Happy Birthday, Colm Tóibín, born 30 May 1955
Colm Tóibín’s 10 Rules for Writing Fiction
- Finish everything you start.
- Get on with it.
- Stay in your mental pyjamas all day.
- Stop feeling sorry for yourself.
- No alcohol, sex or drugs while you are working.
- Work in the morning, a short break for lunch, work in the afternoon and then watch the six o’clock news and then go back to work until bed-time. Before bed, listen to Schubert, preferably some songs.
- If you have to read, to cheer yourself up read biographies of writers who went insane.
- On Saturdays, you can watch an old Bergman film, preferably Personaor Autumn Sonata.
- No going to London.
- No going anywhere else either.
This advice first appeared in The Guardian
Five Quotes On Writing
- I write with a sort of grim determination to deal with things that are hidden and difficult and this means, I think, that pleasure is out of the question. I would associate this with narcissism anyway and I would disapprove of it.
- I do not care much about the mysteries of the universe, unless they come to me in words, or in music maybe, or in a set of colours, and then I entertain them merely for their beauty and only briefly.
- I work very deliberately, with a plan. But sometimes I come to a point that I planned as the end and it needs softening. Ending a novel is almost like putting a child to sleep – it can’t be done abruptly.
- Finish everything you start. Often, you don’t know where you’re going for a while; then halfway through, something comes and you know. If you abandon things, you never find that out.
- [The biggest myth about writing] is that there’s any wildness attached to it. Writing tends to be very deliberate. A novelist could probably run a military campaign with some success. They could certainly run a country.
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