The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Famous Authors & Weird Writings Habits
When it comes to writing, whether we are writing a short story, a novella, an article for our blog, or even content for a professional newspaper or magazine, we all have our own ways of getting into the zone and writing. Sometimes our best ideas come to us while on the toilet, while other times, they may come to us while listening to music or dreaming. In order to write, some authors may require complete privacy and silence, while others may not mind sitting at Starbucks in public with the background noise of people. Some authors may like to eat a piece of cake or celery in order to concentrate on their writing, while others write better on an empty stomach. Some writers still need the old fashion pen and paper, while others need a typewriter or computer to write well. No matter who you are or what you write, you have a very specific habit that is likely unique to you and influences what you write and how you write. The very disturbance of your writing ritual can throw off the entire balance for your concentration.
In order to get in the zone, everyone has their own set of practices and rituals that help calm their mind to focus on what they do best. Famous writers are everyday people too, writing from their imaginations and experiences, harnessing in on their power of storytelling and writing their thoughts down. Everything from the environment and surroundings, to the people they are around, to the foods they eat, the amount of sleep they get, and sometimes, even the drugs they take may influence their writing mindset.
This infographic explores several famous writers and their awkward, unique, and weird writing habits.
Infographic from Anna Ponce, summary article by Matthew Gates
Click to open / Right-click for save options
10 Weird Writing Habits of Famous Authors
Has to be puffing and sipping.
Capote would supposedly write supine, with a glass of sherry in one hand and a pencil in another. He said of himself as of a “completely horizontal author”. He can’t think unless he is lying down, either in bed or stretched out on a couch with a cigarette and coffee handy.
“Chekhov of the suburbs.”
To publish a definitive collection of short stores in one’s late 60s seemed to him, as an American writer, a traditional and a dignified occasion, eclipsed in no way by the fact that a great many of the stories in his current collection were written in his underwear. Why rumple and wrinkle in a suit when you can do the same thing in your skivvies?
Writing while facing a wall.
The author of Blue Angel and the president of PEN American Center confided that when she’s writing, she wears her husband’s “red and black checkered flannel pajama pants and a T-shirt.”
Doesn’t like heat.
Hemingway famously said he wrote 500 words a day, mostly in the mornings, to avoid the heat. Though a prolific writer, he also knew when to stop. In a letter to F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1934, he wrote, “I write one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of shit. I try to put the shit in the wastebasket.”
Inspired to drink by Sherwood Anderson.
Faulkner drank a to of whiskey when he was writing. It all started when he met Sherwood Anderson. They used to go a drinking place and sit around till one or two o’clock drinking. And he thought then, “if that was the life it took to be a writer, that was the life for me.”
Lyndall Gordon writes in T.S. Eliot: A Modern Life that in the early 1920s, the author answered to “Captain Eliot” in his hideaway Chatto & Windus, a publishing house on St. Martin’s Lane: however, at another hideaway on Charing Cross Road, visitors were asked to inquire at the porter’s lodge for a man known only as “The Captain.” Eliot’s face was “tinted green with powder to look cadaverous.” What can we say? The man was an eccentric genius for good reason.
Flannery O’ Connor
Taxing activity let her to write 2 hours a day.
She used to write only about two hours every day because that was all the energy she had, but she didn’t let anything interfere with those two hours, at the same time and the same place. Since she had lupus, any activity was incredibly taxing for her during the end of her life, so she sat facing the blank surface of her wood dresser, which provided no distractions.
Index cards — the man loved them.
Most of his novels were written on handy 3 x 5 inch cards, which would be paper-clipped and stored in slim boxes. His schedule was flexible, but he was rather particular about his instruments: lined Bristol cards and well sharpened, not too hard, pencils capped with erasers.
She used to use ordinary paste and put the story together in one long strip, that could be seen as a whole and at a glance — helpful and realistic. When the stories got too long for the room, she took htem up on the bed or table & pinned… she could almost read them in any direction.
10 pages a day. Strictly.
He used a typewriter. He wrote ten pages a day, triple-spaced, which means about eighteen hundred words. IF he could finish that in three hours, then he was through for the day. He wrote while leaning over a refrigerator because he was so tall.