What makes writers tick – Andrew Greig answers IS&T's questions

In this series Ink Sweat & Tears talks to practicing writers about their process.


1.    Where do you write? (do you have an office, room, bus journey that you find yourself and your writing?)

I write prose books in a converted garden shed. I like leaving the house for a designated space, and my wife, novelist Lesley Glaister, likes me out of the house when she is writing. Poetry tends to happen anywhere – bed, train journey – and goes longhand into a notebook – to be revisited in the garden shed.

2. How do you write? (into a notebook or straight onto a computer?)

See above. Prose I mostly write straight onto computer. I am slightly surprised this works for me. I now find my handwriting distractingly bad. I revise by printing out, hand editing, then entering changes.


3. Roughly how much time do you spend each week on creative writing related activities? (writing, editing, correspondence & submissions)

I would guess about 30 hours. But once you count in email and YouTube…


4. What time of day do you usually write?

 Hard prose work from c. 9.30 to lunch. Admin and revise in afternoon. Poetry whenever it presents itself – often early morning in bed.


5. What does it feel like to write?

Lit up, turned on, tuned in, properly alive. When it works, it’s the only time I feel intelligent and interesting to myself. Life moves from problem to topic.


6. Are there any stimuli that will usually trigger you into writing?

Nothing reliable, but walking or reading someone else I’m into, often does it. It’s a palpably different way of attending to the inner and outer world. It’s a shift out of yourself.


7. What are you working on now?

 Poetry. After At the Loch of the Green Corrie I have nothing much left to say in prose (I hope that changes). Revising poems for autumn 2011 Bloodaxe collection As Though We Were Flying. Also a book-length sequence of poems that came very quickly last autumn, Found At Sea will need looking at after a break. But other new poems still coming – the latest ones out of illness-induced insomnia. Multiple drafts of three of them are on my table here.



*Andrew Greig 
has published eight collections of poetry, most of these with Bloodaxe, including The Order of the Day (Poetry Book Society Choice), This Life, This Life: New & Selected Poems 1970-2006 and now As Though We Were Flying (2011).  His six novels include In Another Light (Weidenfeld
& Nicolson, 2004), which was Saltire Scottish Book of the Year. He
lives in Edinburgh and Orkney with his wife, novelist Lesley Glaister.
His most recent publication is Getting Higher: The Complete Mountain Poems


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