Authors and their Writing Habits
He spoke his words aloud as he wrote.
He began writing everyday at 4am.
Before beginning writing, he kept as many as 500 pencils sharpened. His first draft went down on yellow paper; his second on white; and his third and final draft on yellow again.
It has been said that Trollope was so finicky about his routine of turning out exactly 7 pages of text per day (and 49 per week), that, if he finished a novel halfway through the next day, he’d write the title of a new book on the next page and continue until he had completed the 7-page quota. His day started at 5:30am and he usually completed his day’s writing before breakfast.
A creature of habit, Simenon’s books all held 200 pages and were all written in 11 days, at a chapter a day. If his pattern was interrupted for any reason, he abandoned the book and started a new one.
When his writing was “going well”, he stopped for the day. That way, he avoided the prospect of an empty page when he restarted.
He worked as much as 18 hours a day, producing more than 50 pages of text. (He typed at a speed of 90 words a minute.)
He only began writing his book when it had been completed in his head.
She slept in the same room as her books, hoping that, by being closer to them, it would enable her to write better.
He didn’t like regimented outlines and would rather write what came to him. He would say, “How do I know what I think unless I see what I say?”
Henry David Thoreau
Since he suffered from insomnia (difficulty sleeping), he kept a piece of paper under his pillow. Usually, he ended up writing in the dark.
So private about her work, she wrote on tiny pieces of paper that could be hidden under blotters if someone walked into the room during the heat of her inspiration.
He wrote anywhere the inspiration struck him—cafes, bars, taxis, buses, and even against the walls of buildings in busy streets.
He kept unpredictable hours, saying, “Authors and uncaptured criminals are the only people in the world entirely free from routine.”
He wrote all his novels at night.
Once, when inspiration suddenly hit him, he even started writing on the sole of his shoe.
Edgar Allan Poe
He never began writing until he had completely arranged his plot and characters—even their quirks and habits. Usually, he could be found pacing the floor, getting himself psyched up for his beginning.
Katherine Anne Porter
The last lines of her book came first. If she didn’t know how her story ended, she said, how would she know how it begun?
He wrote in a private short-hand—so private, in fact, that it wasn’t deciphered until 1825, more than a century after his death.
He wrote wherever was most comfortable. Usually that happened to be in a standing position, using the top of his refrigerator as a desk.