Will Self

Will Self’s writing is diverse. Dystopian (The Book of Dave), Stream of Consciousness – think James Joyce’s Ulysses (Umbrella), and satire (Great Apes).

He has won many awards, has been short listed for the Man Booker prize for Umbrella (2012)  and the New York Times Notable Book of the Year for his collection of short stories Grey Area ( 1997).

Consider yourself in good company if, like Will Self, you like to use post it slips to keep track of your writing. If, like Will Self, your creativity thrives in a cluttered environment. 

Will Self

Photographer: Eamonn McCabe

Here are two of Self’s quotes on writing:

I write because I feel driven to write. I write from a sense of inner necessity. I don’t write for anything other than that.

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

What are your thoughts on this post? 

27 thoughts on “Will Self

  1. Thanks, Carol, for that look at Will Self’s writing. I respect his eclecticism. He’s got an interesting way of keeping notes, too.


  2. His room- wow– that is definitely a writer room- with all the notes everywhere. I know we are all different but still- talk about revealing the man’s occupation/preoccupation. Not sure I agree with the solitary confinement part- I almost feel like for me at least- writing is as much about going inward as connecting outward via telling stories and having them be received.


    • Yes, I agree. I think that’s why blogging is so popular with so many writers. It is a solitary work but we also need the community and feedback. At least I do. Otherwise it can get pretty lonely.


  3. The notes are really impressive. Post Its are dangerous in our home, they might be snagged by the cats. Solution: multiple MindMaps, printed in A3 format are doing the trick if additionally handled with blue, green, orange and red pens.
    I guess we all are somehow driven to write. ‘Solitary confinement’ – I don’t think so. I like having feedback as soon as possible and I am inspired by everything and everyone around me.


  4. Love posts like this. I hate to sound sexist, but I suspect that male writers (and men in general) need their own caves. It’s an emotional security thing: pillow-free zones that work for the way their minds process and organize information.


  5. I’m of those who nod yes in agreement with both of those quotes. I have heard some people say that being a writer doesn’t require the inner drive or the contentment to be alone. Maybe it’s true but I can’t see someone who likes crowds and the drive is money or some other outside influence writing for very long.


  6. Carol, did you get any of my messages? I wrote two and I think they got lost in outer space. Anyways, first I’ll answer your message. I have not tried the Vitamin B but I have heard that it was important to take it. I will try to remember to get some next time I’m out. I have just started putting a few drops of oil (Valor) on the inside of my wrists twice a day, and misting with lavender. Now about your post. I think it’s funny in a way. Certain I would have an anxiety attack if that was my office. Mind you, at least the post-its are on the wall where he can see them. With my grandchildren constantly at my desk, they would be scattered like a tornado had hit the place. LOL P.S. Thanks for being concerned. HUGS!!


    • Hi Drew,
      I got your messages…the thing is I thought I was approving them…I was so mixed up. Sorry about that. That’s what happens when we’re not toilet trained holding a mouse in our hands.
      Hope you’re having a good weekend…well it’s almost over. It’s been really cold here. Hope all is well. HUGS back.


  7. I agree that writing feels best when it comes from something that you truly need to say, not something you’re writing out of obligation. Whenever I’ve written something because I felt like I should write it, I was disappointed with the outcome and/or found it hard to complete.


  8. Oh my, it seems I am everything Will! Why I write and solitary confinement . . . and most especially, The Post-It-Note system! 🙂 Thanks for sending me this link. 🙂


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