How Douglas Adams wrote The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

I was thumbing through my copy of Don’t Panic: Douglas Adams & The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (a book on Douglas Adams written by Neil Gaiman!) and came across a great passage. It certainly made me feel a little better about my glacial writing pace.

This is Douglas describing how the Restaurant at the End of the Universe (finally) came to be written.

“I had put it off and put it off and got extension after extension but eventually the managing director of Pan said ‘We’ve given you all these extensions and we have to have it: sudden death or else, we have to have it in four weeks. Now, how far have you got with it?’ I didn’t like to tell him I hadn’t started it; it seemed unfair on the poor chap’s heart.”

Jacqueline Graham, who was working at Pan said:
“The whole thing was tremendously late, and Douglas was getting into a bit of a state about it because it was getting later and later. He was sharing a flat at the time with a friend… and Douglas found it impossible to work as the phone kept ringing and his flatmate was always there. In the end I said to him, ‘Why don’t you just move out?’ As he had written the first book at his mother’s. He thought it was a very good idea, so I rented him a flat, and moved him in that afternoon.”

Douglas found the experience more than slightly weird: “I was locked away so nobody could possibly reach me or find me. I led a completely monastic existence for that month, and at the end of four weeks it was done.”

Well. Now I just want to get an apartment with nothing but a desk and a chair. And maybe a coffee machine.


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