Writing in Bed

One original bad boy of American literature, Thomas McGuane, (Ninety Two in the Shade, The Missouri Breaks) tells us that these days he writes in bed. He’s in his seventies now and as a successful novelist is past caring what anyone thinks about him.

His admission raises the question: Where do we do we write?

McGuane doesn’t leave it long after waking (but not before he’s had a coffee) to start work. He says that being prompt in the morning helps him tap into his alpha-brain waves – the subconscious – those alpha waves that give his work depth.

Every writer is different. I’m a morning person. By nightfall, I’m ready for dinner and a frivolous show on TV. Others might only come alive by dusk, and then write on into the night. Each to her own.

The important thing is to recognize what suits you. Suiting our writing-selves is half the battle.

If creativity flows for you first thing in the morning, take a leaf out of McGuane’s book (so to speak) and get those ideas down straight away. He once joked to a fellow writer that he felt guilty for writing in bed. “That’s why we chose this profession, isn’t it?” she quipped. “So we wouldn’t have to get out of bed?”

These days, McGuane is having a second shot at his career. Life, he says, becomes more complicated as you get older. I think maybe it’s always been complicated. But a routine helps one focus and simplify things.

Most authors believe that having a routine is everything. I’ve written before that my own writing space has moved from an office, to the bed, to our local coffee shop. The other half of finding your right-feeling space is to establish a regular routine. Other than that, like McGuane, let’s just relax and keep on writing.

Tags: writers, writing, memoir, writing routine, Thomas McGuane, writing space, subconscious writing, alpha brain waves

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