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BK Blog Post
Posted by Sophia Clark.
Sophia Clark graduated from the University in the City of New York with B.A. in Journalism, 2011.
Writing is all about inspiration and, as you probably know, the latter one can be a fleeting thing. Still, over the years, many successful novelists have managed to grab a Muse by its tail — mostly by developing a set of habits that would inspire them to write. You can do, too!
##1. Creating your routines
One of those habits practically all prolific writers have in common is setting up your own routines. Kurt Vonnegut, Haruki Murakami, Stephen King — all of those people used to wake up early, do some writing, take care of their chores, and get back to writing later. Others, like Hemingway, preferred writing in the evening or even late at night. Haruki Murakami always built a very specific schedule when working on a novel and stuck to it without any exceptions.
##2. Surrounding yourself with special objects
Objects, just like working hours, can be part of your routine, too. Jack Kerouac, for example, favored writing in the candlelight. Virginia Woolf used special pencils. Sure, you are not obliged to have a particular ‘talisman’ that helps you write. But if you feel it can help — why not? More than that, the chances are — you already have an object that makes you feel safe and cozy: a favorite mug, a notepad, a teddy bear.
##3. Not wasting a single moment
J.K. Rowling has a great approach towards writing. She is not ready to waste a single minute and makes notes even on the go. When she is not making notes, she continues to ‘live’ in her fictional world — designing characters, thinking about setting details — whenever she has a free minute. With an approach like this, it’s no wonder her Harry Potter world is so thought-through and realistic.
##4. Setting your own ‘measures’
Karen Russell has a similar approach. Unlike many other writers, he does not set daily word count limits. What he finds truly meaningful is the time spent in the fictional world. You, too, can create your own ‘measures’ of progress — whether the number of pages written on a given day or the number of newly-invented details that help you describe a character.
##5. Cherishing your writing time
Barbara Kingsolver gives another, incredibly useful tip. In a nutshell, it all goes down to loving what you are doing. And, of course, you have to cherish your writing time. As a mother of two, Barbara did not have specific working hours or ‘unbreakable' rituals. She simply loved every spare minute she could dedicate to writing. In our opinion, an approach like this works 100% of the time.
##6. Avoiding distractions
This is a universal tip that will come in handy no matter if you are working on a novel, figuring out descriptive essay topics, or even cleaning up your room. It really doesn’t matter what you want doing, eliminating any distractions will always prove helpful. Different writers go to different lengths to avoid the distractions. E.B. White, for example, never listened to music while writing; Maya Angelou went as far as to rent a hotel room specifically for writing.
##7. Finding your own stimulants
It’s no secret Hemingway would often write drunk. But he was not the only one who loved a bit of alcohol stimulation. Joan Didion, for example, also preferred a drink to help her stay focused. Other writers, like Honoré de Balzac, would choose coffee over spirits. Whatever your case may be, there is nothing wrong with helping yourself out with a stimulant. But of course, remember that some substances might be addictive and use them wisely.
##8. Figuring out your own ‘position’
Writing position can count, too. Mark Twain, for example, would often lie down; Hemingway favored a standing desk; Francine Prose found that writing while facing the wall was the best position for him. Weird as it may sound, this can help a lot. We’re the most creative when we are relaxed and comfortable, and if a certain pose can help you get in the mood — by all means, do it.
##9. Using color codes
Another functional tip from Alexander Dumas — using color codes when writing. If you remember, Dumas’ novels were pretty complicated, filled with various characters and events. Color coding the notes helped the novelist to keep track of his story lines. So, when working on a complicated plot, using different color charts in your outlines can be incredibly helpful.
#10. Physical activity
Another useful habit that has no downside whatsoever. Many established writers (Vonnegut in particular) used physical exercise to help them stay focused. In case of Vonnegut, those were pushups, situps, running and even swimming. A habit like this makes all the sense in the world — apart from helping you stay fit and healthy, it improves your blood circulation, which means that your brain gets more blood, too. In other words, physical activity boosts mental one as well.
Those are just some of the most common habits that might inspire you to write. Sure, you can always dig deeper into the weird routines of any writer you admire, but ultimately the only thing that counts is how comfortable YOU are. Whether to make up your own routines or break them entirely is the kind of choice each person makes for oneself. The best tip here would be to never stop trying — after all, habits may come and go, but the desire to write is something that comes from within. So, good luck with that!
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