The Daily Routines of Famous Writers

Cuz we wanna live just like Ray Bradbury, Joan Didion, E.B. White, Jack Kerouac, Susan Sontag, et al  if and when we ever grow up:


by Maria Popova

“A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.”

Kurt Vonnegut’s recently published daily routine made we wonder how other beloved writers organized their days. So I pored through various old diaries and interviews — many from the fantastic Paris Review archives — and culled a handful of writing routines from some of my favorite authors. Enjoy.

Ray Bradbury, a lifelong proponent of working with joy and an avid champion of public libraries, playfully defies the question of routines in this 2010 interview:

My passions drive me to the typewriter every day of my life, and they have driven me there since I was twelve. So I never have to worry about schedules. Some new thing is always exploding in me, and it schedules me, I don’t schedule it. It says: Get to the typewriter right now and finish this.


I can work anywhere. I wrote in bedrooms and living rooms when I was growing up with my parents and my brother in a small house in Los Angeles. I worked on my typewriter in the living room, with the radio and my mother and dad and brother all talking at the same time. Later on, when I wanted to write Fahrenheit 451, I went up to UCLA and found a basement typing room where, if you inserted ten cents into the typewriter, you could buy thirty minutes of typing time.

Joan Didion creates for herself a kind of incubation period for ideas, articulated in this 1968 interview:

I need an hour alone before dinner, with a drink, to go over what I’ve done that day. I can’t do it late in the afternoon because I’m too close to it. Also, the drink helps. It removes me from the pages. So I spend this hour taking things out and putting other things in. Then I start the next day by redoing all of what I did the day before, following these evening notes. When I’m really working I don’t like to go out or have anybody to dinner, because then I lose the hour. If I don’t have the hour, and start the next day with just some bad pages and nowhere to go, I’m in low spirits. Another thing I need to do, when I’m near the end of the book, is sleep in the same room with it. That’s one reason I go home to Sacramento to finish things. Somehow the book doesn’t leave you when you’re asleep right next to it. In Sacramento nobody cares if I appear or not. I can just get up and start typing.

Read it all

Love & Money Dept – TV Writing Deals for 1/8/13

Latest News About Writers Who Are Doing Better Than We Are

  •  Ben Wexler (COMMUNITY) is writing the pilot for BOB’S NEW HEART SHOW, a medical comedy at Fox. (Produced by Conan O’Brian and paying tribute to Bob Newhart, who isn’t connected to the show in any way.)
  • Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot, a book by none other than Bill O’Reilly (well, maybe there was or will be another writer but no one’s coming out with the names), is being turned into a Ridley Scott directed TV movie on the National Geographic Channel. (We’re guessing this deal wasn’t made because of O’Reilly’s writing, but who knows?)
  • Megan Ganze (COMMUNITY) has looked into the future and officially left the show that scares NBC so much that the network is afraid to schedule it and taken a writing gig on MODERN FAMILY. (And she announced it on Reddit, proving that she’s not only richer than we are but cooler as well.)
  • William Monahan (Oscar winner for THE DEPARTED), is writing the pilot for Starz’ drama series CRIME, described in the press release as “a study of criminal enterprises and scandal across 1960s Britain. (He’s adapting a screenplay by Vanessa Sadler and says “It’s very, very funny.” We aren’t sure if he’s talking about her version or his there, but we’ll see because Starz always shoots and airs its series pilots – mainly because, according to their Big Boss, Chris Albrecht,  they can’t afford not to.)
  • Ryan Murphy (GLEE, AMERICAN HORROR STORY) is adapting Larry Kramer’s play, THE NORMAL HEART into a TV movie for HBO. (It’s about a paraplegic physician in the ’80s working with AIDS patients, so we now one thing for sure: Watching this ain’t a’gonna make us feel good.)

Guess Whose Ads are Supporting “Piracy” Sites?

Okay, we’ll tell you, cuz we’re those kinds of guys: Google and Yahoo, that’s who. Hypocrisy? Carelessness? Does the reason matter? Does the deed itself even matter?

Read on:

ninjapoodlesReport: Google & Yahoo May Be BFFs With Hollywood, But Both Place Ads On Piracy Sites – by Mary Beth Quick (Consumerist.Com)

Google and Yahoo might crow about supporting the entertainment industry, but a new report says that hasn’t stopped the two Internet giants from placing ads on sites with pirated movies, TV shows and music.  The report looked at analysis of which sites have the most copyright infringement notices against them and found that Google and Yahoo are in the top 10 ad networks that support major piracy sites. Ruh roh.

