I am currently reading “The Writer’s Desk” by Jill Krementz. In this beautiful book she took photographs of prominent authors at their desks and accompanying each photo provided the writer’s own commentary on their writing life or process.
Sometimes I beat myself up for not keeping a journal, not writing when I travel, going long periods and not producing, choosing instead to follow the other parts of my life that I believe on the whole, make me a better writer.
After reading this book, I feel less guilty about how I choose to practice my craft. There are as many ways to do it, as there are writers. I was especially moved by what author Susan Sontag shared. It is a path I can identify with.
“Getting started is partly stalling, stalling by way of reading and listening to music, which energizes me and also makes me restless. Feeling guilty about not writing….But once something is really under way, I don’t want to do anything else. I don’t go out, much of the time I forget to eat, I sleep very little. It’s a very undisciplined way of working and makes me not very prolific. But I’m too interested in many other things.
Writing requires huge amounts of solitude. What I’ve done to soften the harshness of that choice is that I don’t write all the time. I like to go out – which includes traveling. I can’t write when I travel. I like to talk. I like to listen. I like to look and to watch. Maybe I have an Attention Surplus Disorder. The easiest thing in the world for me is to pay attention.”