What Is The Key To Successful Writing?


Salman Rushdie was asked if the key to writing is inspiration.  This was his answer:

It’s not inspiration.  I think inspiration is nonsense, actually.  Every so often, I mean like one day in 20 or something, you will have a day when the work seems to just flow out of you and you feel lucky.  I mean you feel and often surprised and you don’t quite know why it is working like that. And on days like that it’s easy to believe in a kind of inspiration, but most of the time it’s not like that.  Most of the time it’s…  I mean I wish there were more of those days, but most of the time it’s a lot slower and more exploratory and it’s more a process of discovering what you have to do than just simply have it arrive like a flame over your head. 

So I do think it’s to do with concentration, not inspiration.  It’s to do with paying attention and I think the business of writing a great deal of it is the business of paying attention to your characters, to the world they live in, to the story you have to tell, but just a kind of deep attention and out of that if you pay attention properly the story will tell you what it needs.

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