Samanta Schweblin: “I try to only sit down when I feel an urge to write. I need to keep moving to catch new ideas.”

From a Lithub interview with author Samanta Schweblin:

What time of day do you write?
Mornings, afternoons, nights… Any time can work. For me it is less so about the time of the day and more about my state of mind. I need to feel balanced and awake. I don’t mean to say that I don’t have an everyday routine. I try to work every day from 9 to 14. But, when an idea traps me I will work on it for the rest of the day. On public transport, in waiting rooms, on planes… sometimes I can even take notes in the restroom in the middle of a party. Writing wherever and whenever I want is my rebel commonplace. It could sound a little dumb, but I love it.

How do you tackle writers block?
I don’t. I just wait. I read, walk, listen… If I don’t have an idea of what to write next I stay away from my desk. I try to only sit down when I feel an urge to write. I need to keep moving to catch new ideas.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?
It was from Cesar Aira. It was after a long and amazing monologue of almost two hours in a café in Buenos Aires. He simply looked at me, deeply resigned or maybe exhausted, and he said: “Just put the tip of the pencil on a lined paper and write one word behind the other. It always works.”

What was the first book you fell in love with?
It was Joy Adamson’s Born Free, which was also the first “grown up” book I read. The story of the lioness Elsa really broke my heart. I still remember the photos inside the book, and how I was drawn into story just by looking at them. I cried how I imagined adults cried when they read a really good and profound book.

Is there a book you wish you had written?
Yes, without any doubt: Swimmer in the Secret Sea, by William Kotzwinkle.

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