It’s not a secret that many famous writers of the past and the present had, or still have, habits considered strange by other people. Nevertheless, strange writing habits were dearly cultivated and consistently practiced by writers to help them boost their creativity or productivity or to get them into the right mood for writing. Here’s a short list of habits belonging to some well-known writers that you can use.
- Haruki Murakami: “Routine as part of the process”. A famous Japanese writer, Haruki Murakami, has a special procedure, which he adheres to every time he turns on his “writing mode,” as he calls it. In this mode, he gets up at 4 a.m. sharp, and works on his writing for several hours straight (usually, as Murakami says, it takes up to six hours). After that, he goes running (10 kilometers), swimming (1500 meters), or both. Finally, at the end of such a productive day, Murakami listens to some music and reads, and goes to bed at precisely 9 p.m.Murakami believes that such a ritual, performed for years without even the slightest variation, can work as a form of hypnosis that helps set his mind for writing.
- Vladimir Nabokov: “Using index cards can help”. A famous writer, Vladimir Nabokov, was known to use small index cards to write his ideas, or sometimes even the fragments of his current or future stories and novels, on. There was no particular order for these cards, so he could simply toss them in a random order from time to time which he did, actually. This method could lead to unexpected plot twists and combinations. Nabokov kept some blank cards under his pillow in case he suddenly got an interesting idea in the middle of the night.
- Victor Hugo: “Eliminate all distractions… or isolate yourself from them”. The author of Notre-Dame de Paris was known to procrastinate from a lot. One of his favorite occupations was to simply stroll around the streets. Probably, he could do this all day long; otherwise why would he ask his relatives to take away all his clothes? Without clothes, he obviously couldn’t exit his house, so the only thing he could do under such circumstances was to stay at home and work on his novels.
- Aaron Sorkin: “Talk to yourself”. The screenwriter behind the “Social Network” movie (and some others as well) confesses that his way of writing – in particular, it refers to dialogues – is to speak out loud. Turning into an actor, he plays the roles of his own characters. You can read the dialogues line by line in order to determine whether they sound natural, where the flaws are, and what can be improved. The trick is that audial perception helps the brain detect all kinds of mistakes and discrepancies more easily, without being distracted by inner monologue. So, this method can be used not just for dialogues, but for writing in general.
- Dan Brown: “Shift from mental to physical activity”. The author of the famous Da Vinci Code says that standing on his head (or maybe hanging upside down?) helps him relax and get into a more creative state of mind. He also does pushups every half an hour, when writing. So, why wouldn’t you do the same? It sounds like a good habit to follow.
Of course, these habits alone can’t improve your writing, or make you a great author. It’s even likely that none of them will work for you. The main idea is that every writer has their own unique ritual, habit, or trick, helping them to write more productively. You can try them out too, but the best thing would probably be to develop some peculiar writing habit on your own.
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