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9 Weird Habits That Famous Writers Formed to Write Better

9 Weird Habits That Famous Writers Formed to Write Better

Every writer is in constant search of a solid strategy for their personal daily battle with the blank page. This doesn’t only happen to newbies, it even happens to the literary icons we adore. Excellent wordsmiths have to wait for their best and motivated self before they can produce deep and thought-provoking novels and stories. Along with their drive to work in the ways that best suit them, famous writers’ own strange writing rituals also bring meaning to their creations.

Aside from innate skills and intelligence, the greatest geniuses share their potential with the world by possessing remarkable eagerness and a strong passion towards their craft. But believe it or not, most famous writers have also adopted bizarre habits in an attempt to scribble their words down on paper. Many successful authors were able to distinguish themselves from the rest of the pack because of these quirky secrets. Take a look at some of the routines of these eccentrics that may help you simplify your own writing process.

1. Lying down

Twain_writing_in_bed_jpg_600x458_q85
    Mark Twain writing in bed.

    For some authors, lying down seems to set their creativity and focus in writing. They find inspiration and the right words to write while they are in the comfort of their bed. Among the successful novelists who have practiced this habit are Mark Twain, George Orwell, Edith Wharton, Woody Allen and Marcel Proust. They were all known for churning out pages while lying in bed or lounged on a sofa. American author and playwright Truman Capote even claimed to be a “completely horizontal author” because he couldn’t think and write unless he was lying down.

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    2. Standing up

    Hemingwaywriting1
      Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up.

      In contrast to point 1, writing vertically is also not peculiar for famous writers of critically acclaimed novels and motivational speeches: writers like Hemingway, Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf, Lewis Carroll, and Philip Roth. These great thinkers have been inspired to pen their finest pieces at their standing desk. For health-conscious writers, this technique might work for you because standing desks offer many proven benefits.

      3. Writing with index cards

      vladimir-nabokov-writing-draft-on-index-cards
        Vladimir Nabokov writing a draft on index cards.

        Vladimir Nabokov, author of Lolita, Pale Fire, and Ada, was very particular about his writing instruments. He composed all his works on index cards, which he kept in slim boxes. This odd method enabled him to write scenes non-sequentially and re-order the cards any time he wanted.

        Nabokov also stored some of his lined Bristol cards underneath his pillow. This way, if an idea popped into his head, he could quickly write it down. You can use index cards when doing your note-taking or plotting too. It’s a different way to construct your story that can knock fun things loose.

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        4. Using a color-coded system

        Alexandre-Dumas2
          Alexandre Dumas

          French author Alexandre Dumas wrote his historical adventure novels like The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo using a color-coded system of writing. It may be hard to imagine, but this genius was actually very specific on the palettes of colors for his works. Interesting, right? For decades, Dumas used various colors to indicate his type of writing. Blue was the color for his fiction novels, pink for non-fiction or articles and yellow for poetry. Why not try applying different colors to your content creation and see if it can help you express yourself in print.

          5. Hanging upside down

          Dan Brown
            Dan Brown

            Hanging upside down is the cure for writer’s block; at least, this is what the renowned bestselling author Dan Brown believes. According to Brown, when he does so-called inversion therapy, it helps him relax and concentrate better on his writing. The more he does it, the more he feels relieved and inspired to write.

            Another unusual habit of the Da Vinci Code writer is having an hourglass on his desk. Every hour he sets aside his manuscript to do some push-ups, sit-ups and stretches. Imitating such weird tactics doesn’t seem like a bad idea at all. If it helps you to write, why not give it a try, right? At the very least, you’ll stay fit!

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            6. Facing a wall

            Francine_Prose
              Francine Prose

              Francine Prose, the author of Blue Angel, believes that writing while facing a wall is the perfect metaphor for being a writer. When working in a strange apartment, Prose’s solution for limiting distraction was moving her desk to face the window and looking out on a high brick wall. She found this view monotonous but it helped her to sit and write for long stretches of time.

              7. Acting out dialogues

              Aaron-Sorkin
                Aaron Sorkin

                The award-winning screenwriter behind The West Wing and The Social Network, Aaron Sorkin, confessed that he broke his nose while writing. How did it happen? Well, he likes to act out his stories’ dialogues in front of the mirror, and once, after getting carried away, he accidentally head butted it. Acting out your story dialogues is good, but make sure that you don’t step over the line and get yourself hurt when you’re structuring your story.

                8. Writing without clothes

                Victor Hugo
                  Victor Hugo

                  To complete your writing before a deadline, you may possibly consider Victor Hugo’s weird habit — writing without clothes. When he was facing a tight schedule for his novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame, he instructed his valet to confiscate all his clothes so he wouldn’t able to leave the house. Even during the coldest days, Hugo only wrapped himself in a blanket while he penned his story.

