From The Writer’s Devotional, by Amy Peters, Sterling Publishing, 2012

John Cheever wrote some of his early stories in his underwear…Thomas Wolfe reportedly wrote parts of his voluminous novels while leaning over the top of a refrigerator. Flannery O’ Connor sat for two hours every day at a typewriter facing the back of a clothes dresser. 

Kent Haruf

Don’t worry. Sporting only your skivvies is not a requirement for becoming a successful writer, nor is proximity to the refrigerator. What is necessary is to develop a routine for your writing, just as you have other daily routines, like making your bed or fixing breakfast.

Start by choosing a place to write. Perhaps it’s at your kitchen table, with a mug of coffee at the ready, or at your desk in a quiet corner of your house. Some writers opt for a spot away from home, like J.K. Rowling, who writes in restaurants where she nurses one cup of coffee, or Maya Angelou, who favors the sterile environment of hotel rooms. Wherever you choose, pick a place with few distractions.

Kent Haruf, author of the bestselling Plainsong, goes to extreme measures to ensure he is not distracted. When he writes, it’s in the basement of his family home in a small room that once served as a coal cellar. There, Haruf takes off his glasses and pulls a stocking cap snugly over his eyes. “It’s the old notion of blinding yourself so you can see,” says Haruf. He types on a manual typewriter, finding that this writing blind helps to free up his mind to become more spontaneous. Only once, he notes, did his fingers stray off home row.

Submitted by Barbara Cairns (SSRA Member)

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