Sunday, June 2, 2013

"… habit is a wonderful friend."

From: John Atkinson Fine & Rare Books

"…'I soon realised that English at Oxford was a different sort of thing, and I wasn’t very good at it, and furthermore that it would be of little or no help if I wanted to write myself.'
     In retrospect, Pullman would have 'stopped doing an intellectual subject altogether and taken up cabinet-making. I think I’d have been quite good at that. I would still have written, of course, but I’d have been able to earn a living doing something physical and craftsman-like, which, much later in life, I discovered I liked a lot.'
     'If such a thing as a creative writing course had existed in those days, anywhere, I would no doubt have applied for that. But,' he continues, 'I don’t think that would have done me much good either. We teach ourselves the most important things, or we don’t learn them at all.' I ask him what he thinks would constitute a good creative writing course. After a few moments he comes up with a suggestion. There is an old superstition, he says, that if you sleep on top of a specific mountain in Wales you wake up either mad or a poet. Why don’t we pack aspiring writers off to Cader Idris with a sleeping bag and see what happens?
     Despite a successful career, Philip Pullman is remarkably humble about writing as a profession. He doesn’t believe in inspiration, claiming it hits him only two or three days a year. 'The only thing that makes you a writer is the habit of writing every day.' He laughs at writer’s block – 'I write three pages a day, by hand, as I have done for forty-five years. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s hard, but habit is a wonderful friend.' For him, 'the major edit comes later.' What is important is the discipline."
— April Peake, Molly Brown,

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