Weird Writers’ Rituals Part 2: Famous Odd Writing Routines

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!

ernest hemingway

Ernest Hemingway

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.

john grisham

John Grisham

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.

truman capote

Truman Capote

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.


victor hugo

Victor Hugo

…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.


maya angelou

Maya Angelou

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.

william wordsworth

William Wordsworth

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.

vladimir nabokov

Vladimir Nabokov

He wrote Lotita (among others), standing up writing on index cards… he found it easier to move scenes around at whim.

henrik ibsen

Henrik Ibsen

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

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!

Written by Tori F.
I am a freelance writer and photographer with a wild imagination and inspiration in the form of my two minions (my children), a few feline familiars, and a view out my front windows of the wild West Texas canyons.