Habits of Famous Writers

By Nicholas Klacsanzky

Hi everyone!

writer dangling pen on mouthIf you have some favorite writers, you probably know some facts about them. Along with such info as their date of birth, marital status, or political views, the most interesting are facts about weird habits these writers possess or possessed (and almost all of them did or do). According to my research, the habits of genius writers can be divided in two categories: either it was something unique, or on the contrary something mundane. Check out the following list of writing habits:

Truman Capote

One of the most significant writers in American literature, he would write mainly while lying on his couch.

He said: “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.”

Jane Austen

Have you seen “The Shining” by Stanley Kubrick? In this movie, Jack Nicholson’s character continually writes the same phrase over and over again: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Creepy, huh? Well, Jane Austen used to do something similar. Before starting to write, she would spend around half an hour writing the same phrase on a sheet of paper: “Momma needs a sammich, a big honkin’ sammich!”

Ernest Hemingway

You do not need to be justifiably paranoid to get close to Hemingway’s genius. Instead, you can develop a habit of mentioning some strange action in whatever you write. Hemingway is known to have inserted scenes in his stories of someone touching other people’s food. The drafts of early Hemingway’s works are said to have contained dozens of such references, later excluded by editors.

John Steinbeck

I would call Steinbeck’s habit mundane, but brought to perfection. Steinbeck used to write his drafts with pencils; for this purpose, he always kept exactly twelve perfectly sharpened pencils nearby. Not too extravagant, but in a way unusual.

Jack Kerouac

To me, this one is the most amazing. Kerouac wrote his entire novel “On the Road” on a scroll of teletype paper. Imagine yourself carrying around a 120 feet-long scroll, unfolding it every time you want to write something—in a cafe, for instance, then folding it back, and hiding it under your coat. People would think you are crazy! But does it matter if you are able to write something as amazing as “On the Road?”

Now I am thinking about developing a weird (or maybe super-normal) habit myself. What about you?

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