November 14, 2010

NaNoWriMo - Day 14 - "Write fast and get through it"

You might consider him an unlikely source for writerly wisdom and inspiration, but Hunter S. Thompson knew how to twist and turn words (and reality) to suit his own needs, and how to crank out the pages.
My theory for years has been to write fast and get through it. I usually write five pages a night and leave them out for my assistant to type in the morning.
[asked about writers who claim they can't write under the influence of drugs or alcohol]
They lie. Or maybe you've been interviewing a very narrow spectrum of writers. It's like saying, “Almost without exception women we've interviewed over the years swear that they never indulge in sodomy”—without saying that you did all your interviews in a nunnery. Did you interview Coleridge? Did you interview Poe? Or Scott Fitzgerald? Or Mark Twain? Or Fred Exley? Did Faulkner tell you that what he was drinking all the time was really iced tea, not whiskey? Please. Who the fuck do you think wrote the Book of Revelation? A bunch of stone-sober clerics?
[asked about opening lines of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas]
[...] something else was written first, chronologically, but when I wrote that . . . well, there are moments . . . a lot of them happen when nothing else is going right . . . when you're being evicted from the hotel a day early in New York or you've just lost your girlfriend in Scottsdale. I know when I'm hitting it. I know when I'm on. I can usually tell because the copy's clean. [...] I never sit down and put on my white shirt and bow-tie and black business coat and think, Well, now's the time to write. I will simply get into it. [...] I'd say on a normal day I get up at noon or one. You have to feel sort of overwhelmed, I think, to start.
 You've got to be able to have pages in the morning. I measure my life in pages. If I have pages at dawn, it's been a good night. There is no art until it's on paper, there is no art until it's sold. If I were a trust-fund baby, if I had any income from anything else . . . even fucking disability from a war or a pension . . . I have nothing like that, never did. So, of course, you have to get paid for your work. I envy people who don't have to . . .

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