Monday, August 12, 2013

Writing Rituals

From Kate's Writing Crate…

            I'm a writer so I should love to write—and I do—but I hate getting started. Call it resistance or procrastination, but I have to force myself go to my desk unless I am on deadline. It's nice to know I am not the only one as I found out when I read Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey. He shares the creative routines of 161 well-known writers, composers, painters, choreographers, playwrights, poets, philosophers, sculptors, filmmakers, and scientists.

As Currey writes in the Introduction:

"…most of the people in this book are…committed to daily work but never entirely sure confident in their progress; always wary of the one day off that undoes the streak. All of them made the time to get their work done. But there is infinite variation in how they structured their lives to do so.

This book is about that variation. And I hope that readers will find it encouraging…"

            Writers work morning, noon, and night depending on who you ask.
On page 6, "I am always in a hurry to get going, though in general I dislike starting the day," [Simone de] Beauvoir told The Paris Review in 1965. "I first have tea and then, at about ten o'clock, I get under way and work until one. Then I see my friends and after that, at five o'clock, I go back to work and continue until nine…"
On page 122, Maya Angelou stated "…I keep a hotel room in which I do my work—a tiny, mean room with just a bed, and sometimes, if I can find it, a face basin. I keep a dictionary, a Bible, a deck of cards and a bottle of sherry in the room. I try to get there around 7, and I work until 2 in the afternoon. If the work is going badly, I stay until 12:30. If it is going well, I'll stay as long as it is going well. It's lonely and it's marvelous…"
On page 133, Currey wrote: [Joseph] Heller wrote Catch-22 in the evenings after work, sitting at the kitchen table in his Manhattan apartment. "I spent two or three hours a night on it for eight years," he said. "I gave up once and started watching television with my wife. Television drove me back to Catch-22…"
I enjoyed learning about the routines of some of my favorite writers like Agatha Christie (page 103) and Mark Twain (page 173). I loved what Philip Larkin wrote on page 130. But my favorite one was about Jonathan Franzen (pp. 227-228) as it is romantic, sad, and inspiring, too.
The daily ritual entry for each person ranges from a paragraph or two to a page or two. It's a good book to read when you have a difficult time getting starting. Look at all these 161 people accomplished because they got their work done. Get your work done and see where it takes you.
What are your daily writing rituals?

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