Friday, July 25, 2014

Funny Facts

There's some really strange things writers do - or did - in their lives when they were behind closed doors.  Some wrote in the nude because it was when they got their best ideas and felt the most free, Agatha Christie got her best ideas while she was doing the dishes, but then, she also ate apples in her bathtub while mulling over murder plots.  I remember reading about Truman Capote not wanting to even go into a hotel room that involved the number 13 in its digits.  And once he was settled, he'd leave no more than 3 cigarette butts in the ashtray - tucking the others away in his pockets before leaving.
Some writers have even gone to some really strange lengths to get their writing done.  Victor Hugo was said to have kept himself under house arrest, hid all his clothes away - to keep himself from going outdoors - and only wore a long, body-length shawl, which was the only thing he wore for many months until he got 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' finished; using only one large bottle of ink.
Then, there's word counts.  Jack London wrote 1,000 words every single day of his career, while other writers boasted to write more.  William Golding declared that he wrote 3,000 words each day.  Then, Anthony Trollope, who was up at 5:30am each day disciplined himself by writing 250 words every 15 minutes each day, timing himself with a watch to make sure he kept to the number.  Then, Stephen King will do anything to keep to his word count of 2,000 words a day.
And if it's not word count, it's the colour ink or paper authors have used for particular works they have written.  Alexandre Dumas wrote his fiction on a particular shade of blue paper, his poetry on yellow, his articles on pink.  Then with Charles Dickens, he was partial to blue ink because he believed it dried faster than other colour inks.  Virginia Woolf was also partial to different coloured inks as well.  She wrote with greens, blues and purple - the last being her favourite and the colour she wrote in the most.  She wrote all her love letters to Vita Sacksville-West, diary entries and manuscript drafts in purple ink.  Lewis Carroll also preferred purple ink - like Virginia Woolf - and he also preferred to stand at a desk; just like her as well, while he worked on his writing.

Being a writer myself, I have some habits that my family think are strange.  I write in only blue ink; and find that black ink smells funny - actually, it has an awful smell to it really.  And I have a particular pen I use especially crafted for left-handed people my Mum bought for me in Italy when they were over there last. It's very comfortable and I haven't seen one here; so I use it all the time.
There are times I write and times I don't.  Most times I write either in the late afternoons or at around midnight - never any other time for some strange reason.  I also have a large book collection which I haven't let migrate beyond my home office (otherwise it will 'gremlin' on me).  When I go on holidays down the coast for over a week, I get kinda anxious and miss my collection.  So, when I get home, I must touch the spines of my books with my fingertips.  It's strange but true... it's a tactile thing about me as a writer and part of the reason why I keep books around me in my life.  I get my ideas just about anywhere.  There's no real place - like the shower, on the toilet or while I'm washing up - where I get my ideas, they just kinda pop into my head whenever and wherever I am.  Sometimes I have the best dreams and when I wake up, I write them into a dream journal and they become part of the story I'm writing.  
Okay, I've spilled my guts about how weird my writing world can get - just like the other writers before me in history have been - how about you?  If you're a writer, what kinds of strange habits do you have that people think are just plain weird?  Until my next post, happy reading!

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