David Patrick Columbia, on his lack of discipline.
Question: Do you have a creative process?
David Patrick Columbia: I probably do. I don’t know how to describe it. As I told you, I’ve been a writer all my life by nature. And for a very long time before I was earning a living as a writer, I felt that I had no discipline because it was always a struggle to get myself to do what I wanted to do – even if it was to put myself in front of a typewriter and now a keyboard; or take a pen and pad. But now because I have so much work to do on a daily basis, I don’t really have time to make those considerations.
So I just have to get the work done. And what it has done is it’s infused me with a discipline that I actually didn’t even pursue. And the way I describe it is I sit down, and I think I have like five or 10 minutes to come up with it. And I try to clear my head and just think logically about what I’m doing, and think about what my objective is and/or what is expected of me. What is the reader expecting? Because the reader does expect something of you if they read you often. And then I just go with it.
Well as I said a writer who is very, very inspiring to me was John O’Hara. In fact there have been times earlier in my life when I couldn’t write, couldn’t come up with something. And I sometimes would simply write out a paragraph from one of his books and just see where that would take me.
I’ve been very fortunate in my life because I’ve always liked people that are older than myself. I’ve always been interested in people who had more information and knew more than I knew, and knew more people than I know. And I’ve been, shall we say, blessed with the kind of personality where people are friendly toward me. And so as a result, I’ve had a lot of experiences with people in my life who have been very, very good to me; and very kind to me, and generous, and helpful.
Conducted on: October 29, 2007