability to concentrate your limited talents on whatever’s critical at the moment. Without that, you can’t accomplish anything of value, while, if you can focus effectively, you’ll be able to compensate for an erratic talent or even a shortage of it. Murakami sits three to four hours at his desk every morning and just focus on writing – he doesn’t see anything else, he doesn’t think about anything else.
If you concentrate on writing three to four hours a day and feel tired after a week of this, you’re not going to be able to write a long work. Focus and endurance are different from talent. Murakami writes that you’ll naturally learn both concentration and endurance when you sit down every day at your desk and train yourself to focus on one point. You might not move your body around, but there’s grueling, dynamic labor going on inside you. A writer puts on an outfit called narrative and thinks with his entire being.
9. Write as you think about things.
Murakami shares that as he writes, he arranges his thoughts. Rewriting and revising takes his thinking down even deeper paths. No matter how much he writes, he never reaches a conclusion. And no matter how much he rewrites, he never reaches the destination. He tries to present a few hypotheses or paraphrase the issue or find an analogy between the structure of the problem and something else.
10. It is crucial that your writing attains the standards you’ve set for yourself.
Failure to reach that bar is not something you can easily explain away. When it comes to other people, you can always come up with a reasonable explanation, but you can’t fool yourself. For Murakami, writing novels and running full marathons are very much alike. Basically, a writer has a quiet, inner motivation, and doesn’t seek validation in the outwardly invisible.
11. It is important to take a break – sometimes.
But during deadlines, you have to tell yourself who’s the boss. When Murakami’s training for a race, he makes it clear to his muscles what’s expected of them. He maintains a certain tension by being unsparing, but not to the point where he burns out.
How do you write?
Do you agree with Murakami’s writing lessons? Why? Why not?
And here’s something to think about:
“I think certain types of processes don’t allow for any variation. If you have to be part of that process, all you can do is transform – or perhaps distort – yourself through that persistent repetition, and make that process a part of your reality.”
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
The following are from Haruki Murakami’s memoir, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. I shared the writing lessons cited in this book during my turn for our sharing insight session.
This sharing led to my teammates interest about the well-loved author Murakami, as well as ensued a spirited debate whether who among our team are creative writers or technical writers or hybrid.The verdict, I am a hybrid, considering my background in both journalistic, creative, and now, technical/business writing.
1. To keep on going, you have to keep up the rhythm.
For long-term projects, once you set the pace, the rest will follow. The problem is getting the flywheel to spin at a certain speed – and to get it to that point takes a much concentration and effort as you can manage.
2. It is not painful to be alone. Think of things to do by yourself. Solitude, is more or less, an inevitable circumstance.
Murakami spends an hour or two every day running alone, not speaking to anyone, as well as four to five hours alone at his desk. When he was young, he much preferred reading books on his own or concentrating on listening to music over being with someone else. He could always think of things to do by himself.
3. Being disliked by someone, hated or despised, somehow seems more natural.
For Murakami, as he has written novels over many years, he just can’t picture someone liking him on a personal level and he admits that he has no idea if it is ever possible for a professional writer to be liked by people.
4. Failure is not an option.
Give everything you have. Murakami’s strength is that he can work hard and take a lot physically. When he was to turn 30, he took a deep breath, gazed around him, glanced back at the steps he’d taken, contemplated the next stage, and considered he couldn’t be young anymore. Out of the blue, he thought of writing a novel.
5. It is sometimes hard to avoid losing.
We don’t want to make the same mistakes and put that lesson into practice the next time around – while we still have the ability to do that. (To continue)