Join The Stuck in North Africa Free Newsletter

George Orwell on How He’d Imagined the kind of writer he wanted to become

(Last Updated On: 17 October 2021)

George Orwell always had known, deep down, that he wanted to write but like many of us he dodged the idea for a long time.
In fact, from the time he was seventeen and up until he got to the age of twenty four he ‘tried to abandon this idea,’ of writing, and he did, even though he was conscious that by ignoring his calling, his thing, his raison d’être, he was indeed ‘outraging’ his ‘true nature’.

I had the lonely child’s habit of making up stories and holding conversations with imaginary persons

George Orwell’s

Not only that he had the ability imagining himself being the kind of writer that he’d eventually become, but he also could project the kind of books/novels that he wanted to write from the beginnings. He wanted to write ‘enormous naturalistic novels with unhappy endings, full of details and arresting similes,’ he said, affirming that his first ‘complete’ novel, Burmese Days, which he wrote at the age of 30, fits that description perfectly.

Before he ever begins to write he will have acquired an emotional attitude from which he will never completely escape.

Why I Write, By George Orwell

4 Different Motives For Writing (according to George Orwell):

  1. Sheer Egoism
  2. Aesthetic Enthusiasm
  3. Historical Impulse
  4. Political Purpose

Orwell thought that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a ‘political attitude’.

It is bound to be a failure, every book is a failure, but I know with some clarity what kind of book I want to write.

George Orwell

It’s been said already: There are as many kind of a writer as there are kind of writing. Each, with his own history and background, childhood and milieu, ambitions and motives. And, any attempt to understand your favorite writer, should first begin by inspecting, and consequently getting your nose into his/her personal history.

And when you get your nose there, you will inevitably get surprised. Sometimes, you will be surprised by how much writers share some common ground–unconsciously so. And sometimes, you will be recognizing some pattern of ‘weirdness’ or uniqueness in their personalities, life, and career. Chaos, along with some form of neurosis, at some point in their life is a common denominator between them.

Charles Bukowski dealt with depression by not writing or doing anything and staying in bed for three to four days.

William Zinsser, however, would disagree with him. He once said that “the man who runs away from his craft because he lacks inspiration is fooling himself. He is also going broke”.

Haruki Murakami, the Japanese novelist —known for his Norwegian Woods among others, found his near ideal routine by quitting smoking, protecting his time of seclusion (he once said he is the kind of person who prefers being by himself most of the time), and becoming a runner.

Some of them work at night, some enjoy it in the afternoon, others stay up all night. Some had a sexual life resembling that of Arabian kings, and others were humble, and even ‘incels’.

I remember once Philip Roth being asked in a Paris Review interview about his daily writing ritual and work and everything, he replied:

I don’t ask writers about their work habits. I really don’t care. Joyce Carol Oates says somewhere that when writers ask each other what time they start working and when they finish and how much time they take for lunch, they’re actually trying to find out, “Is he as crazy as I am?” I don’t need that question answered.

Philip Roth

You’ve been reading a post that belongs to my daily journal—an entire section of this blog that wasn’t written to be read, but to keep me going: it represents my writing momentum.

If you enjoyed reading this post, you can support my work by buying me a book (one time donation) or by becoming a patron.

0 Kudos