“When I’m in writing mode for a novel, I get up at four a.m. and work for five to six hours. In the afternoon, I run for ten kilometers or swim for fifteen hundred meters (or do both), then I read a bit and listen to some music. I go to bed at nine p.m.
I keep to this routine every day without variation. The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind.
But to hold to such repetition for so long — six months to a year — requires a good amount of mental and physical strength. In that sense, writing a long novel is like survival training. Physical strength is as necessary as artistic sensitivity.”
– Haruki Murakami
It feels slightly hypocritical for me to write about this author, as I must admit that I’ve never read any of his books. I’ve heard of him, certainly, who hasn’t? But now that I’ve studied him a bit, I will definitely be checking out his work.
I found quite a few of his quotations to be inspiring and thought provoking, as many of them are based on two things I’m close to: Writing and running. Now, I’m not a runner. Oh no. Not even close. But my brother is a top-level runner (and now a coach) who was state and nationally ranked all through high school and college, so I know the sport to the ground. So, for instance, when he says things like, “Exerting yourself to the fullest within your individual limits: that’s the essence of running, and a metaphor for life – and for me, for writing as well.” it really resonates with me, as I’ve seen runners push themselves to their individual limits over and over again through the years.
The thing I think I will take away from this writer is a sense of the massive importance of discipline. He didn’t begin writing until the age of twenty-nine, but his Wikipedia bibliography goes on for miles. He didn’t begin running until he was thirty-three, but now he became a serious marathon runner and triathlete. You don’t attain those levels without serious discipline.
Mad respect, dude.
This post is the third in a series based on this article by James Clear, featuring quotes and reflections on the routines of twelve famous authors.