Bernard Malamud six steps to persisting and the real mystery to crack

Interviewer: What about work habits? Some writers, especially at the beginning, have problems settling how to do it.

Malamud: There’s no one way—there’s so much drivel about this subject. You’re who you are, not Fitzgerald or Thomas Wolfe. You write by sitting down and writing. There’s no particular time or place—you suit yourself, your nature. How one works, assuming he’s disciplined, doesn’t matter. If he or she is not disciplined, no sympathetic magic will help. The trick is to make time—not steal it—and produce the fiction. If the stories come, you get them written, you’re on the right track. Eventually everyone learns his or her own best way. The real mystery to crack is you.

To sum up Malamud’s advice for persisting:

  1. There’s no one way to persist.
  2. You do what you want done…by sitting down and doing it.
  3. You know you best – pick when and where works for you.
  4. Discipline is key.
  5. Block off time. Don’t just try to stuff it in.
  6. You are the real mystery to crack. You.

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