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- author Jackie French

Sunday 17 October 2010

Guest Post - Andy Mulligan: On Writing

In this third guest post by author Andy Mulligan, we hear from the author about Writing. All these posts were written in the leadup to the recent release of his latest novel Trash. See the first post here and the second post here.

Hello again… I should not be writing this – I should be getting on with serious work. Or is a blog serious work? I feel guilty because I should be doing the edits for something else,  so I am back in the writing room, trying to stay focused.

Is a blog gossip? I know that it’s as enjoyable as gossip… and I’m grateful to my blog hosts as Trash is being taken out of boxes and put on the shelves worldwide!

 My writing room, in case you’re interested, is a bit like a cell, and that has to be the best space to write in. The only distraction is a glass of water. It’s three metres by three metres and it has one wardrobe, with nothing in it.

The venetian blinds are down, but if I open them I look onto concrete walls. I can hear the steady rush of Manila traffic rising from below, and that’s like white-noise, soft and constant.

There isn’t a picture on the wall, and there are just two sockets. One plugs in my laptop, and one plugs in the fan. If I get too hot I can put on the air-con, but that sounds like a steel-mill, so I try to do without it.

I enter the writing room at about ten in the morning, and try to stay there til about six. I let myself out for lunch, and the occasional cup of coffee – but I try to do between six or eight hours.

I can’t remember who told me to seek a room without a view, but they were dead right – if a bit miserable. Anyone reading this who writes will know how easy it is to get distracted. ‘I’ll just check my email!’ ‘I’ll just text the laundry-man!’ Then bigger distractions loom: ‘I’ll  just check the airfare to Bali and see if there’s a spa offering discounts…’

Close the door, and write – that’s what I say. And if it’s not going well, then write the rubbish out of your system, until it comes good. The pipes are bound to be a bit silted and soiled, so you have to let them run for a while to get the sediment out. Then, after some time, clean water emerges.

Do you wait for inspiration?

I don’t.

I sit down and write, because to get to the end of a day and have a few doodles is really depressing. I would much rather have 3,000 words of garbage. And then I can take them up to my favourite bar, which is a twenty minute de-compressing walk through the Manila mad-streets, and order a cool glass of wine, and look through what I’ve done.

OK it’s not the most social working day, and I couldn’t sustain it for more than a few weeks at a time. But it does get the job done.

So now, I am finished with this blog tour – and thanks for reading it… I’d better get back to the edits.

You can read more on Andy here.