Franzen on How He Writes

Jonathan Franzen, author of Freedom and The Corrections chatted with Oprah about a bunch of stuff, but just for a minute about how he writes. He says he shuts out the million things going on all the time all around. He works in a spartan environment without outside stimuli. Just him and his keyboard in an office. He thinks about what scares and concerns him the most about life right now as we (he) live(s) it. And why these things scare and concern him. He tries to get a really good handle on just a few things and ignore everything else and then he writes about whatever has distilled in his quiet mind.

Anyway, that’s what I got out of it.


  1. I missed it! its funny- we all work in different ways- I need white noise- the television with football (which I don’t enjoy) or something else on, conversations low in the background- without that I get too distracted.

    BTW- I’d love a post sometime (if you haven’t already, not that I can recall) on how you handle the distraction of the internet- it seems that many other distractions you can avoid- but the internet and the word processer occupy the same space and its easy to get distracted. How do you manage?


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