One thing that always fascinates me is the writing habits of famous writers. I love to hear how the writers who made it do the work they do.
Admittedly, this fascination has been a bit detrimental to me.
Once, in grad school, I asked a writer who came and spoke to my class what her writing routine was. She scoffed and said, “Just do the work.”
She made sure I was sufficiently shamed before going into detail about her specific writing routine.
I’ll never understand why some published writers like to shame unpublished writers just by being shitty, but I like to think that I’ll see them in hell.
I thought it might be fun to inspect the writing routines of famous writers, just because I feel like my routine can always use some shaking up. And hell, if it works for Maya Angelou, maybe it will work for us too?I thought it might be fun to inspect the writing routines of famous writers, just because I feel like my routine can always use some shaking up. Click To Tweet
Before we get too far into it, though, remember you can find information about good writing routines here, and information about how to build a writing habit here.
If you think you do too much to have a writing routine, you know I’ve got a post about writing routines for writers who do it all, right?
And if you’re struggling to start a big writing project, well, you know I got you.
Kate Cavanaugh regularly tries writing like famous writers. You can check out some of her writing experiments here.
Writing Habits of Famous Writers
Not all writers have routines, but some do. Check out these famous writer routines:
While everybody and their brother has read Stephen King’s On Writing, his routine is definitely worth talking about.
According to a post on Lit Reactor, King starts every day between 8 AM and 8:30 AM, and writes 2000 words. That means he usually finishes between 11:30 AM and 1 PM.
He does this every single stinking day, whether it’s a holiday or not.
And he also starts with a cup of tea or a glass of water, and a vitamin. And he likes to always write in the same place.
One thing I always wonder is how writers get anything done when they have kids.
I know they can, because I know a lot of writers who have kids. But damn. There has to be a dedication to the routine and knowing when you’ve got your work time.
Jodi Picoult’s routine definitely make’s use of her kid-free time.
A post on She Writes states that Picoult gets up at 5:30 every morning and walks 3 miles with a friend. Then, she comes home and showers and gets the kids off to school.
And when they’re gone, she writes until 3:30 PM when her kids come home.
Admittedly, I’m not the sort of writer who wakes up thinking about writing. About an hour after I’ve been awake though? It’s like my brain is on fire and needs to put the words somewhere.
Barbara Kingsolver is the type that wakes up and is ready to work.
According to the FAQ section on her website, she likes to wake up super early and get the words out.
After writing for a while, she takes a break to have breakfast with her daughter and makes sure she gets off to school okay. Then she takes another break later in the day to meet with her assistant and to handle mail.
Kingsolver also sets alarms throughout the day to remind her to get up and stretch, and she likes to end the day with a work out in the garden.
Maya Angelou’s writing routine is one that fascinates me, though I don’t think it’s replicable for my budget.
Angelou kept a hotel room that she paid for by the month, and she would show up there and write. According to Business Insider, she wrote by laying on the bed and leaning on one elbow.Angelou kept a hotel room that she paid for by the month, and she would show up there and write. Click To Tweet
Angelou began her day by having breakfast with her husband, and she would try to arrive at her writing hotel room by 6:30 AM. Then, she’d leave by 1:30 PM, and look over her writing around 5 PM.
She never let the hotel staff change the sheets since she didn’t sleep in the bed. She also kept a Bible and a bottle of sherry there.
What’s Your Favorite Famous Writer Writing Habit?
What writer has writing habits that you absolutely love? Any habits that you think are impossible? Do you think you could wake up as early and write as all these folks I’ve mentioned?