E.B. White on His Routine and Distractions

A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper. -E.B. White

Besides giving authors some of the best writing advice ever, E. B. White gave a great interview to George Plimpton and Frank H. Crowther for The Paris Review, published in the Fall of 1969. White discusses distractions, which almost every writer can relate to.

“I never listen to music when I’m working. I haven’t that kind of attentiveness, and I wouldn’t like it at all. On the other hand, I’m able to work fairly well among ordinary distractions. My house has a living room that is at the core of everything that goes on: it is a passageway to the cellar, to the kitchen, to the closet where the phone lives. There’s a lot of traffic. But it’s a bright, cheerful room, and I often use it as a room to write in, despite the carnival that is going on all around me. A girl pushing a carpet sweeper under my typewriter table has never annoyed me particularly, nor has it taken my mind off my work, unless the girl was unusually pretty or unusually clumsy. My wife, thank God, has never been protective of me, as, I am told, the wives of some writers are. In consequence, the members of my household never pay the slightest attention to my being a writing man — they make all the noise and fuss they want to. If I get sick of it, I have places I can go.”

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