How Writers Write

J.G. Ballard writes in longhand, then types everything up on an electric typewriter.

Christy Brown wrote with his left foot.

Richard Burton, while in India, sometimes wrote under a table draped in wet cloths, to keep cool.

Lawrence Durrell usually used a typewriter, but started writing Justine in longhand so as not to wake his sleeping daughter in the early mornings.

William Faulkner wrote As I Lay Dying on an upturned wheelbarrow while on duty as a postal worker.

Ernest Hemingway, in Cuba, wrote while standing. He wrote longhand in pencil, or on a typewriter when dialogue was flowing.

Kazuo Ishiguro writes in pen in notebooks. He writes his books fairly quickly, after a year or two of research and trying out voices.

Jack Kerouac typed On the Road on a 120-foot scroll of taped-together tracing paper over a fortnight. Contrary to legend, his writing spree was fueled only by coffee.

Ursula K. Le Guin uses an old word processor.

C.S. Lewis wrote on huge sheets of paper (each Narnia book took up only thirty sheets or so), while standing.

Cormac McCarthy writes on an Olympus typewriter.

Vladimir Nabokov wrote on index cards, sometimes in cars.

Marcel Proust wrote in a cork-lined bedroom.

Philip Roth writes at a lectern in a sparely furnished room.

Leo Tolstoy's wife transcribed everything he wrote.

Anthony Trollope wrote with a watch beside him, turning out a page every fifteen minutes.

Robert Walser, in mid-career, started writing so small that scholars at first thought his texts were in code. One later novel filled just 24 octavo sheets.