7 Insane Habits of World-Famous Writers You Can Use

By on July 8, 2016

Every writer has little habits or rituals that they like to stick to, whether it’s a good luck thing, a specific morning routine, or an exercise that they do to get them into a creative mindset and ready to face the day.

Perhaps you don’t want to share your strange writing habits, or even feel a little embarrassed by them. Well the good news is you are not alone! Even the most famous writers have these little nuances to help them get motivated and inspired to write.

Take a look at some of the crazy routines these celebrated writers used to get them into the right mindset to write:

Standing up

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From Charles Dickens to Virginia Woolf, many famous writers have advocated standing up to help them feel inspired, and even had special standing desks to allow them to work on their feet!

Lying down

Mark Twain used to write in bed, and George Orwell, Woody Allen and Michel Proust also swore by lying horizontally to get the creative juices flowing. Truman Capote even went as far as to say that he couldn’t think or produce any writing unless lying down!

Hanging upside down

An even stranger writing position to try is hanging upside down, but famous author Dan Brown claims it is excellent at getting rid of writers block, saying it helps him to relax and think freely. Just don’t do it for too long! Mr Brown would also stop every hour to do some light exercise and stretches to loosen up and reinvigorate himself before getting back to work.

Using index cards

Vladimir Nabokov used to draft his entire novel on index cards which he could then reorder as he saw fit. He also kept a stash of notecards under his pillow so if he woke up suddenly inspired by an idea he could write it down immediately to ensure he didn’t forget it.

Doing it naked

Victor Hugo liked to write in the nude. A little strange maybe and certainly one to try in the privacy of your own home! However, Victor's reasons weren’t to do with feeling ‘natural’ or ‘free.’ He actually asked his valet to remove all his clothes from the house so he couldn’t go outside to make sure he met the deadline for his novel, ‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame.’ Quite extreme but it seemed to work for him!

Facing the wall

All writers know how easy it can be to get distracted. Authors such as Francine Prose tried to minimise this by giving themselves the dullest view possible. Facing away from the windows and sitting opposite a blank wall means there will be less to look at which could make your mind wander, therefore you will be able to concentrate on your writing for longer!

Acting it out

Aaron Sorkin is known for acting out the dialogue in his novels to make sure it flows. He did, however, once break his nose doing just that - so if you are acting out a big fight scene just try not to get carried away!

These weird writing habits from famous authors have all helped them to write some truly wonderful fiction, so why not give them a go, or tell us yours!

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

About Bethany Cadman

Bethany Cadman is an author and freelance writer. Her highly anticipated debut novel 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers' is available on Amazon as both an eBook and a paperback. You can find it here - http://tinyurl.com/z47t8qf

5 Comments

  1. Ohita Afeisume

    August 8, 2016 at 3:57 am

    Thanks Bethany for this interesting post. I was smiling all the way!

    For me, my daily ritual before I begin writing is to offer a quick prayer first. Then drinking lots and lots of water now and again keeps me going. Simple but profound things for me.

    • Laura Leighanne

      November 1, 2016 at 12:16 pm

      Really? I was laughing. A little surprised, but laughing nonetheless.

  2. Carol Kondrat

    August 8, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    I don’t feel so weird now! As a writing teacher, I planned my lessons at night and often as a dream. I would either get up and write down my plans or write in the dark in a spiral that I kept next to the bed. Some of my best lessons were created then. I just had to remember them and work them into reality. My students already knew I was a little crazy, so they humored me!

  3. Blake Bellini

    May 23, 2017 at 11:51 pm

    I will have to remember writing in the nude to meet a deadline once I get famous. Right now, I would never get anything done if my husband came home to find me writing in the nude!

  4. Vern Pringle

    May 24, 2017 at 8:12 pm

    It’s a comfort knowing that some of our prolific authors, poets and even actors also have the same problems of “distractions” and “procrastinations” like I do. Thanks for sharing this, Bethany!

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