Friday, December 18, 2009

A refrigerator to lean on

by Rachel

It’s always interested me to know the writing patterns and practices of authors, as each writer has their own quirks and habits to get words onto a page--some more outrageous than others (did Thomas Wolfe really write standing up beside a refrigerator and did Truman Capote only write while lying down, as has been mentioned over the years?).

In Virginia Woolf’s extended essay, A Room of One’s Own, she stated that a woman had to have money and a room to herself if she was to ever write fiction. However, in more recent times, the Wall Street Journal presented an article on author writing habits and how they’ve come to write bestselling books. Some of their quirky habits will raise an eyebrow, I’m sure, or--if you’re a writer yourself--perhaps these practices are simply the norm in composing the next great novel.

My writing habits--whether it be blogging for DGLM, writing an essay back in college, or simply a story that comes to mind--involve finding a very quiet room, a ridiculous amount of soda to consume, and playing my Rain on a Tin Roof CD on repeat until I can’t write anymore.

Do you have any interesting/unusual habits while writing?


  1. Well, I'm walking on a treadmill as I write this. I've recently bought a used treadmill and my handyman friend built some shelves and turned it into a desk for me. So far, I've walked 110 minutes, answered all my email, and written 1033 words on my WIP this morning. I've discovered that I have to make myself take breaks now because I'm already "moving around." When I sit at a desk all day, I get antsy and go wandering from my office every chance I get.

    I read that article and am intrigued with the idea of stortelling as an oral tradition and writing a book by talking into a recording device. I might try that someday.

  2. It took me awhile before I realized that I was subconsciously changing the envirnment of the room before I wrote. This may mean that I would pick a darker lamp or (in conjunction with Lauren's post) listen to different music.

    I've gotten to the point where I even change the way I dress. By the end of book #1, I was wearing a top-hat, monacle, and twirling an imaginary mustache as I wrote about the antagonist.

    Book #2 is about two irreverent bandits of the modern west. I actually forgot a friend was coming over a few days ago while I was writing, which of course sparked this conversation:
    "Ahhh, are you wearing a holster and cap-gun?"
    "Oh yeah. You bet I am! Pew pew."
    -Colin Hill

  3. I have to wear my magic hat, which is usually whatever my favorite hat is at the time, I puff on a cigar, I have a white-sound generator playing rain or random ocean waves, and, since I have a habit of writing for long stretches at a time (my personal best was 44 hours), a big pot of Kenya Sumatra blend coffee. Have a cup of that at 6am Tuesday morning and at midnight Wednesday you still have a case of Big Eye (insomnia).

  4. I usually listen to the last classical music radio station while I write and edit my novel.

  5. I listened to the soundtrack of Run Lola Run on repeat while I was writing my memoir. I still listen to it while I edit and re-write it.

    For blogging, anything goes.

  6. Swimming laps works for me. And it has to be the crawl -- no other stroke will do. Also, lying in bed in the morning with the blanket pulled up over my face. There's something about covering my head that helps me decide what I'm going to write and how I'm going to write it.