Writers on Writing: Haruki Murakami

In his memoir What I Talk About When I Talk About Running Murakami covers training for marathons alongside reminiscences from his life and travels and, of course, his writing.

It’s a slim volume that captivated me even though I have no particular interest in running (apart from to admire the discipline and effort involved) and am more likely to grow a second head than to go for a jog.

I particularly liked this passage in which Murakami discusses the similarities between long distance running and writing a novel:

I stop every day right at the point where I feel I can write more. Do that, and the next day’s work goes suprisingly smoothly… To keep on going, you have to keep up the rhythm. This is the important thing for long-term projects. Once you set the pace, the rest will follow. The problem is getting the flywheel to spin at a set speed – and to get to that point takes as much concentration and effort as you can manage.

Do you agree? How important is pace to you?


2 responses to “Writers on Writing: Haruki Murakami”

  1. Claire 'Word by Word' Avatar

    I like Murakami and bought this for my non-reading, running husband, probably one of Murakami’s slimmest works, but he did manage to finish it and so will I one day, or will it be 1Q84 first, also waiting on the shelf for me to read?

    It certainly inspired his running, did it inspire you in your writing?

    Setting the pace for me isn’t as easy as that because I juggle multiple activities, so I just make the most of the hours I have, but I can’t imagine yet being able to stop when the pace is running smoothly, that takes some maturity and the establishment of a natural rhythm, which I am far from having currently, but certainly aspire to 🙂

    1. Sarah Avatar

      Hi Claire – thanks so much for dropping by and for your thoughtful comment. I’m like you; I aspire to the rhythm/pace that Murakami talks about but haven’t quite got there, yet! I definitely work better if I write everyday – it builds momentum and helps keep the story ‘alive’ – but I frequently get derailed from that goal. Hey ho. I’ll keep trying!