What I Want to be When I Grow Up...

With thanks to The Wonder Cabinet:

From Frederik Pohl's memoir, THE WAY THE FUTURE WAS:

"The times when a writer isn't writing are called "writer's slump." Everybody has it, at least now and then. Nobody, or nobody I know, is wholly successful at dealing with it. I don't know how to deal with it any more than anyone else, but what I do know is a way to postpone its happening, pretty well, most of the time, in a fashion that works, more or less, for me. What I do is set myself a daily quota of four pages. No more, no less; and I write those pages every day, no matter where I am, no matter how long it takes, if I die for it. Sometimes it takes forty-five minutes. Sometimes it takes eighteen hours. Sometimes I am reasonably satisfied with the words that go onto the paper, and quite a lot of the time I loathe them.

"but I DO them. If I miss, if I skip ONE DAY, the rhythm of the stride is broken and the shattered edifice of my life tumbles down on my head. So I do it every day, which means every day there is, including Saturdays, Sundays, Christmas, my birthday, the day I'm going to the dentisty to find out if I'm going to need a root-canal job, the day I fly to London, the day I am so badly hung over that my eyelashes bleed. I do my quota in airports, on boardwalk benches, and in commuter trains. I have been known to take my typewriter along on a weekend date. "Every day" means "every day,"and this is the first rule of writing for me."

12 May 2009


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