The pain and joy of writing

Writer's block afflicts everyone, but to write is a discipline, as well as freedom, wonder and an ache

In the bottom drawer of my new desk is an old bottle of fake inspiration - Jack Daniels. This is not habit but more homage to typewriter-thumping scribes of another time. Some writers believed alcohol moistens the imagination but, in fact, it makes me sleepy. Anyway, this is an office and rules apply, but please understand, in the pursuit of the fluent sentence, we'll try anything. Think of it as emergency provisions.

In truth, I prefer 9am and the muffled silence of my carpeted office. Outside my window, a palm tree gently waves a frond in greeting. I look up into the blue of an April sky as if it has ideas. On assignment, journalists write in lurching cars, in barely lit parking lots and surrounded by an irate crowd. I wonder what it might be like to write in a church.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 07, 2019, with the headline 'The pain and joy of writing'. Print Edition | Subscribe