Monday, November 26, 2012

Joan Didion's daily routine

I just read Joan Didion's memoir, Blue Nights, about the death of her daughter, Quintana.  It's not a light read, but I admire her writing, which is clear, unfussy, and honest.  Sometimes her sentences go on for a page, yet somehow you can follow every word, and I always imagine her speaking, reclined on a couch, waving a cigarette around in one hand, clutching a strong drink in the other. 

So I was curious, when my mom sent me quotes of of what famous writers have to say about their daily work routine, what she has to say:

"I need an hour alone before dinner, with a drink, to go over what I've done that day. I can't do it late in the afternoon because I'm too close to it. Also, the drink helps. It removes me from the pages…When I'm really working I don't like to go out or have anybody to dinner, because then I lose the hour. If I don't have the hour, and start the next day with just some bad pages and nowhere to go, I'm in low spirits. Another thing I need to do, when I'm near the end of the book, is sleep in the same room with it…Somehow the book doesn't leave you when you're asleep right next to it."

Writers really do figure out their routine and then they stick to it. That hour at night to go over her writing is so important to her that she doesn't ever have dinner guests!  I barely have any routine.  I need my laptop, some desk space, and my hair out of my face.  A drink does sound nice though….

My writers out there, do you have a routine? Or are you like me? 

photo and quote via Brain Pickings

1 comment:

  1. If I'm going to sit down and write seriously, I require only a caffeinated beverage, a pad of paper, and a pen. I don't type well. I find my work is always better when I write it out first, then add nuance while I type it.