I try to write about 1,000 words a day in longhand and then edit it very carefully later before I type it out. I have been known to stop in the middle of a sentence sometimes when I’ve reached my limit. But self-discipline is enormously important — you can’t rely on inspiration or a novel would take ten years.
I always prepare a very detailed synopsis before I start writing. Sometimes this will be anything up to 30,000 words in length. It’s just me working out my story and my cast. I once did one for a book called The Unlimited Dream Company where the synopsis was longer than the book.
I’ve lived in Shepperton in Middlesex for the past 40 years. I live alone now that my children have grown up. I write in my sitting-room on a large table, popular with my neighbour’s cats. I start at around 10am, and work until 1pm.
— J.G. Ballard (2000)
He is one of my favourite writers. So sad he’s gone. “Empire of the Sun” and “The Kindness of Women” effected me enormously in my earlier years. The man experienced so many unique and difficult situations and shared them effortlessly with his readers. I think he had an iron pole running the length of his spine; his self-discipline and a certain British Bulldog attitude made him – and the rest of his generation – a much admired crowd. Thanks for the article, Bill.