01 Jun 2021 3:41 PM +00:00 UTC

Why George RR Martin Is Taking So Long to Write The Winds of Winter

Have you been waiting for years to find out when The Winds of Winter book will finally release? It seems like ages since Game of Thrones has come and gone (we've been going through a pandemic in the meantime) and yet there have been very few updates on the book spending release.

In George RR Martin's most recent update, he revealed that there were still "hundreds of pages" left to write. In the meantime, George has been working with HBO to create prequel shows and other series based on the success of Game of Thrones.

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Those who were part of the Game of Thrones fandom since day one, before the HBO series took over our screens, might remember a time when George R. R. Martin released a book every few years. But after the legendary Storm of Swords, believed by many to be the strongest book in the series, things became more complicated. Five years passed between that and the fourth installment, A Feast for Crows and another six for the latest A Dance with Dragons to be published. This was in 2011 of course, and many fans are reasonably worried, wondering if the eagerly awaited The Winds of Winter is ever coming out at all.

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The Winds of Winter delays

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The release of the sixth installment of A Song of Ice and Fire was never meant to take that long. Many a time over the years, Martin has teased possible release dates, but those never came to fruition. When the Game of Thrones TV show ran out of book material and therefore had to go down a different path, book fans grew reasonably frustrated.

But why is Martin taking so long? To understand this, fans need to understand that writing books are a complicated process that rarely goes according to plan.

The Winds of Winter and writer's block

Those who write, know writer's block – and dread it. Writer's block often involves the inability to come up with new ideas, being stuck, or unable to concentrate on creative work. Worst of all, it adds up. The more one postpones writing, the more blocked they might feel until they come to dread writing. Most authors have experienced writer's block at some point in their lives. Unfortunately for ASoIaF fans, Martin is no exception. No writer wants to frustrate their fans, but this writer's block is a real struggle, and it won't go away that easily.

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A Song of Ice and Fire Books
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Credit: Simona (simisi1)

For those suffering from writer's block, there are many solutions to try. Having a regular writing routine is one of the most common pieces of advice. But every writer is different, and some find this kind of schedule harder than others.

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George R. R. Martin's particularities as a writer

Some authors manage to make writing their priority no matter what and are capable of writing anywhere at all. Some authors can sketch the skeleton of a book and plot it in its entirety before even starting to write it. Others work in opposite ways.

Martin himself explains this succinctly in a much-quoted analogy: some writers are like Architects, always planning and writing with the ending in mind. Others, like himself, are Gardeners; they will write spontaneously, perhaps trying out a few chapters and continuing if they feel up to it, writing to find the answers, rather than knowing them from the beginning. Those writers who identify with the Gardener analogy might be more likely to frustrate their readers with delays but, at the end of the day, artists can't always choose their work style, and there is no right or wrong way to go about a creative process.

Martin needs specific conditions to concentrate

As we've just seen, writers can't always control their creative energy… but they should be able to control distractions, at least to some extent. In the past, Martin has mentioned that unlike other writers he can't write everywhere. As fellow writer Diana Gabaldon has observed, he is not comfortable writing in hotels, or squeezing some writing in a busy schedule, like herself. Martin loves traveling only makes things harder.

George R R Martin
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Credit: Henry Söderlund

Perhaps isolation was what it took for the 71-year old author to get writing done. A year ago, before covid brought our lives upside down, he had mentioned that to be productive, he needs to have the whole day just to write with nothing else scheduled. There are few positives about the pandemic, but isolation and the cancelation of trips gave Martin plenty of days to work on The Winds of Winter. And it might be paying off, as he has teased the release of the awaited book later in 2021.

Advertisement

Martin works on multiple projects

George R. R. Martin has observed that, ironically, the success of his books gives him less, rather than more time to write. His involvement in the Game of Thrones TV series and many other projects, including different stories taking place in Westeros, as well as his travels, mean that Martin had much less time to spend on The Winds of Winter. In that sense, his involvement in the prequel series House of the Dragon might worry some fans.

But Martin has also released several chapters from The Winds of Winter. While not enough to satisfy fans, these chapters remind us that some work has been put in this book so hopefully, it might start taking shape.

