Sunday, November 4, 2007

Aimee Bender on the writing process.

[Aimee Bender] So I am one of the ones with a very set regiment which uhm—And the way it happened for me is that I kind of didn't have, I mean I—I think about this a lot, coz I think it really affects the work—the technique sort of effects the work uhm But basically for a while I was kind of writing whenever I had the time, or whenever I felt inspired, and it had a very kind of serious feel to it, and when I went—I went to grad school, now twelve years ago, and I thought if I'm gonna be in grad school, I should write—I should try writing everyday.

And so I started with an hour and a half, and the rule I made myself was; I have to sit here for an hour and a half.—It was just the beginning of e-mail, for like, you know, many people like me, who were not on the cutting edge. So it was like telnet for the world of graduate school. So I would check e-mail first, but I would have maybe one e-mail from some other person that had e-mail. So it was very easy to check e-mail and then do the work.—And the rule was, I just have to sit there, and I could go to the bathroom. But other than that, you know, maybe get a little food, but no phone calls, no anything else uhm and it totally changed the way that I wrote because I got really bored, and suddenly instead of leaving when I was bored and doing something else, I had to kind of sit through the boredom, and on the other side of the boredom something would happen, and I would have to entertain myself coz I'm just stuck there. And so the writing got a lot weirder and it got funnier, which surprised me too. And it had more of a push to it? It just really helped it. It kind of charged it up in some way.

And then I've now extended it to two hours, but it—That's about my limit. I can sometimes do two hours fifteen, but basically I write down the time when I sit down. It's very anal, but it works for me. And then I get to stop then. And something about the steadiness has really helped. So sometimes people will say, Well, if you're on a roll, do you stop? But I stop. Somehow my sense of the steadiness is more important than if I'm on a given roll on a given day.

Authors@Google: Aimee Bender [0h:28m:50s]
June 22, 2007 at Google Headquarters in Mountain View, CA.

[Added 2007-11-26] An interview where she adds a couple of other details about the writing process.

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