Writer’s Routines

How Jhumpa Lahiri wrote “The Lowland.”

All contributors to this site can appreciate the concerns of a professional writer and her daily routines related to writing.  Our writing is always brief, and by definition for the format meant to be more casual, but it still requires discipline and effort.  Writers should write, yes, even when it is “just” a weblog like this one. But how? Routines matter.  It is worth hearing in her own words one great writer’s comments on this:

…During a visit to Lahiri’s house in Brooklyn (she currently lives full-time in Rome), we asked how she went about writing the book. She explained that “The Lowland” gestated for a decade before she attempted a draft. “You know, there’s this romantic notion that one sits down at one’s desk, and picks up a pen or opens the computer, and within a few months the novel is done.” For Lahiri, “it’s always been a series of fits and starts.” Recalling an interview with Samuel Beckett, who said that his aim was to write without a style, she talked about her struggle to achieve simplicity. “Even when I look back at my work, I feel frustrated, that it was too fussy. How many words do you really need to get your message across? I still feel that I have a ways to go before arriving at something that feels really … truly pure.”

But Lahiri also spoke about the pleasure of submitting to the forceful pull of narrative: when she sits down to write, she never knows exactly where the story will go. “It’s a very mysterious process.”

5 thoughts on “Writer’s Routines

  1. The comment on “too many words being needed” rings even truer for the current generation and the rising generation — Contemporary youth is growing up with more informal vocabulary than has ever existed before and it’s harder for people to pick and choose words wisely.

    When writing anything it should always be preferred to use fewer words over more to get a point across because it will keep reader’s attentions more effectively. Bare-bonesing it all and being brutally honest, being able to use less words basically makes you sound more intelligent.

    Of course, this all exists in certain contexts and cannot be applied for absolutely everything.

  2. Pingback: Thanks For Your Notes, Tom |

  3. Pingback: Science Writers’ Craft | Raxa Collective

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s