British novelist Salman Rushdie said today that he has to struggle more to find the energy to write as he gets older, but he has developed greater control over his writing.
"I used to write much more in a day than I write now, but it was much less finished," said Indian-born Rushdie, who was in Warsaw for three days on his first visit to Poland. "When you are young, the battle is for control, when you are older, the battle is for energy."
He told a meeting of journalists that he is happy when he writes 300 words a day, but he has to "give the writing the first energy of the day".
"Before you read the newspapers, before you open the mail, before you look at the e-mail, before you telephone anybody, you do your writing. I do it often even before I get dressed. In my pyjamas."
Rushdie was forced into hiding in Britain in 1989 after Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a death sentence against him for his book The Satanic Verses.
Recently, however, Rushdie has made some public appearances and spends much of his time in New York.
Jokingly, he advised everyone against being the subject of a fatwa like the one Khomeini issued against him. "On the other hand, he's the one who is dead. Don't mess with novelists," he said, drawing laughter.
Describing himself as an atheist, Rushdie said he is using his education as a historian in writing a new novel that is partly set in 16th century India and Italy. He would not divulge any other details.
"The 21st century is so horrible that it is really quite nice to spend my days in the 16th century," he said.