Catherine, the C of C.D. Hersh, here today talking about writing habits.
We’ve been working on the next book in The Turning Stone Series—The Mercenary and the Shifters. Donald has done his part—the scene outlines and putting the plot lines together. Now It’s my turn to start the first draft. I’ve begun, but it’s starts and jerks, interrupted by blog tours, guest blogging, and the daily stuff of life that is making me crazy.
So, I thought—to make myself feel better about the herky-jerky way I’ve been writing—I’d research what other writers have to say about how they go about the task of writing. Yes, I know, I should really be writing, not wasting my time surfing the internet for quotes. But what can I say? I’m a procrastinator. Anyway, after reading a few quotes, I’m not beating myself up so much.
Here’s what some famous writers have to say about their writing processes.
- I just sit at my typewriter and curse a bit.—P.G. Wodehouse
- I get up in the morning, torture a typewriter until it screams, then stop.—Clarence Budington Kelland
- I write whenever it suits me. During a creative period I write every day: a novel should not be interrupted. When I cease to be carried along, when I no longer feel as though I were taking down dictation, I stop. —Francois Mauriac
- I quit writing if I feel inspired, because I know I’m going to have to throw it away. Writing a novel is like building a wall brick by brick; only amateurs believe in inspiration. —Frank Yerby
- Three hours a day will produce as much as a man ought to write. —Anthony Trollope.
- I type in one place but I write all over the house. —Toni Morrison.
- When I have trouble writing, I step outside my studio into the garden and pull weeds until my mind clears—I find weeding to be the best therapy there is for writer’s block. —Irving Stone
- What I find is that I can write and do other things. When the creative urge seizes one—at, least, such is my experience—one becomes creative in all directions at once. —Henry Miller
- The faster I write the better my output. If I’m going slow I’m in trouble. It means I’m pushing the words instead of being pulled by them. —Raymond Chandler
- Prowling about the rooms, sitting down, getting up, stirring the fire, looking out the window, teasing my hair, sitting down to write, writing nothing, writing something and tearing it up…—Charles Dickens
- As a writer, I need an enormous amount of time alone. Writing is 90 percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials. It’s a matter of doing everything you can to avoid writing, until it is about four in the morning and you reach the point where you have to write. Having anybody watching that or attempting to share it with me would be grisly.—Paul Rudnik
- Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up. —Jane Yolen
After reading these writers’ habits (at least some of them) I don’t feel so bad. Personally, I favor numbers 3, 5, 6, 7, 10. Number 11 is my default writer’s avoidance tactic, with a bit of cleaning thrown in.
Do any of these methods work for you? If not, what does?