Another By Prescription Only round has come and gone and I find myself in a whimsical mood so drift along with me, if you will, on some gentle breezes…

I sometimes like to daydream about the kind of days I’d have if I were a full-time writer. How would I structure my time? How many hours would I put in over the keyboard? Into planning? What kind of notes would I keep on current projects and would I have multiple ones running at once or limit myself to one at a time? Would I stick to a strict working day or let my writing life ebb and flow with the visits of my muse? (This involves even more flights of fancy as it means I have no duties at home and/or the actual space at home to be able to do something. (A home office! In Tokyo? Ahh, but to dream…))

The questions are of course a moot point but come back now and then when guys like Will Self write about their lives. (I think I last read something along these lines in a London Review of Books piece but my subscription has since lapsed and I don’t see the need to look it up.) Perhaps by virtue of his immense vocabulary and his willingness to show it off he has the luxury to write for a living, which he apparently does from very early in the morning in the comfort of his own writing room and on a typewriter and/or pencil and pad. (Take that technophiles!) I like the idea of typewriters more than their actuality and so I’d probably stick with my desktop. On the rare occasions when I do have a full day to give to writing I find that I can somewhat answer the above questions. I do in fact stick to regular working hours, put in about 7 hours of writing, and have found that even if inspiration is very far away the sheer act of starting to write usually generates its own flow, sometimes laboriously and sometimes freely and easily. A benefit of discipline? I suppose so, or maybe just a side effect of having sat down to write often enough that my body knows how to respond.

In an ideal situation I think I’d like to keep one fiction and one nonfiction project going at roughly the same time, just to give free reign to both sides of my brain and keep myself nice and confused. Who would read these works? It hardly matters, this is fantasy – Why not let it all hang out? And then at the end of the month I’d collect my paycheck merely for being human and alive. How was it that Bertrand Russell put it? (Back in 1918! See chapter 8.): “The World as it Could be Made“.

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One Comment

  1. Paul j Rogers
    Posted November 4, 2015 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    An enjoyable daydream – especially when factoring in all the ghastly chores modern ‘work’ manages to waste one’s life with. Seven hours a day is good in the Korean winter, but impossible in the summer, unless you’re a masochist. Still, I’ve been called worse.

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