with Meaghan Strimas
HLR: How do you schedule time to create?
GM: When I am not working a "day job", I schedule my time like this: get the kids off to school, leave the house, find a place to write, put headphones in, write fiction or poetry for four hours (alternately, surf Facebook), come home for lunch, spend the afternoon seeking and completing paying freelance and consultant work. Then I get kids from school, play with them and make them do their work, help get dinner ready, start getting them off to bed, sit down with a beer, look over what I've done, despair or crow, then sleep and start over the next day. When I am working a day job, like now, I mostly just keep notes and cry.
HLR: What obstacles (real and imagined) make it a challenge for you to find time to create, and how have you dealt with them?
GM: See above for real. For imagined, I suffer from what I suspect most other sane writers suffer from: the phony-police. I sometimes wonder if I'm the only one who gets/cares about what I'm doing and am therefore wasting my time. You'd be surprised how easy it is to procrastinate when you suspect your vocation is a waste of time. I imagine the same thing goes on in cubicles around the world. The other problems: Facebook. Text. Email. Phone. Twitter. Television. Cat videos. Radio. Advertising. Computer updates. Candy Crush. Pictures of Gwen Stefani from 20 years ago. CNN 24 hour news crawl. Etc.
HLR: Do you find you work better when your schedule is clear, or when you are pressed to find time?
GM: I tend to write well to a deadline. For instance, I tinkered with this new book, Diversion, for quite some time, until my editor forced my hand with a hard publication date and a tour stop that the book had to be ready for. Suddenly, I was on fire and sure everything was in the right place. Now, who knows. But at the time, I nailed that deadline. For me, this sort of marathoning to get a piece done is harder to do for poetry than prose. I'm writing this right now on the afternoon of the day it's due.
George Murray is the author of six books of poetry including, Diversion (ECW, 2015), The Rush to Here (Nightwood, 2007) and The Hunter (M&S, 2003), as well as the bestselling book of aphorisms, Glimpse (ECW, 2010) and a book for children. His work appears widely in journals, magazines and anthologies in Canada, the US, the UK, Europe, and the Antipodes. He is the former owner and operator of Bookninja.com which ran from 2003 to 2011. He now lives in St. John's, Newfoundland where he is the poet laureate.