10-Minute Writer's Workshop: Olivia Laing

Apr 13, 2016

On this episode, author, columnist and critic Olivia Laing. Her most recent work, The Lonely City, is part memoir, part searching exploration of loneliness and artists whose outsider experience inspired and fed  their creativity - from seeming social gadfly Andy Warhol to the reclusive Henry Darger. She is also the author of To the River and The Trip to Echo Spring.

 
 

Credit Sara Plourde

What's harder to write - the first sentence or the last?

Oh, I think the first and the last are the easiest bits, it's everything else! [Laughs] I always love the last sentence; I always feel like it's a real downhill joyous run, the last, maybe, three pages of the book are the absolute high, but the rest are absolute misery.

Are there any personal habits you would encourage others to take up - or to avoid - to be more productive?

I'll confess my personal habit, but I'm not saying anyone should do it - I've written my last three books in bed. I like to write lying down! I'm not the only person...Truman Capote did it, Colette did it, but yeah...it's a shameful habit.

Since we're on shameful habits, do you have a personal worst distraction from getting work done?

Oh, god, the internet. Yeah...once I'm deeply in a book and I'm struggling with it, I'll spend 24 hours a day online to just distract myself. I'll go online between every single word that I manage to type. It's amazing I write books so fast, considering how much dreadful time I waste.

Do you ever pretend that that's just doing research?

Yup! Always.

Listen for the full interview!