Geez… we are a crazy bunch.
I thought I was eccentric enough with my Jungle Mug and rock soundtrack (or maybe the crazy was in the baby wipes for the desk), but some of these writers really make me seem sane. I love it!
You’ve gotta start with the great one… and this one needs no introduction.
An early-bird, Hemingway would get up with the sun and write until he had “said what he had to say,” then he was done. No going back, no adding, no more writing was allowed until the next morning.
He also wrote standing up. And drinking… which together is impressive.
As a struggling writer (The Client, The Pelican Brief, etc.) who paid the bills with a full time law career, time was precious. He would get up early and insist on being at work, in his desk chair, by 5:30am. There he had to write one page before he could begin his law work… even if that one page took him till noon.
The “horizontal author” of In Cold Blood and Breakfast at Tiffany’s gave himself the title when describing how he could only write when lying on a couch or in bed. He also required coffee and cigarettes in the morning, tea and smokes in the afternoon, and puffed away with sherry and martinis in the evening.
The ancient Greek writer would shave half his head. By looking so idiotic, he ensured he would stay home and work, instead of going out to face the ridicule.
…used the same concept by having his valet hide his clothes. He is the French novelist that brought us Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
The author of I Know why the Caged Bird Sings, she wrote in a hotel room every day, where she had all wall decorations taken down when she checked in each morning.
The great poet wrote plenty of odes to his dog, but some accounts say that he consulted with the animal about his work as well… everything was read aloud to the dog. If there was a bark of dismay, the page was thrown out.
He wrote Lotita (among others), standing up writing on index cards… he found it easier to move scenes around at whim.
The playwright of A Doll’s House hung a huge oil painting of his greatest rival on the wall, as inspiration to always strive to be better than his enemies.
Jonathan Safran Foer
Hangs blank sheets of paper he requests from various famous authors on the wall. The writer of Everything is Illuminated claims it stimulates and inspires his mind.
See? You’re not alone in your strange writing rituals!