The author of Trainspotting talks about why you should get that first draft finished
Irvine Welsh talks to the EBR podcast about writing and keeping busy
Interviewed at the 2019 Ubud Writers Festival after promoting his book Dead Men’s Trousers, Irvine Welsh had a few minutes to chat with the EBR Podcast.
When he’s at his best, Welsh spins a story of four men broken by addiction and betrayal; old friends who’ve shared their youths, somehow lived through them, and just can’t quite seem to let go.Jason Sheehan – NPR
In Episode 33 of EBR – The Writers’ Show Podcast Irvine Welsh talks about his new book Dead Men’s Trousers, Trainspotting and…
- Keeping the devil away with hard, creative work and exercise
- How success sometimes makes it easier to write
- The importance of getting your first draft finished
- Why you need to be comfortable being alone
This episode is sponsored by Madhouse Media Publishing. They’ll make your book look great and give you time to concentrate on what you do best – writing. Got a question about self publishing? Contact us here.
Irvine Welsh is the author of Dead Men’s Trousers, The Blade Artist, A Decent Ride, The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins, Skagboys, Crime, The Bedroom Secrets of the Master Chefs, Porno, Glue, Filth, Malibu Stork Nightmares and Trainspotting.
You’re quite a successful author, playwright and music producer. What drives this restless creativity?
I think that to me, it’s almost like the devil makes work for idle hands. Like, you know if I’m not doing something that kind of consumes my energy, it can turn quite negative and I just kind of found that I get myself in all sorts of dire straits, which doesn’t really do me any good. So the energy kind of has got to go somewhere so it’s better being positive, it’s better going into creativity. I’ve got a lot better, I’ve tried to keep fit over recent years you know I do boxing and play tennis and do running and all that now, that kind of burns up a lot of that, that kind of juice but primarily it’s the work. The books and the TV scripts and so on.
Of course Trainspotting has had incredible, enduring success. Does such success make it harder for you to write?
It makes it easier because, you know, you’re given license really you know, people see you and they see you as a writer so they expect you to to do something and that kind of values you as well as successful. It just keeps feeding off itself
What what would the 2019 version of Irvine say to the young man in his 20’s tapping out Trainspotting?
I kinda don’t presume to give anybody advice really. The problems we have in the world basically came to older people giving younger people too much advice, I think older people should be taking advice from younger people.
Let’s talk about the process of writing. What’s your routine? What do you need to work efficiently?
Well, you know, so I think, you know, there’s two stages in it really, for me, this is the kind of creative stage where you’re just putting stuff together. And that can be anywhere, you could be sitting in a bus shelter or a coffee shop anywhere or a pub. Just somewhere I can just type into a laptop, you know what I’m saying. The important thing is to pull this together into some kind of framework you know, a book or a screenplay. You’ve got to get this mess into some kind of logic and that’s where you need an office. You need a quiet place to go to work and get all that together.
What advice would you give to anyone listening who feels compelled to write a book and take on the life of a writer?
I think the most important thing is to know yourself. Because, you know, I mean, I’ve met so many ‘writers’, who would be writers like, who don’t actually like spending time on their own. You know, I mean, it’s like they like hanging in bars and telling you about the books they’re going to write and all that but then they go home and sit down and kind of get bored and restless and can’t concentrate. They’re just not used spending time on their own. I would say, just, you know, get used to spending time on your own and make sure you like doing it and you’re comfortable with it, then that’s kind of half the battle and you should not be easily distracted. I remember when I started out I was very easily distracted because I was more into music. I was more into going out there and meeting girls and having people around and knocking things down. Now I just sit in a room quietly with myself.
Let me flip that around. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received as a writer when you were starting out?
You know, the best advice I’ve ever had was just finish it, finish it, finish whatever you’re writing. Just finish it and don’t really don’t keep looking back and trying to edit it as you go. Just write the whole story down, whether its a story or a novel or a screenplay, just write the whole thing out even as a rough draft even if the first few chapters are really second rate write a second and third draft just get all done because, you know, the first draft isn’t to be read so it’s not like a big deal. It’s an enabling document to help you.
Talking about the films, how much input do you have in the scripts?
I mean, every one I’ve done has been different. It depends on the relationship you have with director and the rest of the people involved in it. You know, you’re part of a team and you know, you’re a novelist who has written a book. You’re there really as a resource – they can use your notes to see further. And sometimes it’s like, you know, you would like more involvement, sometimes you’d like a lot less involvement you know it depends where you’re really focusing on yourself and saying how much you can help. But, you know, I mean, I’ve been lucky for the great relationship with the directors I’ve worked with, but you have to respect that, you know, as they’re moving the story along for me, so you have to try and fit in.
How did you feel the first time you saw the film?
Great. Yeah, I mean, I knew it was gonna do so well, because there’s so many talented people involved in it, and we where all very motivated
So what’s next for Irvine Welsh?
I think you know, we’re gonna do some more TV stuff in the UK. Do some more TV stuff in the USA. I kind of want to get another novel out. Doing a lot of music projects, got an album coming out in LA next year. We’re doing some touring with that. So we’ve just got a lot of stuff on the wall. So that’ll be our next year.
Irvine, thank you very much.