Where do your best ideas come from? I always get my ideas for my next blog post or piece of fiction while in the middle of doing something else. As of late, the shower, the treadmill, and my bed have been my greatest sources for finding inspiration for writing. It’s in these places that the part of my brain that generates ideas can finally relax and spew out ideas as it pleases. If I sit down at a blank computer screen and say, “Write! Write! Write!” there’s too much pressure to produce. But, if I’m standing in the shower focusing on getting the perfect shampoo lather for my hair, the pressure’s off and ideas are born!
Do you have a specific writing ritual that is conducive to coming up with great ideas? I’ve always been interested by the unique writing rituals of famous authors. My writing rituals aren’t too quirky (yet)–I like to write while sitting cross-legged on my bed, on the floor of my living room, or while sipping a glass of Sauvignon blanc. Here’s a look at some of my favorite writing rituals of famous authors:
- Truman Capote wrote lying down while “puffing and sipping.”
- Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. He always wrote in the morning to avoid the heat and limited himself to 500 words a day.
- William Faulkner drank a lot of whiskey while writing.
- Vladimir Nabokov wrote most of his novels on 3×5 index cards and was very particular about the writing utensils he used: note cards and well-sharpened pencils capped with erasers.
- Eudora Welty physically pinned her stories together across the room.
- Maya Angelou checks into a hotel and does her writing there.
- Junot Diaz sometimes writes in the bathroom.
- Richard Powers lies in bed and speaks his stories to his laptop which has voice recognition software.
- Hilary Mantel hops into the shower whenever she needs inspiration.
- Colum McCann writes in 8 point Times New Roman. He also would print out sections of his book in large font and read it in Central Park, pretending that he was reading someone else’s story.
- John Irving always starts his writing with the last sentence.
- Orhan Pamuk will rewrite the first line of his story 50-100 times.
Perhaps it’s time to adopt a quirkier writing ritual. I used to be very particular about the kinds of pens that I used when writing, but that habit has dissolved now that most of my writing is done on the computer. Maybe I should create some sort elaborate writing den in my apartment. Or incorporate sitting in Central Park or maybe a long stroll down Park Avenue into my daily writing routine.