• Maggie McReynolds

Writing from Bed

Mark Twain, George Orwell, Edith Wharton, Woody Allen, Marcel Proust, and Truman Capote all wrote while lying in bed or on a sofa.


Ernest Hemingway, Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf, Lewis Carroll, and Philip Roth all wrote standing up.


Vladimir Nabokov ("Lolita") wrote his books parceled out onto index cards, which he even slept with under his pillow in case he got ideas in the middle of the night.


Victor Hugo wrote naked. Dan Brown ("The Da Vinci Code") writes while hanging *upside down* and also sets aside time each hour to do push-ups. John Cheever, mid-century New Yorker essayist and novelist, would get dressed in a suit with briefcase, kiss his wife goodbye, and then take the elevator in his apartment building down to the boiler room, where he stripped down to his underwear and wrote for the day before re-dressing and heading back upstairs.


They all did it really differently, but they have one crucial thing in common: they wrote, and they wrote consistently, every day.


If you want to write a book that ever sees the light of day, there's only one thing for it: you have to actually write it. That means having not just talent and a good idea, but also a system, a process, and, yes, deadlines.


Some writers do really well with self-imposed deadlines and internal accountability and commitment.


Many - myself included - do not.


I've tried setting aside a specific time of day to write. I've tried writing to a specific word count for each session. I've tried finding the Perfect Place, be it my own study or front porch, a great coffeehouse, and even a bar.


For me, the only thing that reliably works is an externally imposed deadline and someone on the other side of it holding me accountable. Without that in place, I am likely to rewrite the same three chapters over and over again, creating a new opener, a new plot line, and even switching genres (memoir! self-help! hey let's make it *fiction*!). It's good writing, because I am a good writer. But no one ever sees it except me, because I literally never finish.


I created Un-Settling Books in large part because writers like me need a system. We need a process tailored to our writing styles, temperaments, and life commitments. We need deadlines. We need someone not only holding us accountable, but helping us when we get creatively stuck, and coaching us when life gets hard and writing feels impossible to sustain.


Whether you write naked, upside-down, or hanging out a window, you deserve to get the help and support you need to make sure your writing happens every day, and that you progress toward getting it out to the world.

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