For the annual AMA I’ve done with Insiders (you can become an insider over here), I publish one answer to a reader question every month. Here is another particularly interesting question I’ve answered about my writing habits:
Hi Lisanne, I’m an admirer of your work. Do you have any writing habits you’d like to share with us?
The only writing habit I have is to keep on writing. There is nothing magic about it. It’s a craft that mostly involves a lot of work, most of it spent coming up with ideas, writing them down, and making them better. When I’m writing a paragraph, I try to have a good time. In the midst of the writing process I tend to lack the distance that is actually required to analyse my work properly. Because of that it’s important to not torture myself with thoughts like is this “good”? Instead, I just try to keep the ball moving. Hopefully, after a week or so, you might have something worthy. Truth to be told, there are days that I write total crap, and then there are days in which I can get a lot of work done. The hardest part is the commitment to sit down and do the writing, but I’ve found that consistently showing up for the work every day, even when no sensible word comes out of my pen, in the end, makes all the difference.
In an interview with The Paris Review, Author E.B. White, the famous author of Charlotte´s Web, talked about the value of consistently practicing even in less-than-ideal circumstances…
“I never listen to music when I’m working. I haven’t that kind of attentiveness, and I wouldn’t like it at all. On the other hand, I’m able to work fairly well among ordinary distractions. My house has a living room that is at the core of everything that goes on: it is a passageway to the cellar, to the kitchen, to the closet where the phone lives. There’s a lot of traffic. But it’s a bright, cheerful room, and I often use it as a room to write in, despite the carnival that is going on all around me.
In consequence, the members of my household never pay the slightest attention to my being a writing man — they make all the noise and fuss they want to. If I get sick of it, I have places I can go. A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.”
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Thank you for reading. This reader’s question is part of the Ask Me Anything series. I´d love to answer more of your interesting questions and get a sense of your interests. If you have questions to extend this Ask Me Anything section, please let me know. I like to hear from you. Send me your question via [email protected]
Here is a list of the last 3 readers’ questions I’ve answered: