Writing Tips from Norman Mailer
“…the ability to do good work on a bad day.”
That’s what Norman Mailer said is the mark of a professional—doing good work on a bad day. Notice that Mailer did not say passion. Some days you won’t feel passion. But if you’re a professional, you’ll do what needs to be done.
Mailer, who famously wrote “The Naked and the Dead” plus many other books, was incredibly productive even when he didn’t feel like it. He stuck to a strict writing regimen: “Over the years, I’ve found one rule. It is the only one I give on those occasions when I talk about writing. A simple rule. If you tell yourself you are going to be at your desk tomorrow, you are by that declaration asking your unconscious to prepare the material. You are, in effect, contracting to pick up such valuables at a given time. Count on me, you are saying to a few forces below: I will be there to write.” He wrote every day from 9 to 5, up until his death at the age of 84.