Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
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“Everyone Needs a Reader. I Just Happen to Be Married to Mine”

Question: Do you and your husband ever \r\ncritique each other’s\r\nworks in progress?

\r\n\r\n

Siri Hustvedt: Always, actually.  We both read to each other during the\r\ncourse of the book.  When Paul's\r\nwriting a novel, he reads to me at intervals of about a month, month and\r\n a\r\nhalf, two months, something like that. \r\nAnd he will take a batch of the story, read it to me aloud, and \r\nlisten\r\nto what I have to say. 

\r\n\r\n

Earlier in my life as a writer, I had a tendency to\r\n hoard my\r\nmanuscripts from Paul and not show him anything until  I had a complete \r\ndraft.  And then he would usually read it\r\nsilently and talk to me afterwards. \r\nIn the last few years, the last three books, I've read to him as \r\nI'm\r\ngoing along, chunks of 50 to 70 pages, and get his\r\n feedback.  So,\r\nthis is very important to us. \r\nEveryone needs a reader. \r\nAnd I just happen to be married to mine and he happens to be \r\nmarried to\r\nhis. 

\r\n\r\n

The good thing about the two of us is that I and he\r\n are very\r\nfree to be brutal if we feel it's necessary.  And I\r\n think that all works because there's an essential\r\nrespect always of the project of the other person, so what you're really\r\ntalking about is, "Does this help the overall project, or is there a \r\nweakness\r\nhere.And I don't think that in\r\neither case we've ever rejected the other person's suggestions.  I have resisted a couple of times, but\r\nin the end I think he's always been right.  And I \r\nhad—with one novel he read me three endings before\r\nI thought he hit on the one that really worked.

\r\n\r\n

Question: How do you discipline yourself \r\nto overcome the challenges of writing?

\r\n\r\n

Siri Hustvedt: I'm better at this now.  I've always been extremely disciplined\r\nin the sense that I can wake up early, sit at my desk and work for hours\r\n and\r\nhours every day.  This is never\r\nbeen a problem.  What I've\r\nunderstood as the years have gone on is that the best place for me \r\nanyway for\r\nme to be when I'm writing, is in a state of great relaxation and \r\nopenness.  And I think when you're in that state\r\nall kinds of unconscious material can become available.  For\r\n me, the danger is being tight,\r\nbeing constipated, in a sense.  And\r\nthat will create constipation. \r\nThat will create a day of looking at a paragraph, erasing it, \r\nwriting\r\nanother one and getting rid of that.

\r\n\r\n

And I think of this as a state of play, that you \r\nreally are\r\nopen to the creative possibilities of what will happen, what can happen.  And both, I think, both playing in\r\nchildren and fantasizing in teenagers. \r\nI don't know—you're much closer to your teenage years then I am, \r\nbut\r\nthose years are particularly prone to all kinds of fantasies, especially\r\n about\r\nthe future, you know, what am I going to do.  Oh, \r\nthe beloved. \r\nAll kinds of fantasies.  And\r\nI think that writing novels comes straight out of those two... first the\r\nchildhood play and then the adolescent fantasy to making art.  But that the process is very similar.  And\r\n you need to be open, loose and let\r\nyourself play in order for the work to happen.

The novelist on having a fellow author (Paul Auster) as a spouse, and the state of mind that’s essential to good writing.

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