Colm Tóibín

Literary Birthday – 30 May – Colm Tóibín


Colm Tóibín’s 10 Rules for Writing Fiction

  1. Finish everything you start.
  2. Get on with it.
  3. Stay in your mental pyjamas all day.
  4. Stop feeling sorry for yourself.
  5. No alcohol, sex or drugs while you are working.
  6. 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.
  7. If you have to read, to cheer yourself up read biographies of writers who went insane.
  8. On Saturdays, you can watch an old Bergman film, preferably Personaor Autumn Sonata.
  9. No going to London.
  10. No going anywhere else either.

This advice first appeared in The Guardian

Five Quotes On Writing

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. [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.

Colm Tóibín is a multi-award-winning Irish novelist, short story writer, essayist, playwright, journalist, critic, and, most recently, poet. He is the author of Brooklyn and The Testament of Mary.

Source for Image

by Amanda Patterson

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