Donald Miller Best-Selling Author Blue Like Jazz & A Million Miles In A Thousand Years Talks About His Writing Habits In Great Interview

Donald Miller


Saw a cool interview on Donald Miller’s blog the other day.  Miller is the author of the cult favorite “Blue Like Jazz” that has sold more than 1 million copies to date.  His new book, slated for a Fall 09 release, is called“A Million Miles In A Thousand Years.” From what I can tell it sounds like the inspiration for this new release came from the experience of trying to adapt “Blue Like Jazz” into a screenplay a few years ago. Seems like that was a life-changing experience for Miller, as he came to see just how boring and unexciting his life has been so far – and this birthed a longing in his heart to be more and do more with the rest of his life.  So his new book chronicles his journey of trying to live a better story.  It’s an experience all of us identify with – the desire to be all we can be for God.  This new resolve caused him to make quite a few changes in his life, as well as attempt new things, for example, he increased his efforts with his mentoring organization for kids without fathers, as well as a bunch of other things he did in response to wanting to live differently.


But the part of the interview that I found really interesting was when the interviewer asked him about his writing habits.  I’ve always been curious about how much time he spends writing, and for how long etc.


I thought it was interesting, that he only writes for a few weeks at a time.  Fairly seasonal, in a way. Interesting – every writer has their own habits and writing schedule, so it was interesting to hear Miller describe his.


Here’s The Excerpt:


Tell me about your writing process. Are you disciplined?

Extremely. At 4 a.m. every morning I jog. [laughs]. No, it’s seasonal. I block out weeks at a time, so I’m in a writing mode now. And that’s the only thing that really works for me. If it gets really hectic around the house, a friend has a cabin on Orcas Island and I’ll go up. And it’s a beautiful place, but I hate being there because it’s just so lonely and I like people around. But it’s unfortunately productive. And so a lot of times I have to go up there.

And the other thing is I just have to turn off the phone. I get up, I usually take the dogs for a walk, come in and for the next several hours will kind of wrestle with the book, which means I do a lot of reading. And at some point I force myself to sit down—because I never want to—and within about five minutes I’m lost in the book. I’m really enjoying it. Which is just weird: to enjoy something so much and not actually want to do it. I think it’s because every fourth or fifth writing session is so bad. I can’t get the words to go where I want them to go. It creates a fear that that’s going to happen again.


Miller also posted an excerpt from his new book on his blog – you can check it out here.


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