Thursday, January 08, 2009


Alex Danchev has a useful TLS piece on some new books about theatre. I need to start reading some of the critical stuff in this field for my notional new book project - really what I love reading is strange and wayward primary sources of all sorts, but my next book will need some sort of responsible methodological background, even if in the end it is scarcely visible in the book itself...

Really I have to finish this other book, though, before I can start thinking about my next one!

I am writing very steadily this week. I have strong thoughts about the enabling conditions for writing. One is that a quota system works for me, where once I'm writing (which is of necessity only a small proportion of my actual life, as it requires there not to be too many other demands on my attention) I just have to write X number of pages every day, from start to finish, and withhold all judgments concerning quality.

For this book I particularly needed a mental boost, and so I am writing just now with a very soft graphite pencil on the pages of a sketch book - it means that I can cover a lot of pages with a feeling of ease and power!


  1. Lots to be said for feelings of ease and power!

  2. I can kind of read that page, so thanks for the sneak peek! I just finished The Explosionist recently, and I'm looking forward to the next one!

  3. What about your book about how the novel works? Is that still planned?

  4. I don't know about you, but I -have- to write (generally essays, sometimes stories) a first draft on paper. I get all tangential and websurfy otherwise. I don't give a lick about grammar or even continuity in a draft. "Shut up and write the damn paper!" my profs used to say!

  5. Yes - I sometimes think it has begun to amount to a superstitious habit, but I always write a first draft on paper - it gives start-to-finishness and a sense of momentum and structure, and circumvents the temptation to skip hard parts and let certain bits get disproportionately well-crafted before the other parts have even been written. I strongly recommend it as an approach, though I do understand that different things suit different people...