USC’s Annenberg Innovation Lab issued the report , and the Los Angeles Times says that while Yahoo hasn’t responded, Google called the report’s findings “mistaken.”

“To the extent [the study] suggests that Google ads are a major source of funds for major pirate sites, we believe it is mistaken,” a Google spokesperson said. “Over the past several years, we’ve taken a leadership role in this fight. The complexity of online advertising has led some to conclude, incorrectly, that the mere presence of any Google code on a site means financial support from Google.”

It’s the first part of a monthly occurrence that the Lab’s director hopes will highlight how rampant the support of piracy sites by major brands’ advertising dollars is. Maybe some of those companies will decide not to shell out the big bucks.

“Whenever we talk to a brand about the fact that their ads are all over the pirate sites, they’re like, ‘Oh, how did that happen?’” the director said. “We thought it would be easier if they knew what ad networks were putting ads on pirate sites — so they could avoid them.”

Google and Yahoo are in high-powered company, according to the Lab, which used Google’s own Transparency Report to come up with a list of other offenders:

The list of ad networks includes Openx, a Pasadena company that was backed by AOL Ventures and describes itself as a leader in digital and mobile ad technology; Google and its advertising platform, DoubleClick; Yahoo and its ad exchange, Right Media; and Quantcast, a San Francisco firm that also places ads on sites owned by such major media companies as NBCUniversal and Viacom.

So far one big name, Levi’s, has taken action after the Lab showed the company it had ads on file-sharing sites, which could mean others will follow suit when facing similar evidence.

“When our ads were running unbeknownst to us on these pirate sites, we had a serious problem with that,” said Gareth Hornberger, senior manager of global digital marketing for Levi’s. “We reached out to our global ad agency of record, OMD, and immediately had them remove them…. We made a point, moving forward, that we really need to take steps to avoid having these problems again.”

The Lab’s director has a personal reason for fighting piracy in the entertainment industry, as he claims his late friend Levon Helm was forced to go back to touring after piracy made it impossible for him to exist on royalties from his music.

Perhaps this is a better way to stop or at least lessen the effects of piracy — going after the almighty dollar — instead of trying to censor the entire Internet with legislation like the failed SOPA and PIPA measures.

Invisible Mikey: Head Full of Strange

… and happy to share.

I saw King Kong (1933) as a young child – on TV

Thanks to a couple of comments on the last post, I’ve been thinking about some of the truly bizarre television shows that knock around in my memory.  This is no attempt to be comprehensive.  It’s just some links to oddities I watched at one time or other.


Before I started school, I had no social context for TV content.  I liked comedy, old movies, weird cartoons and what was then called “educational television”.  The cartoons were usually ones made decades earlier, intended for projection before movies.  As for other shows, I preferred ones with in-jokes, even if I didn’t understand them.


My taste for the absurd cross-pollinated back to TV viewing once I began going to movies on my own.  My parents finally bought a color set around 1965.


TV went kind of bipolar in this decade.  Beautiful and unusual things were happening in American culture, but television kept broadcasting retro-styled versions of what was occurring in the real world.

The 1980s and Beyond :

I spent a lot more time working than watching from this point on.  I was generally only able to see things that showed late at night, or what I taped and purchased for later viewing.

 —and that’s enough out of me (and YouTube).  Gotta go to work.

But, I have to wonder about YOUR kids.  They are growing up already having seen things like THIS:

TVWriter™ sends big thanks to Invisible Mikey’s Very Visible Blog

LB’s Favorite TVWriter™ Posts of 2012

..Because it’s my site, and I can brag if I wanna.

Don Julio 1942 Tequila Anejo
Best “intoxicant” I’ve ever been intoxicated by

With no further ado, here are, not the most visited TVWriter™ posts, nor necessarily the best, but the ones I enjoyed reading – or writing – the most. The posts that seemed to me to be the most open, honest, and helpful looks at being a television writer, or which I just plain got the most enjoyment out of.

So if you missed these suckers, click and read, kids. Click and read

In no particular order:

FWIW Department: The good news as I see it is that none of the above are on our “Least Read Posts of 2012” list. The not-so-good news is that none of them are on the “Most read Posts of 2012” list either.

And, okay, since you asked, my favorite turns out to be the shortest item listed above, and one of the shortest on TVWriter™. And, no, I didn’t write it. That honor goes to some dood named Anil

Hey, Anil, next time you’re in the neighborhood – or the country – c’mon over and I’ll open a bottle for us to – hehe – finish.