When it comes to writing, do clothes matter? If I wear pearls and an elegant suit, will my prose be elegant and orderly? If I wear yoga pants and last week’s hoodie, will my prose be sloppy and poorly constructed? Since I write in a kind of trance where the dog can escape the yard, the pot burn on the stove and a thief enter my house and steal my wallet while I am busy writing (all of which have happened to me), I doubt that what I wear matters. I can ignore almost anything, including what I am wearing.  Clothes—style, quality, or even having them on– are not a habit that I link to writing.

But some environmental factors are linked to my writing. What I and others writers have problems with are the habits we have established around writing. For me, it is coffee. Writing doesn’t start until the caffeine hit my veins. A friend of mine confessed that he was afraid to quit smoking for fear that he would never write another play. The habit was part of his writing. These salutary tales serve to caution the beginning writer to beware of the habits you create while you write. If you can only write on sunny days with your computer out on your porch, you do not want to live in my area where it rains from November to April. If you can only write if it is completely quiet, and you live in downtown L.A., your chances of producing consistently aren’t high. The habits we establish with our writing creep up on us. I didn’t realize how important coffee was to me until I tried to give it up. You’d think my brain had gone on strike.  Be careful of the habits you develop. They may become part of the writing process.


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