Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Haruki Murakami on Running and Writing

Haruki Murakami on Running and Writing:

Right now I'm aiming at increasing the distance I run, so speed is less of an issue. As long as I can run a certain distance, that's all I care about. Sometimes I run fast when I feel like it, but if I increase the pace I shorten the amount of time I run, the point being to let the exhilaration I feel at the end of each run carry over to the next day. This is the same sort of tack I find necessary when 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 surprisingly smoothly. I think Ernest Hemingway did something like that. 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.

From Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running: A Memoir (2008) (translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel).

10 comments:

bookchronicle said...

I'm definitely looking forward to picking up this book on my next day off.

Suko said...

Yay! You're back.

Timely post, as I have just started running again (well, jogging), and agree that it's quite energizing and helpful to creativity.

I'm expecting your book, All in This Together Girls, any day in the mail.

Kathy said...

An interesting thought. In the past I've approached projects as if I had to use up all of the creativity and ideas and momentum I had right then before it went away. Maybe I should try it this way.

bloglily.com said...

Welcome back! I read this piece in the NYT with enormous interest -- he seems like such a modest person, and his books sound wonderful. I can't wait to read them.

JCR said...

I haven't visited here in a while... please forgive me. I got Murakami's book a couple of weeks ago... he is one of my favorite contemporary authors. I am a runner as well, so the interest in this volume is two-fold. I am holding off for a couple of weeks until Paul Auster's "Man in the Dark" comes out. This will be my second year in a row in which my two favorite authors have published back-to-back... what a thrill... hope you are well (You are still prominently displayed in my blog roll- :-)

Seachanges said...

I seem to have missed this post somewhow - apologies. I definitely want to get this book: it's on my wishlist. I love Murakami's books and in particular his short stories. The reviews are excellent.

Dorothea said...

I was very disappointed in this book - both as a runner and a reader. My thoughts can be found at www.living2read.com posted Sept 10, 2008.

DeWitt Henry said...

I hadn't heard about Murakami's book, for news of which, thanks. I've had my own say about running and writing in SAFE SUICIDE, which I think you would enjoy: http://www.amazon.com/SAFE-SUICIDE-DeWitt-Henry/dp/1597091006/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1214505459&sr=8-1

For me, the most important connection between art and running is "no mindedness," which I also touch on in my story, "Embodiment": http://www.nerve.com/Fiction/Henry/embodiment/

DeWitt Henry said...

Have you seen PERSONAL RECORD: A LOVE AFFAIR WITH RUNNING by Rachel Toor, just out from Univ. of Nebraska Press? See www.nebraskapress.unl.edu

Anna said...

This is a great book and really inspiring from a writer and runner perspective....I rally want that discipline!
Anyone who is interested in the book might find this video review of it quite entertaining - http://www.completelynovel.com/articles/53