I just read an article about writers who make themselves physically uncomfortable—perhaps consciously or unconsciously—as a spark to their creative juices. I wrote a blog post a couple of months ago about the strange writing habits of some writers and this is a variation on that theme. Below I will give you the cite for the whole article, but here are a couple of interesting points.
- Some writers do all of their drafts in the font Courier for the “brutally utilitarian shape of its letters and mono spaced characters marching across the page.” Somehow they feel that when it gets transformed into New Times Roman or Arial in the final version, it looks vastly better and more professional and feels polished compared to the draft.
- As you all know if you follow this blog, Hemingway often wrote standing up. This was in part due to pain from the plane crashes and in part, he liked it. However, just as often, I see photos of him working at a large rustic table or at his dining room table.
3 Vladimir Nabakov liked to write in his car, hopefully while parked.
- Friedrich Schiller kept a bunch of rotting apples in his desk that filled the room with “eye watering stench.”
- Wallace Stevens jotted lines on to scraps of paper while working.
- Walter Scott wrote while on horseback. This is puzzling.
- Victor Hugo hid all his clothes save for a grey shawl to prevent himself from leaving the home until he was done meeting his writing requirements.
- Balzac drank 50 cups of coffee a day. I would think that would make him get up and down an awful lot.
- Truman Capote “couldn’t think unless he was lying down and described himself as a completely horizontal author”.
The theory is that discomfort promotes creativity. I’m not sure.
Do you have any weird habits? I feel lucky if I can sit down in front of a fire with the dogs and just write. A glass of wine is welcome, but optional.