The writer's Secret Service

The writer's Secret Service
Photo by Irv P / Unsplash

There’s been a lot of anticipation about a new movie featuring a certain Mr. Bond.

But Bond’s original creator wasn’t so excited.

Twelve of the Bond movies have come from books written by Ian Fleming. They likes of Goldfinger, Casino Royale, and From Russia With Love are bonafide classics. Here’s the thing, though: Fleming didn’t seem to like writing them very much.

To get past the blocker, he pursued a different kind of mission: he took a trip to a hotel.

The mission’s most important element was finding the perfect hotel. It could not be nice. It had to be decent, but no more.

The location of the hotel had to be somewhere a little worse still; a place he really didn’t want to spend time in. No temptations of sightseeing, beaches, culture, or vices. Bond’s haunts of Monte Carlo penthouses and 5* resorts in the Caribbean were absolutely off limits.

Why do this?

Fleming would check into the hotel for two weeks, with just one objective: to write the book. As there was so little else that appealed, he may as well write... right?

Today, his Bond books have sold over 90m copies - and counting.

A friend of mine has also been blocked. Last week he took on the same mission as Fleming. At first, nothing. But after 3 hours in the lobby of this reasonable - but not wonderful - hotel, the words were flying off the page.

A creative block can feel very real, but hopefully this little riff has left you stirred rather than shaken.

See you in the lobby.

PS. I heard the Ian Fleming story via Tim Ferris. Who heard it from Neil Gaiman. Who presumably heard it from someone else. A good reminder that stories travel - and that the story makers can benefit from doing so too.

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