Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Habits of Highly Successful Writers

Emma Straub, whose Avery Anthology blog has been terrific the past few weeks, has an interview up with author Rae Meadows (Calling Out, No One Tells Everything). At the end of the interview, she asks a funny question:

ES: Lastly, is there a secret talent or obsession of yours that you'd like to share with the Avery audience? I find that most writers I know spend quite a bit of time every day not writing anything at all, and instead go bird-watching, or turn to soap operas, or or or...

RM: Before having a baby, I was a potter, but I won’t be doing much clay work for a while. Luckily there are so many more fantastic distractions to fill my time: Top Chef, Scrabulous, keeping the squirrels out of my garden, the Willy Street Co-op….okay, okay, and The Hills.

I work a lot of book events (it's kind of my thing--er, job), and at almost every event, someone in the crowd asks the writer to describe his or her writing process - what time of day, where they write, what sort of computer they have. I think all of those questions should be replaced by Emma's question. Really, do I care that you always write in a pair of Gucci loafers, or that you write exactly 252 words a day? Does anyone hear about someone's writing process and then try to duplicate it? I'd much rather hear what kind of TV shows the writer is into or how serious they are about model trains. I hope someone asks a question about The Hills at my next event.

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7 Comments:

At 1:28 PM, Blogger Don said...

As a young man, I have to confess that I read biographies of writers as instruction manuals.

 
At 2:00 PM, Blogger Patrick said...

Don,

Did they work? I can just imagine someone reading about Richard Powers, who writes lying down in bed, with the blankets pulled up all around him, and then trying the same thing.

 
At 4:14 PM, Anonymous Edan said...

I have tried this. It beckons napping, not sentences.

 
At 6:46 AM, Blogger Emma said...

I don't know...every word I've written over the last three years or so (and most words over the last four or five) has been written from bed. I used to blame this habit on living in a studio apartment, but now there's really no excuse.

 
At 10:06 AM, OpenID julieklam said...

Because I don't have a really nice chair like Patrick, I tend to move around my apartment to write. I think I do my best work laying on the bed (not under the covers) but ultimately, by back hurts, and I have to move again....

 
At 10:08 AM, OpenID julieklam said...

sorry --"my" back --not "by" back

 
At 10:49 AM, Blogger Patrick said...

You know what successful writers don't do...spell successful wrong.

 

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