Every author has a different writing process. By researching some famous authors, it was interesting to see how each one differs in their individual approaches. However, there was a common thread among many of them, which was simply, in order to be a writer, you have to do just that: write.
Here’s a glimpse into the writing process according to:
Truman Capote referred to his writing process as “horizontal,” in the literal sense. He had to be lying down on a bed or couch in order to think.
Most notable works: Breakfast at Tiffany’s, In Cold Blood
Quote: “Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.”
J.D. Salinger famously gave very few interviews throughout his lifetime. A young Salinger said he had to be alone to write, with no distractions. His writing approach mirrored his reclusive lifestyle.
Most notable works: The Catcher in the Rye, Nine Stories
Quote: “An artist's only concern is to shoot for some kind of perfection, and on his own terms, not anyone else's.”
J.K. Rowling, being a series writer, revealed that she tends to heavily plan everything before putting pen to paper. Rowling first recorded her ideas for Harry Potter on napkins while on a train. In January 2018, she tweeted, “Pen, paper and then Microsoft Word.” Rowling has often associated her writing with cafes – her chosen environment to write in.
Notable works: The Harry Potter Series
Quote: “You sort of start thinking anything's possible if you've got enough nerve.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald was described as a natural, gifted writer, but when offering writing tips of his own, suggested detailed note-taking and plot outlines.
Notable Works: The Great Gatsby, This Side of Paradise
Quote: “Begin with an individual, and before you know it you find that you have created a type; begin with a type, and you find that you have created--nothing.”
Stephen King has been open about his writing process, establishing a daily routine of walking, some writing, and revision.
Notable works: The Shining, Carrie
Quote: “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There's no way around these two things that I'm aware of, no shortcut.”
Jane Austen didn’t leave many traces about her writing approach behind, but from her letters to friends and family, it is clear she placed an emphasis on character development and setting description.
Notable Works: Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility
Quote: “I am not at all in a humor for writing; I must write on till I am.”
If you find it difficult to sit down and write, you may need to start brainstorming different ways to motivate and inspire your writing. Switch up your routine in different, unique ways to see what gets your wheels turning. Consider adding more reading materials, unrelated to your own, into your rotation. Maybe a morning walk or a change in writing environment helps reset and clear your mind. Whatever approach you take, work in something new and switch it up - this could lead to a writing routine more catered to your creative needs.