Writing Lessons from Haruki Murakami
Haruki Murakami is a writer of unusual origins. The Japanese writer found his calling while watching a football match and before that, he had never considered becoming a writer. The author is notorious for leading a private life while also baring it all to his readers.
From writing his first novel at a kitchen table to redefining the prerequisites of becoming a writer, there’s much to learn from him about writing.
How to compose a novel?
Murakami launched his writing career, with the novel ‘Hear the Wind Sing’ that went on to win a literary prize. He is among a few of the authors that acknowledge luck as a factor in their success. He reflects that to become a writer it is essential to have a reading habit.
But what for?
Murakami explains that reading is how we understand the composition of a novel. Aspiring writers must learn how to observe the details that others let slip away. And in doing so, they must know how these details are captured.
Murakami is famously known for disregarding the faculty of literature and its ability to provide specialized knowledge of writing a novel. He notes “Aren’t all of us living pieces of literature? We belong to different genres.”
How to store ideas?
Many writers claim the power of writing their ideas and observation down in a notebook and Murakami is one of them. He believes in the natural selection of what should be remembered and what must disappear. According to him, the ability to collect and store the right material is the most important part of writing a story.
How to use language as a weapon?
Murakami is well known for his straying from the path of Japanese writing and sticking to English prose. He is an avid believer in using words that are best suited to us as writers and reflect how we see things.
Murakami teaches us to not worry about using the best words but the right words. Words that you would have at your disposal were you to tell the same story to a friend. He is much like Hemingway as he does not idealize the first draft but simply advocates for writing something that can be polished later.
Writing for yourself
Murakami’s work can be best described as ‘writing for oneself’. He famously quotes ” you cannot please everyone, so better please yourself.”
But that doesn’t take away from the fact that Murakami is easily one of the most disciplined writers of his time; easily fits into the ranks of Stephen King and Margaret Atwood. His writing routine consists of 4-5 hours in the morning and he strives to write 10 pages worth of writing in his daily sessions.
This made for a routine almost rigid in its stability. One that most would find daunting but the habit of achieving a daily word count is not unheard of among famous writers.
What does that say about the originality and creativity of his work?
Writing and Imagination.
Murakami’s take on imagination is quite fascinating. He believes that to be considered an original writer, one must possess a distinguished style of storytelling that has been developed over the years.
He believes that achieving this unique style can at times risk the not being taken seriously, much like Buckowski, who ultimately became a genre of his own because of how unique his style of writing is.
Haruki Murakami is popular for his ability to immerse readers in a magical atmosphere through his words. Among his most famous works include Norwegian Wood, Desire: Vintage Minis and Kafka on the shore.
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