Writing comes easily to some, less so to others. I have heard the two species of writers described as ‘gushers’ or ‘bleeders’. I am definitely among the bleeders – a daily target of 1000 words is like a daily Everest to climb. But I have been encouraged this week by reading Haruki Murakami’s book What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. It’s an odd and wonderful little book, a very personal collection of musings about running and novel writing, two daily disciplines which Murakami has woven into his life. Here is Murakami’s take on gushers and bleeders. If you’re a bleeder, take heart!
Writers who are blessed with inborn talent can freely write novels no matter what they do – or don’t do. Like water from a natural spring, the sentences just well up, and with little or no effort these writers can complete a work. Occasionally you’ll find someone like that, but, unfortunately, that category wouldn’t include me. I haven’t spotted any springs nearby. I have to pound the rock with a chisel and dig out a deep hole before I can locate the source of creativity. To write a novel I have to drive myself hard physically and use a lot of time and effort. Every time I begin another novel, I have to dredge out another new, deep hole. But as I’ve sustained this kind of life over many years, I’ve become quite efficient, both technically and physically, at opening a hole in the hard rock and locating a new water vein. So as soon as I noticed one water source drying up, I can move on right away to another. If people who rely on a natural spring of talent suddenly find they’ve exhausted their only source, they’re in trouble.