Mondays, coffee, and writing

A  quote from Mike Sharples’ How We Write to make you feel better about starting the week with a jug of coffee – it seems to work! The last sentence is also interesting in relation to my recent post about unconscious creativity: we may tend to concentrate when we write, but it doesn’t necessarily always help. 

An extensive survey of the habits and rituals of writers was carried out by Ron Kellogg. He questioned 121 science and engineering academics and compared their responses with their writing productivity, measured by the number of reports and publications they had prepared over the previous three years. This is a measure of quantity rather than quality of writing, but it may at least give an indication of habits that produce words.

Walking and coffee were the two most frequent accompaniments to writing. Although many of Kellogg’s respondents drank coffee while writing, there was great variation, with some writers drinking it frequently and others never touching it. Vigorous exercise was the only habit associated with productivity, though this does not necessarily imply that exercise causes creativity. It may be that the most productive writers were also the youngest and healthiest! Kellogg also found intense concentration to be the most frequent mental state while writing, but that no state of consciousness was more productive.

(Sharples, Mike. How We Write: Writing as Creative Design. London: Routledge, 1999: 119.)


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