Friday 1 April 2011

Roald Dahl Quote On Writing From "Boy"

I've just re-read Roald Dahl's 'Boy' - the author's autobiographical tale of his often exciting, often painful childhood. The book is about his life from birth to eighteen. Most of the stories he shares are quite heartbreaking; the death of his Father, the constant canings from headteachers throughout his childhood, etc. But Dahl being Dahl, he is able to take you on an enchanting and beautiful journey, full of magic, mischief and mystery; just like in his children's books.

He only addresses his writing for one brief paragraph, near the end of the book; but he does what he is always magically able to do -- explain everything you feel and believe, whilst making you feel the pain and the joy of the subject all at the same time. 

"I began to realize how simple life could be if one had a regular routine to follow with fixed hours and a fixed salary and very little original thinking to do. The life of a writer is absolute hell compared with the life of a businessman. The writer has to force himself to work. He has to make his own hours and if he doesn't go to his desk at all there is nobody to scold him. If he is a writer of fiction he lives in a world of fear. Each new day demands new ideas and he can never be sure whether he is going to come up with them or not. Two hours of writing fiction leaves this particular writer absolutely drained. For those two hours he has been miles away, he has been somewhere else, in a different place with totally different people, and the effort of swimming back into normal surroundings is very great. It is almost a shock. The writer walks out of his workroom in a daze. He wants a drink. He needs it. It happens to be a fact that nearly every writer of fiction in the world drinks more whisky than is good for him. He does it to give himself faith, hope and courage. A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul, and that, I am sure, is why he does it."

Care to share?


  1. I just bought this book! I can't wait to read it. Thanks for sharing and for the inspiration. Absolute freedom may well be absolutely enough for me....

  2. Quite right, he explains everything in one brief parargaph. He's a real master!

  3. i love this book,its great. I love the fact that he explains 1 certain point in one brief paragraph. Also i love it because he does real life description and he gives such an impact to the reader on what happening in the book.

  4. He explains everyting so well. Creating a big picture in your mind of what he was like and what he did.

  5. I think this book is great because roald dahl is a good author and he explains every thing so well.