1. 10

    The writing life is essentially one of solitary confinement - if you can't deal with this, you needn't apply.

    8
  2. 9

    Some people have human muses - mine is a city. I feel a startling ambivalence towards London, but for better or worse my work has come utterly to depend upon it.

    8
  3. 8

    I think of writing as a sculptural medium. You are not building things. You are removing things, chipping away at language to reveal a living form.

    15
  4. 7

    I'm an anarchist. I'm implacably opposed to heirarchical systems of power and control. I also mistrust crowds, as they often operate according to their lowest common denominator. In terms of evolutionary psychology, the crowd is very close to a herd of stampeding wildebeest.

    18
  5. 6

    A creative life cannot be sustained by approval, any more than it can be destroyed by criticism.

    27
  6. 5

    Always carry a notebook. And I mean always. The short-term memory only retains information for three minutes; unless it is committed to paper you can lose an idea for ever.

    37
  7. 4

    Don't look back until you've written an entire draft, just begin each day from the last sentence you wrote the preceeding day. This prevents those cringing feelings, and means that you have a substantial body of work before you get down to the real work which is all in . . . The edit.

    46
  8. 3

    It could be argued that every age gets the comfort savagery writer it deserves.

    48
  9. 2

    Life, it is true, can be grasped in all its confused futility merely by opening one's eyes and sitting passively, a spectator on the stands of history - but to understand the social processes and conflicts, the interplay between individual and group, even the physicality of human experience, we have need of small-scale models.

    48
  10. 1

    You don't need to know this - but here goes: due to some acquired infantilism, I feel compelled to fall asleep listening to the radio. On a good night, I'll push the frail barque of my psyche off into the waters of Lethe accompanied by the midnight newsreader - on a bad one, it's the shipping forecast.

    52
  11. Last Update: 14 June 2021

View the rest 126 Will Self sayings