Authors Share Their Weirdest Writing Habits

January 8, 2020
Emily Ritter

Writing is hard, and every author has a unique system to make sure their words make it from their brains to the page. We asked some of our authors about their weirdest writing habits, and their answers will inspire you, and might also make you laugh.

Authors Share Their Weirdest Writing Habits

1. Shaun David Hutchinson, author of Brave Face

“When possible, I prefer to write first thing in the morning in a totally dark room, using a writing program with a black background.  Doing so gives me the feeling that the only thing that exists in the world are the words.”


2. S. J. Kincaid, author of The Diabolic

The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

“I freak out if I don’t know how I’m going to end a book after I’ve written about ten percent of it. Also, I have a superstitious thing where I can’t plan sequel books until I have sold the first book in the series. Then oftentimes I must tweak the first book, since I’ve planned the sequels and it requires changes.”


3. Suzanne Young, author of Girls with Sharp Sticks

“Two words: TINY FOOD. I love to snack while writing, so you’ll find Cheez-Its, pretzels, and candy corn scattered around my desk.”


4. Deb Caletti, author of A Heart in a Body in the World

“I try to start my writing morning with a strong cup of coffee and one Walker’s shortbread cookie, the kind in the red plaid box.  No other variety will do – it’s a delectable, pure-butter ritual that I somewhat superstitiously connect with having a good writing day.  Maybe it’s not exactly a healthy breakfast (that comes later), but it’s definitely a happy one.”


5. Kiersten White, author of Slayer

“Instead of using a book playlist, I usually pick one song that captures the “feel” of the novel and listen to it on repeat—sometimes as many as 2,500 times. But the weirdest part is I don’t have the song memorized. It’s like self-hypnosis telling my brain what to work on, and I don’t even hear it.”


6. Brittney Morris, author of SLAY

“I’m a fast-drafter, so I give myself 24 hours to outline before jumping straight in. My outline lists primary, secondary, and tertiary characters, followed by a bulleted list of scenes. The list includes what has to happen in the scene, and the hook at the end of each chapter. It usually takes me a month or two to reach the end, which isn’t nearly enough time to second guess or overthink the plot.”


7. Sandhya Menon, author of When Dimple Met Rishi

“I have to have book-specific candles when I begin a new project or am in the process of editing a book, and I’m very particular about scents. One time, I nearly had a heart attack because I couldn’t find a replacement candle for a book that was going through longer-than-expected edits, but then I found it in the nick of time in the bargain bin at Bath and Body Works!”


8. Shannon Messenger, author of The Skyfall Series

Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger

“On days when I’m desperate for motivation–and trying not to stress-eat too many snacks–I’ve found it helps to line my treats up against my laptop screen and only allow myself to eat one when I hit certain goals (30 min of straight writing, writing 500 words, etc). And I prefer to use treats with faces, like Teddy Grahams or gummy bears so they stare at me as I work, holding me accountable. That also makes it more fun when it’s time for their execution.”

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