Real writers need frustration. They need embarrassment. They need cold, uncomfortable rooms, miles from a mobile signal. There should be an infestation of at least one parasite, a backlog of warnings from the Student Loans Company and just enough coffee for what Don DeLillo calls 'an occasional revelation'.
Do you need a comfortable space to do your writing? Stuff and nonsense says Matt Shoard on The Guardian blog (undoing all the good advice I've been giving to my writing classes about creating a special place in the house to write!). He waves the example of Dan Brown at us - a cushy lifestyle, a huge mansion, and flaccid prose.
As a creative writing teacher Shoard does sound a bit of a sadist! :
Personally, I like to hold "hungry" creative writing seminars through lunch, far from a vending machine, at the cold end of campus with the heating down. You can almost see Dan Brown leaving and David Foster Wallace taking his place. "I want to smell the breath of a stranger as he speaks my name," wrote one student this week. They're no more prolific, but they're gutsier. Discomfort cures overwriting.Wondering what I should do with my writing classes now. Should I turn off the aircon and the fans and let them sweat their way to better prose?