Published On: Tue, Aug 18th, 2020

Winds of Winter update: The real reason for George RR Martin delay – ‘Drowning’ | Books | Entertainment

The Winds of Winter is still not on shelves, which has become a real frustration for Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire fans, George RR Martin has been writing for the best part of a decade, though luckily COVID-19 has provided some progress. However, in a recent post, Martin has now opened up on what has been taking so long, and the real reason behind the delays.

In a recent post on his website Not a Blog, Martin confirmed he was “back in Westeros,” explaining how his progress has been aided by some “alone” time.

After referencing his recent work, including hosting at CoNZealand, he said: “But all that is behind me now, and I am back on the mountain again… which means I am back in Westeros again, once more moving ahead with Winds of Winter.

“It is curious how my life has evolved. I mean, once upon a time, I actually wrote my books and stories in the house where I lived, in a home office.

“But some decades ago, wanting more solitude, I bought the house across the street and made THAT my writer’s retreat.

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“No longer would I write all day in my red flannel bathrobe; now I would have to dress and put on shoes and walk all the way across the street to write. But that worked for a while.”

At this point, Martin went on to describe how busy his life became, during which time he had to hire assistants to help him with his cinema, charity, and other investments.

At one point he had five assistants and struggled to get everything done, including writing, until he finally found somewhere to be.

He continued: “Despite all the help, I was drowning till I found the 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.”

Martin continued to describe his routine, which ended in watching TV after dinner, before reading in bed, and how coronavirus has changed his life so much that he “never leaves the cabin” a lot of the time.

He added: “Since then [March, when COVId-19 quarantine started where he lives], weeks and months go by when I never leave the cabin, or see another human being except whoever is on duty that week.

“I lose track of what day it is, what week it is, what month it is. The time seems to [go] by very fast. It is now August, and I don’t know what happened to July.”

The writer went on to add: “But it is good for the writing.”

Martin then reflected on his previous writing, saying he did a great deal of good work when living alone in a new house, with few friends to call on.

As a result, this time away from people in his “cabin” has helped him to make some good progress.

But it also makes clear how and why Martin has taken so long to finish his book: clearly the business of his life before COVID and the way in which he worked, ie. in a house filled with people, did not suit him.

For Martin, working alone seems to be his only solution to finishing off books, and now he is in quarantine, it looks as though The Winds of Winter may actually hit bookshelves.

He added: “I wonder if it is the same for other writers? Or is it just me?

“I wonder if I will ever figure out the secret of having a life and writing a book at the very same time. I certainly have not figured it out to date…”

His final comment revealed some of the characters he seems to be writing about, which clearly include Melisandre, Samwell Tarly, Victarian Greyjoy and Tyrion Lannister, and possibly also the Waif of Braavos, which will make for exciting reading when it comes out.

He said: “My life is at home, on hold, and I am spending the days in Westeros with my pals Mel and Sam and Vic and Ty. And that girl with no name, over there in Braavos.”

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