I try to do this every day: Wake up at 4:30am. Coffee. 2 hours of reading. What do I read? I try to read strong autobiographical fiction.
That sort of sounds like an oxymoron: “autobiographical fiction.” But authors like Bukowski, Raymond Carver, William Vollmann, Miranda July, Mary Gaitskill, have strong literary voices precisely because they write about what they know best: themselves. They dive deep and even if they tweak their own biographies enough to produce fiction, it’s often the fiction that is heavily based on truth and their own lives that comes out the best. Jonathan Ames, Michael Hemmingson, Donald Ray Pollock, Don Carpenter, John Fante, Celine, are also in this category. I like to get my mind buzzing with their voices to get inspiration.
Then I write for 2-4 hours, then rewrite.
When I’m writing, I have to search the feelings in my body to see what ‘s bothering me. If something pops up, I immediately start writing what’s bothering me so much that my body hurts to think about it. Then I keep going and see where it takes me. [See, “33 Unusual Ways to Become a Better Writer” http://bit.ly/gDzHGb]
I also find that if I don’t stick to this routine then I usually can’t write for the day. It’s the same time every day. And if I miss a day, it probably takes me two days to get back into the routine. I was busy this week in a lot of early meetings. It totally threw me off. Now I’m back!