Earlier today, George R.R. Martin updated his Not A Blog to tell us that he has resumed his seat before his old-school word processor in his mysterious, isolated mountain cabin and is back in action, working away on The Winds of Winter.
To be clear, Martin doesn’t hint at how much progress he’s making, or if he’s reached any important milestones in his post, (he did that last month). Rather, he reflects on how his writing process has evolved over the years and how his life has changed in the decades since he began his career.
For one thing, he used to work at home. I know. Then at some point, home stopped providing him the solitude he needed to be productive so he purchased the house across the street and dubbed that his “writer’s retreat.”
“No longer would I write all day in my red flannel bathrobe; now I would have to dress and put on shoes and walk all the way across the street to write,” he says. “But that worked for a while.”
Martin’s responsibilities kept mounting until, in addition to his writing career, he had “a movie theatre, a bookstore, a charitable foundation, investments [and] a business manager” and five assistants (whom he calls minions) to help him deal with it all.
“Despite all the help, I was drowning till I found the mountain cabin,” he writes, then goes on to detail his daily routine in his fortress of solitude which he admits is “very boring … Truth be told, I hardly can be said to have a life.”
I’m not going to paraphrase or copy and paste the multiple paragraphs Martin spends describing his day-to-day life in the mountains but TLDR: the guy really is working hard. Sure, we’re all more than a little frustrated at how slow going The Winds of Winter‘s progress has been, but Martin is clearly giving it his all and it hasn’t been easy, especially since the pandemic began.
“Since [March], weeks and months go by when I never leave the cabin, or see another human being except whoever is on duty that week,” he writes. “I lose track of what day it is, what week it is, what month it is. The time seems to [be going] by very fast. It is now August, and I don’t know what happened to July. But it is good for the writing.”
Martin’s post grows even more contemplative as he considers that having a social life and getting writing done have always been mutually exclusive for him, that his first two years in New Mexico, 1979 to 1981, were both incredibly lonely and incredibly productive (he worked on Windhaven and Shadow Twin, wrote all of Fevre Dream and completed several short stories during that time.)
“I wonder if it is the same for other writers? Or is it just me?” he writes. “I wonder if I will ever figure out the secret of having a life and writing a book at the very same time. I certainly have not figured it out to date. For the nonce, it is what it is. My life is at home, on hold, and I am spending the days in Westeros with my pals Mel and Sam and Vic and Ty. And that girl with no name, over there in Braavos.”