E.B. White once wrote: “A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.” It is true that truly ideal conditions may never exit; however, writers do have preferences, daily routines. Do these routines help? Do they even matter?

It appears that writers have preferred time and/or space to create their work. In terms of time, most writers like to put most effort into it in the morning. Benjamin Franklin, Arthur Schopenhauer and Earnest Hemingway are excellent examples for wanting to have an early start on their masterpieces. Others like to hang onto their coffee or tea cup for a while before getting to it. For instance, Simone de Beauvoir did not let go off her cup of tea before ten o’clock in the morning. Some stop working at lunch time, others continue after lunch. Benjamin Franklin used to work after lunch and Simone de Beauvoir returned to her writing at evening time.

In terms of space, writers may disagree whether a special place is needed to concentrate. Almost everyone has heard about the ones who rent out a cabin in the woods to finish a project. In general, writers are not picky about the place they produce work. Instead, they may be more sensitive to the distraction around them. For example, E. B. White never cared about the commotion around him in the living room during his work, while Phillip Roth needed a studio set up for his writing where he could pace and think.

Do these routines help or matter? They do, to an extent. However, it is important to remember that each routine is specific to each writer. There is not one winning routine to adopt to be successful. Rather, each person needs to know him or herself to develop a routine, a special time and space to write. What happens, if someone cannot find any special time and/or place and keeps postponing a project? In such a case, it is clear that the person has chosen the wrong profession. Although a writer may need to create special conditions to work, he or she is unstoppable in creating them. A writer wants to write; he or she cannot hold back. If someone procrastinates on writing and finds excuses not to do the project, the person’s heart is not in it.

This means that it may be important to find special conditions to write, but one’s heart and mind have to be devoted to it. After all, the magic lives in the writer’s soul. If one is a writer, the magic is already there, burning with desire to be unleashed to make a difference.

M. J. Mandoki