8.02.2011

do what you have to do

I love to hear about successful writers' habits - particularly the weird ones.  (Weird habits, that is, not writers.  Well, okay - weird writers too.)  A friend of mine passed along this article recently - it's older, from the WSJ in November of 09, but worth a look.  It talks about what some published writers do to get the words out...

Most days, 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.
 (For the record, I LOVE THAT.)

Booker-prize winner Michael Ondaatje's preferred medium is 8½-by-11-inch Muji brand lined notebooks. He completes the first three or four drafts by hand, sometimes literally cutting and pasting passages and whole chapters with scissors and tape. Some of his notebooks have pages with four layers underneath.

When he's in the middle of a novel, Colum McCann sometimes prints out a chapter or two in large font, staples it together like a book, and takes it to Central Park. He finds a quiet bench and pretends he's reading a book by someone else.

Whatever it takes to get it done, right?  My own writing habits are boring compared to these, though.  (For the record: it doesn't really matter where I am, as long as it's quiet.  I like to type in Scrivener, in Full Screen mode, so that I'm not distracted by other windows, and so that I have to make a point to exit if I want to, say, research something online - helps keep me from disappearing down the rabbit hole.  I always carry a notebook with me for jotting down ideas, but I try not to get bogged down in planning ahead.  And... that's about it.  YAWN.)  Maybe I'll know I've finally made it when I'm only able to write a novel in pasta sauce across the tile of my kitchen floor.

How about you - what secret strange writing habits are you hiding from the world, hmmmm?  *wiggles eyebrows*

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