”Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” - Jim Ryun
When it comes to writing habits, mine are pretty boring. I sit down in front of my computer and write. Some days I write more or better than other days, but the routine is the same.
According an article in the Wall Street Journal by Alexandra Alter, “How to Write A Great Novel,” there are plenty of authors who have interesting writing behaviors.
Richard Powers has one of the more unique approaches to writing. According to the article:
“Richard Powers, whose books are often concept-driven, intricately plotted and stuffed with arcane science, wrote his last three novels while lying in bed, speaking to a lap-top computer with voice-recognition software.”
The article goes on to say that he worked like this for eight or nine hours a day on his most recent novel, Generosity: An Enhancement.
I hope he has a really good mattress. In some ways, seven or eight hours in bed sleeping plus eight or nine in bed writing sounds heavenly, but I don’t think I could do it. I tend to fall asleep anytime I’m in a reclined position, whether I’m sleepy or not.
Nicholson Baker, “…rises at 4 a.m. to write at his home in South Berwick, Maine. Leaving the lights off, he sets his laptop screen to black and the text to gray, so that the darkness is uninterrupted. After a couple of hours of writing in what he calls a dreamlike state, he goes back to bed, then rises at 8:30 to edit his work.”
I’ve read some of my notes written in a dreamlike state—the only editing needed is a quick click on the delete button.
But there’s more on Nicholson Baker. “…he grew out a beard to resemble his character, put on a floppy brown hat, set up a video camera on a tripod and videotaped himself giving poetry lectures. He transcribed about 40 hours worth of tape, and ended up with some 1,000 pages of notes and transcription. Creating the voice of a rambling professor "was something I had to work on a lot in order to get the feeling of being sloppy," said Mr. Baker.”
Watching myself for 40 hours trying to do anything sounds like the most painful and boring experience I can imagine.
Junot Diaz, “He often listens to orchestral movie soundtracks as he writes, because he's easily distracted by lyrics. When he needs to seal himself off from the world, he retreats into the bathroom and sits on the edge of the tub. "It drove my ex crazy," he says. "She would always know I was going to write because I would grab a notebook and run into the bathroom."
The music I could deal with, but sitting on the edge of the tub sounds completely uncomfortable.
The author I identified with the most was Kate Christensen who said, “…she's played 30 games of solitaire before typing a first sentence.”
Oh, Kate, we are such kindred spirits.
There are seventeen authors mentioned in the article. I thought they were all interesting. If you’d like to read it in its entirety you can find it here. Thanks to my sister for passing it along to me.
I’ll be at the Holiday Book Festival at the Cultural Center of Charlotte County, 2280 Aaron Street, Port Charlotte, FL from 10 AM to 4:00 PM today. Come say hello if you’re in the area.
Thanks for stopping by.
Tags: Jim Ryun, Wall Street Journal, Richard Powers, Nicholson Baker, Kate Christensen, Charlotte Country, writing habits