‘After the Quake’, by Haruki Marakami was reviewed by Richard Williams in the Guardian Review

I relate to his writing routine, up at 4.00 a.m., write for five hours then head off for a jog, though in my case I’d go for a swim. The rest of the day could then be given to shopping, making meals, collecting kids from schools and any after-school activities, then getting them to bed before I sleep too. I put this to Darlingest and she agrees we can give it a go, she goes further by saying ‘this is my last chance,’ after which we’ll have to have a ‘serious talk’. i.e. we try again to resolve my depression/alcoholism and get me back into fulltime employment or working freelance. Haruki Murakami kept up this routine for six months, weekends included, to get his latest novel written; he doesn’t have kids then?

‘I worked every day for 180 days until I finished the first draft. Then I took a rest for one month. I rewrote for probably two months. I took another rest. Ans then rewrote again for one month.’

He does a marathon every year. Richard Williams, the reviewer, suggests that Murakami’s ‘efforts to keep fit appear to indicate that he sees creativity as a muscle as much as a gift.’

‘I make it a practice to sit at the desk every day, even if I don’t write anything. I just sit at the desk with the keyboard and my hands spread out in front of me. Its a kind of custom for me.’

Haruki Marakami describes his writing and approach to writing as ‘a kind of free improvisation. I never plan. I never know what the next page is going to be. Many people don’t believe me. But that’s the fun of writing a novel or a story, because I don’t know what’s going to happen next. I’m searching for melody after melody. Sometimes once I start I can’t stop. It’s just like spring water.

I have some tough days ahead

I have a new routine though. I will get up at 4.00 a.m. write for five hours, then go for the swim; the rest of the day will be given to the family. I hope I will not drink, not a can or two of lager, not a can of gin and tonic, just lots of bottled Evian. I may even give up coffee.


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