Quite often I'm asked if I have a routine or a writing ritual. I don’t really, except for the fact I write all my rough drafts by hand. The words seem to flow better for me with pen in hand. Also, I need complete silence, so do the bulk of my writing when I’m home alone. If I have a deadline and my girls are around, I've been known to take out my hearing aids and get ‘er done lol
Curiosity drove me to find other authors writing habits…
Stephen King famously writes no less than ten pages a day, even on holidays.
The Da Vinci Code's Dan Brown keeps an hourglass on his desk and, on the hour, puts aside his manuscript to perform push-ups, sit-ups, and stretches.
Michael Ondaatje, author of The English Patient, writes everything longhand and then literally cuts and pastes (with scissors and tape).
P.G. Wodehouse author of ‘The Inimitable Jeeves’ and many other works, used to pin the pages in undulating waves around the wall of his workroom. Pages he felt were working well would be pinned up high, and those that still needed work would be lower down the wall. His aim was to get the entire manuscript up to the picture rail before he handed it in.
Ernest Hemingway, “Papa” Hemingway wrote 500 words a day. That’s not bad, though. Hemingway woke early to write to avoid the heat and to write in peace and quiet. Interestingly, though Hemingway is famous for his alcoholism, he said he never wrote while drunk.
Truman Capote, the author of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “In Cold Blood” claimed to be a “completely horizontal author.” He said he had to write lying down, in bed or on a couch, with a cigarette and coffee. The coffee would switch to tea, then sherry, then martinis, as the day wore on. He wrote his first and second drafts in longhand, in pencil. And even his third draft, done on a typewriter, would be done in bed — with the typewriter balanced on his knees.
Danielle Steel works in concentrated marathon sessions, which affords her blocks of time she can devote to her large family. Unlike many of her heroines, Steel shies away from the limelight, refusing to do promotional tours, and lives a relatively quiet life that is frequently far from glamorous. When writing, she has been known to work eighteen-hour days, typing away on a 1948 metal-body Olympia in a flannel nightgown.
A typical day for one of my favorite authors, Maeve Binchy, is breakfast (grapefruit and Irish soda bread and tea,) then upstairs to a big, bright workroom. They have one long desk: her husband (Gordon Snell) is at one end, and Maeve at the other. He writes his children's books, and she does her stories. They both try to be at their desks by 8:30 AM, and they work until 1:00 PM. This includes answering mail and filing. Then when work is over, they have lunch and play a game of chess. They play seven days a week and have been doing so for over thirty years, and both admit they are still hopeless at it, but love it to bits.
For fun I asked a few author friends on Twitter if they listen to music when they're writing.
NinaPierce No music. Nadda. When I'm in full concentration, music scrambles my wiring and I can't think through it. Seems more people plan music to their book. But that is so not me. Music definitely can spur my imagination, but wreaks havoc on my thoughts.
Johnny Ray or Sirjohn_writer listens to many kinds of music, including Russian. I have others on my computer, from relaxing to explosive, it depends on my mood.
mgbraden Music? I actually don't usually listen to any. I find it easier to hear the voices without it! :-)
Stella Price or Eververse listens to alot of indie. I like The Faint, She Wants Revenge, GlassJaw and some old stuff like Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits. And LOVE Concrete Blonde.
SavannahChase listens to everything from Linkin Park, Matt Pokora, Incubus, Rob Thomas, Cinema Bizarre, Darren Hayes, The Midway State,BEP,Danny,Tommy Lee....I have a very eclectic taste..I am one of those author's who needs music while I write. I can't write in silence...Music inspires me and gives me the drive to let the story just flow through my fingers.
As you can see, the writing habits of all these authors, whether they be seasoned or new, is as diverse as the stories they tell. There is no right or wrong when it comes to settling in to write a story. The common bond I find with all authors is their love of the written word—an insatiable need to tell a story.
Write on…or go insane.
Do you Twitter? http://twitter.com/adellelaudan