essay by Haruki Murakami on craft

Fi Webster

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I've read most of Haruki Murakami's fiction, so I found this new essay he wrote about his craft very interesting.

Even if you haven't read him, he articulates some useful notions about how to free yourself to write in an original way.
 
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alltheashes

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I've only read (and loved) A Wild Sheep Chase, but this was a wonderful read. Hearing about his creative process, how he came to find his voice, how we're at "similar" places in our lives, is downright inspirational.

"Ultimately, I learned that there was no need for a lot of difficult words – I didn’t have to try to impress people with beautiful turns of phrase."

He's right that creating simple, compelling work is easier said than done, but I appreciate the approach he suggests of altering your framing:

"... it’s probably best not to start out by asking “What am I seeking?” Rather, it’s better to ask “Who would I be if I weren’t seeking anything?”"

If nothing else, it increases my desire to read more of his work (was thinking Hard-Boiled Wonderland), viewed through the lens this essay provides, and maybe picking up more of his essays.

Thanks for sharing this article!
 
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Fi Webster

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He's right that creating simple, compelling work is easier said than done, but I appreciate the approach he suggests of altering your framing:
"... it’s probably best not to start out by asking 'What am I seeking?' Rather, it’s better to ask 'Who would I be if I weren’t seeking anything?'"

I agree that it's helpful to shift away from the perspective of desires and goals into the perspective of wide-open possibility.

Not only in writing, but in life.
 
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Iustefan

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Thank you for sharing this!

I liked his story about finding his voice. It reminds me of Beckett who wrote the Trilogy in French, I believe, for a similar reason. A need to strip himself of his native language in order to find something barer, and more concrete. Beckett actually wrote the entire novels in French though, and then translated them back into English himself.

I think that finding a voice is the most important first step for any writer. I know I'm still working on it. But it's been a goal for a long time.

As for Murakami himself, I enjoy his earlier work much more than his more recent stories. Early on it felt like his writing really was like improv jazz, while lately it feels much more constructed and formal. Especially his first novel, which he talks about in this essay, felt very free and fun.
 
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I have read Norwegian Wood and his memoir but will get around to reading his other works. I do have 'The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle' on my nightstand so I will get to reading that. So this essay is new huh? Didn't see that coming.
 

kodak

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Thank you for sharing this!

I liked his story about finding his voice. It reminds me of Beckett who wrote the Trilogy in French, I believe, for a similar reason. A need to strip himself of his native language in order to find something barer, and more concrete. Beckett actually wrote the entire novels in French though, and then translated them back into English himself.

I think that finding a voice is the most important first step for any writer. I know I'm still working on it. But it's been a goal for a long time.

As for Murakami himself, I enjoy his earlier work much more than his more recent stories. Early on it felt like his writing really was like improv jazz, while lately it feels much more constructed and formal. Especially his first novel, which he talks about in this essay, felt very free and fun.

Yeah, agreed. I prefer his older works. His writing really mirrors his musical interests. His early stuff is improv jazz, as you say; Norwegian Wood is obviously melancholic Beatles, and 1Q84 is an attempt at a classical symphony.