Happy Confinement

Sam Andersson in his classic New York Times Magazine article from Oct 21, 2011 describes Haruki Murakami’s writing schedule as follows:

For 30 years now, he has lived a monkishly regimented life, each facet of which has been precisely engineered to help him produce his work. He runs or swims long distances almost every day, eats a healthful diet, goes to bed around 9 p.m. and wakes up, without an alarm, around 4 a.m. — at which point he goes straight to his desk for five to six hours of concentrated writing. (Sometimes he wakes up as early as 2.) He thinks of his office, he told me, as a place of confinement — “but voluntary confinement, happy confinement.”


Murakami, in his book What I Talk About When I Talk About Writing describes his writing life in even greater detail. I highly recommend both the above article and this book to anyone writing for a living - even if you’re not a fan of his novels or short stories.

I haven’t read all of his books - not even close to (so far my favourites are 1Q84, A Wild Sheep Chase, and his Birthday Stories). But a clipping of this quote from the New York Times has been hanging on my doorframe for a long time now. As a reminder to myself. As a role model.