Haruki Murakami on writing and running

Thanks to Oliver Belcher for the link – a piece about novelist Haruki Murakami’s views on writing and running. What does a novelist/writer need? For Murakami, it’s three things – talent, focus and endurance.

Fortunately, these two disciplines—focus and endurance—are different from talent, since they can be acquired and sharpened through training. You’ll naturally learn both concentration and endurance when you sit down every day at your desk and train yourself to focus on one point. This is a lot like the training of muscles I wrote of a moment ago. You have to continually transmit the object of your focus to your entire body, and make sure it thoroughly assimilates the information necessary for you to write every single day and concentrate on the work at hand. And gradually you’ll expand the limits of what you’re able to do. Almost imperceptibly you’ll make the bar rise. This involves the same process as jogging every day to strengthen your muscles and develop a runner’s physique. Add a stimulus and keep it up. And repeat. Patience is a must in this process, but I guarantee results will come.

The views are an excerpt from his short memoir What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, which I bought on the strength of this. A really interesting and illuminating discussion. I don’t think you need to be a runner to appreciate it – I could simply replace many of his running examples with cycling, for instance… (He does talk about cycling a bit in relation to triathlons).

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1 Response to Haruki Murakami on writing and running

  1. Pingback: “Most of what I know about writing I’ve learned through running every day.” by Composition and Research

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