Utne Blogs > Literature

How Writers Write

by Elizabeth Ryan 


Tags: Great Writing, writers, writing habits, Gay Talese, Ryerson Review of Journalism,

ideaWriters are full of peculiar and unconventional techniques when it comes to generating ideas and thinking about story structure. According to the Ryerson Review of Journalism, taking a lengthy dip in the bathtub or hitting the elliptical machine are not out to the question for some writers while others prefer binge buying new office supplies or creating a “sensory deprivation chamber” (think installing heavy blinds and using construction ear guards). But my favorite practice has to be this gem: “Gay Talese used to type up pages, pin them to Styrofoam panels in his office and observe them using a set of binoculars from across the room. ‘It’s like laundry on a clothesline,’ he would say.”
 
Source: Ryerson Review of Journalism (article not yet available online)
 
Image by orkboi, licensed under Creative Commons.
dianarajchel
6/14/2010 3:17:53 PM

Writing process is a longstanding mystery, although now I'm seeing a lot more writers share their habits on Twitter. Everyone's brain is wired a little differently. I for one succeed at meeting deadlines much better when surrounded by classical music; others need silence and still others need meditation sessions. The process is not quite as unique as a fingerprint, but it's close.