The Writing Life

Interview Questions 16: Answered by Cynthia Sally Haggard

How hard was it to write a book like this? Do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

It is an enormous amount of effort. Twenty years ago I finished writing my PhD dissertation on how the motor system takes over from the cognitive system when pianists are playing complex excerpts at high speeds. I vowed I would never write anything so difficult again.

But writing a novel is worse; it is much more effort than writing a PhD dissertation.

My advice is to cultivate a meditation practice to deal with the hurt feelings you will undoubtedly have when people criticize your work, despite the effort you put into it.

I also think it is important to try and de-mystify the whole process and approach it as a craft rather than a magical experience that involves a muse.

Person crafting a violin in a luthier’s shop

Not to say that writing isn’t a magical experience, it is the reason why I write. But it is so important not to be intimidated by it.

You need to relax to let your imagination fly.