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Few days back I heard someone saying, “Writers are a strange breed of people” and I chose to take it in the nicest way. It got me thinking, that every writer has a strange habit that may seem odd to 'normal' people, but it works beautifully and quite effectively.

I once read about this author (unfortunately I don't remember the name) who used to write on a computer, take a print out and then delete the file from the system and then re-write the entire book. An interesting way to proofread your entire work.

This increased my curiosity to find some more strangely effective habits of writers who have authored some of the most profound literatures in the history. Though their methods may seem bizarre, but if you think about it...inspiration does really hit you in the oddest of ways.

Here are some bizarre habits of 8 successful writers:




Vladimir Nabokov

Author of: The Real Life of Sebastian Knight, Lolita, Pale Fire




















A Russian novelist and short story writer who preferred to write standing up and wrote on index cards in no particular sequence. He would then re-arrange these cards as he wished. It took as many as 2000 cards to finish one novel.


Dan Brown

Author of: Digital Fortess, Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, Lost Symbol






















Like many successful authors, Brown prefers to start working at 4 am, when there are no distractions and he can completely concentrate on his work. He also keeps an antique hourglass on his table, and stops every hour to do some stretching exercises and keep his blood flowing.

He also uses inversion therapy to get out of writer's block, he hangs upside down using gravity boots, this helps him in coming up with plots, since this trick changes his perspective completely.


William Wordsworth

Author of: The Prelude



















A famous English romantic poet liked to narrate his poems to his dog. If the dog got upset or barked by the sounds of his words, he would start working on that poem again.


Philip Roth

Author of: Goodbye Columbus, The Human Stain, Portnoy's Complaint, The Dying Animal



















Roth prefers to walk while working on his stories, he claims to walk half mile for every page he writes. He also likes to keep his work life away from where he lives, he works in a studio built away from his home.


James Joyce

Author of: Ulysses, Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man




















A man who liked to take one step at a time, instead of working on long drafts, he believed on concentrating on each sentence. On a good day of writing he would have proudly completed 3 sentences.


Truman Capote

Author of: In Cold Blood, Breakfast at Tiffany's





















Unlike Vladimir, Capote was a horizontal writer, “I can't think unless I'm lying down, either in bed or stretched on a couch and with a cigarette and coffee handy. I've got to be puffing and sipping. As the afternoon wears on, I shift from coffee to mint tea to sherry to martinis. No, I don't use a typewriter. Not in the beginning. I write my first version in longhand (pencil). Then I do a complete revision, also in longhand.”


Orhan Pamuk

Author of: The White Castle, The Black Book, The Museum of Innocence




















A nobel prize winner from Turkey faces difficulties coming up with the first line for his novels. He re-writes the first line 50-100 times. “The hardest thing is always the first sentence – that is painful.” he says.


Hilary Mantel

Author of: Wolf Hall, Fludd, Vacant Possession, Beyond Black














An English novelist and short story writer, Hilary is an obsessive note taker. She always carries a notebook and jots down odd phrases, dialogues, descriptions and other random thoughts. These notes land up on her 7-feet-tall bulletin board in her kitchen and from there she starts working on her narrative.

So what are your strangely effective writing habits. I for example, prefer to listen to Pink Floyd while writing. 

You can also download a free pdf version of this article.
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1 Response to 'Strange Yet Effective Habits Of Successful Writers'

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