Posts tagged ‘writing habits’

September 9, 2013

Writing Routines of Successful Writers

On Friday I shared the 3 Commandments of Writing after reading an excellent compilation of 12 famous writers’ routines. I find those lists extremely valuable, so I wanted to spend a little more time on them today. Below are some of the excerpts I find most poignant as a screenwriter:

E.B. White

A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.

Haruki Murakami

When I’m in writing mode for a novel, I get up at four a.m. and work for five to six hours. In the afternoon, I run for ten kilometers or swim for fifteen hundred meters (or do both), then I read a bit and listen to some music. I go to bed at nine p.m.

I keep to this routine every day without variation. The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind.

But to hold to such repetition for so long — six months to a year — requires a good amount of mental and physical strength. In that sense, writing a long novel is like survival training. Physical strength is as necessary as artistic sensitivity.

Ernest Hemingway

You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again… When you stop you are as empty, and at the same time never empty but filling, as when you have made love to someone you love. Nothing can hurt you, nothing can happen, nothing means anything until the next day when you do it again. It is the wait until the next day that is hard to get through.

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April 18, 2013

Workspaces that Inspire Creativity

Everyone works differently. You may work best in a slightly chilly room in the morning. Or you may work best in a warm atrium. You may work better alone in your room or in a bustling coffee shop. It doesn’t matter where you like to work. What matters is finding the place that works best for you.

BuzzFeed has posted pictures of the workspaces of forty famously creative people including Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, and Picasso. See the full post at BuzzFeed. A few of my favorites are below:

E.B. White

eb white

 

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March 20, 2013

The Writing Routines of Famous Authors

This post on Brain Pickings shares the writing habits of a number of famous authors. Trends that carry through include personal rules for times of day and locations for writing as well as a strict adherence (with occasional opportunities to bend the rules) to regular routines. Here is a quote from Ernest Hemingway on his method (from A Moveable Feast), which I have found quite helpful in my own writing (italics are my own):

When I am working on a book or a story I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write. You read what you have written and, as you always stop when you know what is going to happen next, you go on from there. You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again. You have started at six in the morning, say, and may go on until noon or be through before that. When you stop you are as empty, and at the same time never empty but filling, as when you have made love to someone you love. Nothing can hurt you, nothing can happen, nothing means anything until the next day when you do it again. It is the wait until the next day that is hard to get through.

Read the habits of other famous authors here.

July 10, 2012

Fix Your Writing Mindset

Danny Manus of No BullScript Consulting recently shared this list of advice for getting in the right mindset about your writing and your career:

Two weeks ago, I attended a very special 4-day seminar given by Brendan Burchard, the NY Times #1 best-selling author, motivational speaker, and the expert’s expert. It wasn’t about screenwriting per se, but instead was about being a high performer – in life and in business. Whatever business you might be in.

Much of what I took from the seminar was about making sure you are in the right mindset for success and that you are looking at your daily routine and plans for the future in terms of productivity, energy, clarity and courage.

I realized how many things I was doing that were sabotaging me, and took away some great soundbytes that have helped me get back into the correct mindset. So  I thought I’d share them with you…

First… Delete these sayings from your vocabulary:

-I know how to do that already, I read a book about it.

– I know enough about how to structure a script and write a logline.

– I don’t need to know spelling or grammar, I’ll just have someone edit it.

– I don’t need professional feedback, I know it’s ready.

– The only reason I’m not an A-List screenwriter is because I don’t have an agent or manager.

– I can’t do that, because I don’t have ______.

– I know it’s just a first draft, but I can make it good enough by this weekend to enter it into this contest.

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March 6, 2012

How Professional Screenwriters Work

John Buchanan of Script Magazine recently laid out the work habits that writers need to have to be successful in the film industry:

Screenwriting is unlike any other professional endeavor. To survive its unique pressures and peculiarities and have a career, you’ll have to master a few fundamental disciplines.

It’s one thing to sell a spec script or complete a first paid assignment for a studio. It’s another thing entirely to establish a reputation as a reliable professional and enjoy a long career as an in-demand Hollywood screenwriter. After the glow of initial success fades out, new writers learn—often painfully—that the requisite capabilities for a working scribe reach far beyond the ability to write crackling dialogue or craft a nifty plot twist. Too often, it’s assumed that talent trumps disciplined, hard work.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

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