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Colin Devroe

Photographer. Podcaster. Blogger. Reverse Engineer.

George R. R. Martin’s mountain cabin

August 17, 2020

George R. R. Martin about his time writing in his mountain cabin:

My life up here is very boring, it must be said.  Truth be told, I hardly can be said to have a life.   I have one assistant with me at all times (minions, I call them).  The assistants do two-week shifts, and have to stay in quarantine at home before starting a shift.   Everyone morning I wake up and go straight to the computer, where my minion brings me coffee (I am utterly useless and incoherent without my morning coffee) and juice, and sometimes a light breakfast.  Then I start to write.   Sometimes I stay at it until dark.   Other days I break off in late afternoon to answer emails or return urgent phone calls.   My assistant brings me food and drink from time to time.   When I finally break off for the day, usually around sunset, there’s dinner.   Then we watch television or screen a movie.  The wi-fi sucks up on the mountain, though, so the choices are limited.   Some nights I read instead.   I always read a bit before going to sleep; when a book really grabs hold of me, I may read half the night, but that’s rare.

Bill Gates would do something similar during his time as CEO of Microsoft. He called them Think Weeks.

Gates’ Think Weeks started in the 1980s; the first ones were quiet visits to his grandmother’s house. As they evolved, no visitors were allowed to the cabin during Gates’ Think Week (other than someone who dropped off two meals a day at the cabin, and on year a Wall Street Journal reporter) and Gates’ cabin was stocked with Diet Orange Crush and Diet Coke.

I would like to do something like this for my photography some time.

Comments

Dino says:

@cdevroe sounds like George R. R. Martin also follows the practice of “Deep Work” as described by Cal Newport. I believe J.K. Rowling once rented a hotel room to focus on finishing a book. Another writer, not sure if it was also her, booked a round trip flight to Japan and back, just to get some time to focus on writing. It is always interesting to me to read about what people do to be able to focus on an important task at hand. Thanks for sharing.

odd says:

@Dino I don’t recommend becoming an winter watchman at a remote mountain hotel to get the time for it. @cdevroe

Dino says:

@odd I would agree. I don’t have the time nor the money to do something like that. And like George said, the wi-fi sucks. But I think that’s probably his point. Anywhere else, there probably was too much distraction for him to focus on his writing.

It doesn’t have to be a remote mountain place. Carl Jung did nature walks to focus his mind and then spent time locked up in his home working. There was also this famous screenwriter or a director, he was something, who worked in his barn with a typewriter. He did that during a time when computers were readily available. The overall goal was to avoid distractions.

odd says:

@Dino Yes, you’re right. It doesn’t have to be a remote place, allowing one self, and setting clear rules for family could be enough.

I must admit that I didn’t read the original post here, and I was really referring to The Shining.

hawaiiboy says:

@odd I got the reference immediately 🪓🪓🪓

odd says:

@hawaiiboy 😱 Well, it’s an old movie now, so not everyone has seen it. @Dino @cdevroe

hawaiiboy says:

@odd one of my faves. Just saw the sequel last week. Really enjoyed it too

odd says:

@hawaiiboy Oh…I’ve forgotten about that. Will make note.

Dino says:

@odd My apologies I didn’t get the reference. Looks like the movie came out before I was born. I don’t remember watching it 😀

odd says:

@Dino No worries! No need to apologize. I thought that might be it. It’s considered a classic scary movie, but yeah, it’s 40 years old. Stephen King wrote the book, btw.

cdevroe says:

@Dino Yes, it seems some need to go to extremes to find focus!

cdevroe says:

@odd @Dino Good point. HERE’S JOHNNY!

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