Famous Writers’ Weird Writing Habits

Stumbling…it’s what I do. Apparently, it’s what I do best, so I’m obligated to do it whenever possible. This time I stumbled across an interesting article on Flavorwire, which is an online culture magazine. I wasn’t familiar with it, sad to say, probably because I have very little culture. Their own explanation of themselves on Twitter is: “Flavorwire offers cultural news and critique around film, TV, books, music, art, and pop culture the world over. Highbrow, lowbrow, and everything in between.” By happy coincidence, I’m right there in their zone!

This article by the Flavorwire staff deals with how several famous authors get into doing what they do. If it works for them, maybe some of it can spark a thought that will help you get into doing what you do, so it doesn’t hurt to take a look. And even if it doesn’t spark much, it’s informative and entertaining for a few minutes, and everybody can use that from time to time.

And if it gives you permission to write while supine and slurping sherry…bonus!!!

Weird Writing Habits of Famous Authors

By Flavorwire Staff
Dec. 25, 2011

[Editor’s note: While your Flavorwire editors take a much-needed holiday break, we’ll spend the next two weekends revisiting some of our most popular features of the year. This post was originally published July 13, 2011.]

It’s an old topic but it always manages to be interesting — what did the authors we love do in order to write what they did? Beyond the jobs they held, what habits did they have that made writing possible? We take a look at 10 modern authors who had unusual approaches to writing; some due to the limits they would impose on themselves, others due to what they would wear or how they would attempt to channel greatness. Regardless of their methods, they have all produced work of lasting value. We might learn a thing or two from them if we’re willing to get out of our comfort zone and see the craft as just that — a skill to be exercised, not a bolt of ideas that comes if you wait long enough. So read on, dear readers, and tell us in the comments section who we missed.

Truman Capote

Capote would supposedly write supine, with a glass of sherry in one hand and a pencil in another. In a 1957 Paris Review interview with Pati Hill, Capote explains: “I am a completely horizontal author. I can’t think unless I’m lying down, either in bed or stretched on a couch and with a cigarette and coffee handy. I’ve got to be puffing and sipping. As the afternoon wears on, I shift from coffee to mint tea to sherry to martinis. No, I don’t use a typewriter. Not in the beginning. I write my first version in longhand (pencil). Then I do a complete revision, also in longhand.”

John Cheever

In a 1978 Newsweek essay, Cheever writes, “To publish a definitive collection of short stories in one’s late 60s seems to me, 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 my current collection were written in my underwear.” Since the author of The Wapshot Chronicle had but one suit at the time, why rumple and wrinkle it when you can do the same thing in your skivvies? It’s sound reasoning from an impassioned man who was once known as the “Chekov of the suburbs.”

Read more…

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