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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Writing on Wednesday: Why Writing in Bed is Not So Weird After All, or the Odd Writing Habits of a Few Famous Authors

Whether you are standing up, lying down, naked, eating apples, or out in your garden shed as you write, you are apparently in great company.  Many authors have unique writing rituals or habits, or wish we didn't procrastinate so much and actually had writing rituals or habits.  Whatever it takes to get the job done; the proverbial "butt in chair" method that is oft quoted seems to help but a few of us.  Others require some very specific conditions.

Carl Hiaasen likes to face a blank wall, and wears noise-cancelling earmuffs. 
Dan Brown occasionally dons a pair of gravity boots and hangs upside-down from a special frame.
Ruth Krauss kept her manuscripts in the refrigerator.
Agatha Christie ate apples.
Flannery O'Connor preferred vanilla wafers.
Victor Hugo wrote in the nude so he would not be able to leave the house and instructed his valet to hide his clothes.
Roald Dahl composed in the privacy of his garden shed.
James Joyce wrote lying on his stomach in bed with a large blue pencil and wearing a white coat.
Truman Capote also liked to write lying down.
Stephen King is quoted as saying he had a goal of 2000 "adverb-less" words a day.
Lewis Carroll preferred using purple ink.
Joseph Heller arrived at some of his greatest ideas while riding the bus.
Woody Allen was inspired during crowded subway rides.

Some of my fellow writers claim they must be at the local library or sitting in a Starbucks since there are too many distractions at home.  Others keep to a strict daily two or three hour time frame or their required 1000 or 2000 words.  Still others have warm up activities - such as write about the last thing that made you laugh/cry, or do 30 jumping jacks.  Another must wear red flannel pajamas.

So what weird thing do you do?  And does it help?
Maybe we don't have writer's block after all.  Perhaps we are like Harold and all we need is  a purple crayon.

Andrea Perry, November 19, 20114

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