1 When still a child, make sure you read a lot of books. Spend more time doing this than anything else.
2 When an adult, try to read your own work as a stranger would read it, or even better, as an enemy would.
3 Don’t romanticise your “vocation”. You can either write good sentences or you can’t. There is no “writer’s lifestyle”. All that matters is what you leave on the page.
4 Avoid your weaknesses. But do this without telling yourself that the things you can’t do aren’t worth doing. Don’t mask self-doubt with contempt.
5 Leave a decent space of time between writing something and editing it.
6 Avoid cliques, gangs, groups. The presence of a crowd won’t make your writing any better than it is.
7 Work on a computer that is disconnected from the internet.
8 Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.
9 Don’t confuse honours with achievement.
10 Tell the truth through whichever veil comes to hand – but tell it. Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never being satisfied.
“Like any romantic, I had always been vaguely certain that sometime during my life I should come into a magic place (Tangier) which in disclosing its secrets would give me wisdom and ecstasy-perhaps even death.”
Paul Bowles, An Invisible Spectator – Biography
“…it’s much better to leave it for 24-hours, by which time your subconscious or whatever has solved the block and you’re ready to go on.”
‘I work all day, and get half drunk at night,’ Larkin wrote in his 1977 poem “Aubade”. A few years years later he described his real life (and not so dissimilar) routine to Paris Review
My Life is as simple as I can make it. Work all day cook, eat, wash-up, telephone, hack writing, drink, television in the evening. I almost never go out. I suppose everyone tries to ignore the passing of time-some people doing a lot, being in California one year and Japan he next. Or there’s my way-making everyday and every year exactly the same. Probably neither works.
Larkin worked as a librarian for almost his entire adult life, realizing early on that he would never be able to make a living from his writing alone. “I was brought up to think you had to have a job, and write in your spare time, like Trollope,” he said. Although he admitted to wondering what would have happened had he been able to write full time, he also thought two hours of composition in the evening, after dinner and the dishes, was plenty: “After that your going round in circles, and it’s much better to leave it for 24-hours, by which time your subconscious or whatever has solved the block and you’re ready to go on.”
Why do good things to bad people:
Refrain from harsh judgment it is an uneducated guess, and try to see the world as made up of individual with unique experiences, you don’t know every life as intimately as God does, there is a hidden narrative and a communication between them and God, when God shows his favours to what you deem an undeserving sinner when he saves them, He is teaching them to love, giving them hope while rewarding them for things you don’t know, or failed to imagine. Respect the diversity of experiences and respect the struggle.