Sarah Barr

Writer, poet and teacher

A Room of My Own

Some writers need to hide away in a shed or in a remote croft on Orkney. Others, like Deborah Moggach, welcome interruptions as they write (not too many, she said). A small interruption – a phone call or dead-heading the flowers in the garden – can waken her brain up, a bit like switching a computer off and then on again. I’ve been listening to novelists talking on the Radio 4 series, ‘The Sins of Literature’. You can find these brilliant half-hour programmes on i-player where they should be available for a year. Will Self likes to write a couple of pages a day. His prose is ‘dense’ and layered so it takes time. I love the idea that he measures his writing in ‘Conrads’. Apparently Joseph Conrad wrote 800 words a day and this was enough to earn a good living. Many writers aim for 1000 words a day – a Conrad and a bit! I try to write this amount on a writing day but sometimes thinking is more important than writing. 

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