Billy Collins says, "I have no work habits whatsoever...The poem will come along when it arrives. I don't write every day. I try to be on the lookout for creative opportunities, something that might trigger a poem, but I don't sit down in the morning and try to commit an act of literature before lunch."
Annie Proulx doesn’t have a routine either. “I struggle to find time to write,” she says. “Yesterday I had a lot of writing to do and I couldn’t do it because a neighboring ranch called to say they were going to put bulls out in the pasture there. So I had to get over to the bridge over Jack Crick and let down the panels across the stream to stop the bulls from coming through onto my property. And that’s what happened to the afternoon. So I don’t have a set schedule for writing.”
On the other hand, Jonathan Franzen starts writing at seven every morning and works six or seven days a week, and Flannery O’Conner once wrote to a friend: "I'm a full-time believer in writing habits, pedestrian as it all may sound. You may be able to do without them if you have genius but most of us only have talent and this is simply something that has to be assisted all the time by physical and mental habits or it dries up and blows away.”
* * *
and just published: (Victoria Zackheim is editor and I have an essay in it.)