What It Means to Be a Writer (2)

Throughout the process of writing, I deliberately shift between the right-brain intuitive mode and the left-brain rational mode. Broadly speaking, the intuitive side creates, the rational side revises and corrects. Sometimes the shift from one mode to the other happens by itself, sparked by the needs of the moment or an inspiration. I welcome those moments and passively allow my inner writer to do his thing.

I know a book or story is finished when I can’t find anything more to correct or improve and when, most important, it moves me deeply after a long spell when I haven’t looked at or thought about the text.

My books, on average, have taken me fourteen years to complete. But I always work on multiple books at once. And it’s clear to me that I have to speed up—I have at least two more books to write, and I’m not a young man. Acceleration probably will happen by itself. I spent fewer years on my most recent book, Secretocracy, than on any before it. Necessity is a great teacher.

When I read what I’ve written here about the writing process, it doesn’t feel accurate. What I experience is living in a dream-like state where some force outside myself commands me to put words on paper. The mechanics are trivial. The inspiration is urgent.

So I will continue to let that commanding voice tell me what to write. And I’ll devote my waking hours to getting words on paper. It’s what I was born for.

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