We can only wait and see if Martin's increased productivity during the ongoing pandemic means that The Winds of Winter will finally hit our shelves soon. His tweets, including a post-election update, show that, at least, writing is getting done.

Hopefully, it will add up.

Those who were part of the Game of Thrones fandom since day one, before the HBO series took over our screens, might remember a time when George R. R. Martin released a book every few years. But after the legendary Storm of Swords, believed by many to be the strongest book in the series, things became more complicated. Five years passed between that and the fourth installment, A Feast for Crows and another six for the latest A Dance with Dragons to be published. This was in 2011 of course, and many fans are reasonably worried, wondering if the eagerly awaited The Winds of Winter is ever coming out at all.

Advertisement

The Winds of Winter delays

The release of the sixth installment of A Song of Ice and Fire was never meant to take that long. Many a time over the years, Martin has teased possible release dates, but those never came to fruition. When the Game of Thrones TV show ran out of book material and therefore had to go down a different path, book fans grew reasonably frustrated.

But why is Martin taking so long? To understand this, fans need to understand that writing books are a complicated process that rarely goes according to plan.

The Winds of Winter and writer's block

Those who write, know writer's block – and dread it. Writer's block often involves the inability to come up with new ideas, being stuck, or unable to concentrate on creative work. Worst of all, it adds up. The more one postpones writing, the more blocked they might feel until they come to dread writing. Most authors have experienced writer's block at some point in their lives. Unfortunately for ASoIaF fans, Martin is no exception. No writer wants to frustrate their fans, but this writer's block is a real struggle, and it won't go away that easily.

For those suffering from writer's block, there are many solutions to try. Having a regular writing routine is one of the most common pieces of advice. But every writer is different, and some find this kind of schedule harder than others.

George R. R. Martin's particularities as a writer

Advertisement

Some authors manage to make writing their priority no matter what and are capable of writing anywhere at all. Some authors can sketch the skeleton of a book and plot it in its entirety before even starting to write it. Others work in opposite ways.

Martin himself explains this succinctly in a much-quoted analogy: some writers are like Architects, always planning and writing with the ending in mind. Others, like himself, are Gardeners; they will write spontaneously, perhaps trying out a few chapters and continuing if they feel up to it, writing to find the answers, rather than knowing them from the beginning. Those writers who identify with the Gardener analogy might be more likely to frustrate their readers with delays but, at the end of the day, artists can't always choose their work style, and there is no right or wrong way to go about a creative process.

Martin needs specific conditions to concentrate

As we've just seen, writers can't always control their creative energy… but they should be able to control distractions, at least to some extent. In the past, Martin has mentioned that unlike other writers he can't write everywhere. As fellow writer Diana Gabaldon has observed, he is not comfortable writing in hotels, or squeezing some writing in a busy schedule, like herself. Martin loves traveling only makes things harder.

Perhaps isolation was what it took for the 71-year old author to get writing done. A year ago, before covid brought our lives upside down, he had mentioned that to be productive, he needs to have the whole day just to write with nothing else scheduled. There are few positives about the pandemic, but isolation and the cancelation of trips gave Martin plenty of days to work on The Winds of Winter. And it might be paying off, as he has teased the release of the awaited book later in 2021.

Martin works on multiple projects

George R. R. Martin has observed that, ironically, the success of his books gives him less, rather than more time to write. His involvement in the Game of Thrones TV series and many other projects, including different stories taking place in Westeros, as well as his travels, mean that Martin had much less time to spend on The Winds of Winter. In that sense, his involvement in the prequel seriesHouse of the Dragon might worry some fans.

Advertisement

But Martin has also released several chapters fromThe Winds of Winter. While not enough to satisfy fans, these chapters remind us that some work has been put in this book so hopefully, it might start taking shape.

We can only wait and see if Martin's increased productivity during the ongoing pandemic means that The Winds of Winter will finally hit our shelves soon. His tweets, including a post-election update, show that, at least, writing is getting done. Hopefully, it will add up.

Related: HBO Suffers Ratings Drop Ever Since the Game of Thrones Ended