10 things I learned from Novelist as a Vocation by Haruki Murakami
1. He maintains that novelists are not as “smart” as other people: it affects the pace of the novel
He says that some critics are "smarter" and perceive the novel at the wrong pace and thus miss the point
2. Unlike athletes or musicians novelist don’t need any special training
Anyone can do it but not many can make a long term living from it.
3. He was nominated for prizes for his first novels
He was writing these while keeping his day job.
4. He is bilingual (at least?) in Japanese and English and developed a style of translating between the two
5. Prizes don’t matter, books that stand the test of time do
The people that are willing to pay for his work mean more to him than the literary world and prizes
6. Even though he does not like prizes, his prizewinning work launched his career
His day job was running a jazz club until he won prizes. For someone that does not like prizes, he benefited a lot from them.
7. A new writer worth paying attention to comes along every 5 years. Some prizes are given twice a year.
8. Originality can only be measured by the passage of time
If Works are generally forgotten after time, then it is partially due to a lack of originality. His point is that he feels that artists like the Beatles and the Beach boys were original and the fact that they are still reference today points to their originality. he does not really address people that are original and unusual, but not universally popular, like people from avant-garde movements. Being original, and being high quality, and being popular is a pretty rare Triple Crown to have.
9. He never experiences writers block because he only writes novels when he is inspired. However…
He keeps active with a number of side hustles, including translation and editing. So his novel writing is pure, artistic expression, and he has other jobs that are related and that he is working on his writing skills, but they are more mechanical in nature, and don't require the same type of thought.
this is an interesting contrast to other novelists that I know a little bit about that would write as if it was a typical day job for eight hours at a time, no matter what.
I imagine there are parallels to visual artists or musical composers. Some write, only when the muse strikes them, and others write as a daily activity as you would for any other typical job.
10. Writes as if composing jazz
He's a big fan of jazz music, but not a musician. He approaches his writing as if he is playing jazz. He just lets the ideas flow through him and tries to maintain a rhythm. He considers ideas to be like harmonies or solos, depending on what he is writing.