Have you ever wondered whether there’s a secret to writing more and better?
I’ve been studying the habits of famous and less famous writers for years.
And I’ve come across a lot of nonsense.
As if we only have to emulate the writing rituals of some famous writer, and we’d write a bestseller, too.
Unfortunately, life is a little more complicated than that. We’re all different.
But in the quagmire of crazy rituals, I’ve found a couple that have merit. Below follow 3 weird rituals that might help you become a faster, better, and more prolific writer.
Shall I explain?
1. Write blind
Typing blindfolded may sound like a crazy idea, but it’s exactly what novelist Kent Haruf used to do.
As William Yardley writes in Haruf’s obituary in the New York Times:
Kent Haruf pulled a wool cap over his eyes when he sat down at his manual typewriter each morning so he could “write blind,” fully immersing himself in the fictitious small town in eastern Colorado where he set a series of quiet, acclaimed novels, including “Plainsong.”
I can see two huge benefits to typing blindly.
Firstly, when you can’t see what you’re typing, you can’t go back and edit your sentences. So, this strange ritual may help silence your inner critic and get your ideas onto paper faster—without faffing about minor details such as word choice, transitions, grammar and punctuation.
If you don’t want to go as far as blindfolding yourself, setting a timer and challenging yourself to write a first draft as fast as possible can have a similar effect. It works for me.
Secondly, blindfolding allows you to picture the scenes you’re describing, seeing what your protagonist is seeing, feeling his emotions, and understanding what actions he’ll take. This helps you write more vividly.
It’s no surprise that Haruf is good at ‘show, don’t tell.’ Here’s how he describes a farmer checking whether a heifer is pregnant:
Meanwhile Harold had taken off his canvas jacket and pulled on an old…