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                  9. Drinking massive amounts of coffee

                  Honore de Balzac.jpg
                    Honore de Balzac

                    French novelist Honoré de Balzac fueled his creative writing by consuming around 50 cups of coffee a day. Yes, that’s the amount of coffee he drank every day just to find inspiration for his written works. Some studies say that Balzac barely slept when he wrote his magnum opus, La Comedie Humaine. Besides de Balzac, another coffee-addicted author was Voltaire. He was known for drinking up to 40 cups of coffee a day.

                    Featured photo credit: the author/streetwrk.com via flickr.com

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                    How to Be Productive: 11 Ways to Be Productive and Happy at Once

                    How to Be Productive: 11 Ways to Be Productive and Happy at Once

                    A lack of productivity leads to a lack of happiness.

                    When you can’t see yourself making progress or getting things done, you get anxious and become stressful.

                    There are also tons of things that contribute to unhappiness here too: Facebook notifications, emails, texts, and chatty co-workers are just a small fraction of the disruptions we’re bombarded with. These “little things” can stack up fast and lead to hampering your happiness and productivity levels.

                    Learn how to be productive with the 11 tips below and reclaim your everyday productivity and your happiness, once and for all.

                    1. Be happy now

                    Life is too short. No matter what you’re doing or where you are, be happy now. Start by finding something to be grateful for; everyone has at least one thing to be grateful for.

                    Most of the world still has trouble getting access to clean drinking water… yhat means you can even be grateful for that bottle of Aquafina you’ve got on your desk right now.

                    2. Finish your day before it starts

                    Proper planning is the secret to peak productivity, and it’s also a good idea to set daily goals. Get yourself a planning tool and prioritize your daily tasks with it.

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                    Here’s a smart technique on planning and prioritization: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

                    3. Celebrate the small wins

                    Every time you check off a task from your to-do list, you release a “happy chemical” in your brain called dopamine. This gives you the motivation to move forward and do even more.

                    For example, after I finish writing this article and I’ve crossed it off my list of things to do today, I’ll get a nice burst of “happy chemicals” releasing in my brain. The best part? Zero side effects!

                    Learn from here: How To Celebrate Small Wins To Achieve Big Goals

                    4. Leverage like there’s no tomorrow

                    Look for ways to use the good old 80/20 rule by identifying tasks that you might be able to outsource or leverage out to a virtual assistant.

                    Stop wasting time doing things that don’t challenge you or ignite your passion. Hire out or automate anything and everything within your means.

                    Check out this guide to find out how to start to delegate: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

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                    5. Recharge your batteries

                    Figure out how many hours of sleep your body needs and make sure you get it. Take time to stretch, walk, or relax—you’ll be glad you did.

                    Here’re some simple ways to relax completely and get rid of stress.

                    6. Become an early riser

                    This is one of the most underused productivity “hacks” on the planet. Ever since I decided to start waking up at 5am every day, my productivity levels and happiness have gone up dramatically.

                    Most people aren’t up that early, so no one can bother you or disrupt you from what you want to do. Use this time to exercise, meditate, or to get a head start on your day.

                    Not sure how to wake up earlier? Here are 11 Ways To Become an Early Riser Like Most Successful People Do.

                    7. Do work you’re passionate about

                    Make it your goal to blur the line between work and play by doing more things you’re passionate about. This promotes happiness both inside and outside of the workplace.

                    Find what you’re passionate about and do it, or learn how to enjoy what you do with these tips: How to Enjoy What You Are Doing No Matter What

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                    8. Use time blocks

                    For example, when I wrote this article, I gave myself a one hour time block. This prevents unnecessary dilly-dallying like updating your Facebook status and checking email.

                    Use an app like Alarmed to keep you on track.  Here’s a snapshot of the app from my iPhone.

                      9. Avoid interruptions

                      Interruptions are among the biggest barriers to both productivity and happiness. Every time you’re interrupted in the middle of a task your level of productivity takes a hit.

                      We’ve all been there: you’re fully immersed in an important project until all of a sudden the workplace chatterbox appears out of nowhere and starts talking about stuff that doesn’t matter. By the time she’s gone, you’ve already forgotten where you were and it takes 30 minutes to get back on track.

                      Avoid this by letting people know that you’ve got important work that’s got to be done.

                      Learn more about how to stay focus in this guide: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

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                      10. Shut down the digital disruptions

                      iPhones, mailbox notifications, twitter, facebook, and everything that pops, slides, or fades in and out of your screen has got to go. Shut them down and focus.

                      It’s as easy as turning off the notifications or scheduling only a specific time to check all these notifications and texts.

                      11. Measure your success

                      Every now and then, it’s a good idea to measure your results and see how things are coming along.

                      How’s your progress? Are you pacing in the right direction? Are things getting better? Worse? It’s always a good idea to track your progress regularly.

                      With an app like Rescue Time, you can easily keep track of the time you spend throughout the day. It helps you to find out how much time you’re really on-task and so you can review your progress.

                        With these 11 effective ways to improve productivity, you will get more things done timely and become happier.

                        Start small and take up each suggestion one by one, you can boost your productivity and create your happiness too.

                        Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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