Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Routines of Successful Writers: Why Do We Care?

At the Chronicle of Higher Education, Professor Natalie Houston suggests three reasons:

We’re looking for a magic bullet. It’s tempting to think that if you just did headstands or drank
more coffee you too could be a productive or famous writer. And maybe that is true, if by adopting a regular habit you would sit down to write more regularly.

We want confirmation that our own behavior isn’t so strange. Chances are, whatever
your own work rituals might be, there’s some Beat poet or nineteenth-century eccentric who’s weirder than you are.

We want to be inspired by those who are the recipients of inspiration. The fascination with famous artists is part of a Romantic cult of genius that imagines the Muse sweeping in and favoring a few.

She sums up her advice for writers:

  • Create a writing environment that works for you, whether that’s a desk in your house, a spot at your local coffee shop, in silence or with music. Figure out what you need to work at your best, in terms of physical location, comfort, and sound.
  • Prepare your body and mind in whatever way works best for you, by eating, drinking, exercising, dressing, or not doing any of those things. Set a day and time for writing that will actually fit with your work and family commitments. Make it a sacred appointment. Enlist others to help you stick to your routine.
  • Show up and write. That’s the part that reading another author profile really won’t help you with.


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