Sunday, June 30, 2013

What are Your Writing Habits?

A while ago, I came across an interesting article which discussed a book called Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey. As the title indicates, the book explores the habits and rituals of highly creative genius types in all artistic fields. As you’ll read in the article, some of the habits were a little strange, and some downright destructive to one’s health. However, there were some common threads among highly successful writers.

One is that no matter, how busy they were with day jobs or other responsibilities, each found a way to carve out time to write. The length of that time varied greatly. Gertrude Stein, for example, only wrote thirty minutes a day. Interestingly, these writers also worked at the same time every day, regardless of other obligations. It seems that repetition is the key to putting one in a creative state.

Another is that all of the artists recognized the importance of taking a break. Many went for a walk, others took a smoke break, and so on. As writers quickly learn, your mind is still working on your piece whether you’re sitting at the keyboard or with pencil and paper in hand.

A third, somewhat surprising realization was that not all of the highly creative people hated their day jobs. In fact, having a day job made creative time that much more productive. These people didn’t bother with long rituals or mulling over what to write; they just sat down and did it.

Also, many of the artists were big on cleanliness, not only for the obvious reasons, but because a bath or shower also helped them think through problems. For many, (especially those without day jobs) bathing was part of the daily ritual before creation.

I have to say that I've used all of the above, including the day job philosophy, although somehow the genius part hasn’t quite rubbed off on me yet. As technology has changed, I’ve found that taking part in social media a few minutes before writing, is now part of my ritual. And, of course, there’s that necessary cup of coffee! You can read the article, which also contains a link to Currey’s book, at


Julius Eloke said...

nice post, nice blog!

Debra Purdy Kong said...

Thanks! This blog was started by Cheryl K. Tardif and I'm happy to be part of it.