Writing Routines: Agatha Christie

I have been stuck in a serious rut with my writing lately. I love my daily activity of starting my day reading, but other than that I have no particular routine for completing my work. So I decided to research the routines of famous writers in an effort to shake things up.

I believe decision fatigue is a real thing so instead of spending hours trying to find a starting place I found this list and started at the top with Agatha Christie (1890-1976).
Despite writing 66 novels, 14 short story collections, and becoming the best-selling novelist of all time she still didn’t consider herself a writer, (early in her career anyway) instead, listing her occupation as “married lady.” What. The. Actual. Hell?!

There is no known routine that Christie followed. What I gathered from various sources is that since she did not see herself as a writer, it was something that she did in bursts throughout the day, with a typewriter, a notepad or through dictation. She also kept notebooks filled with ideas, and character and plot descriptions.

Since I’m dealing with a bout of fatigue for the last few months, I’m very grateful that Christie didn’t have some crazy 4a wake and run 3 miles routine! So I set out to do what the murder mystery master did – write between chores and carry a notebook to jot down my ideas as they come to me. Here we go:

Day 1: zero words

Day 2: zero words

Day 3: Feeling more ambitions – but to be fair it is Jan 2. We are officially past party season and back to reality. Also, another way I try to justify writing zero words for two days is that December 31st is my birthday. So it’s natural that I would be extra hungover on the 1st right??

Day three starts with ghostwriting work – but before I dig in, I’ve been thinking a lot about how such a prolific writer could list her occupation as “married lady.” She must have loved her work so much that she didn’t think of it the way we would normally think of our occupations. I decided to change my professional title away from the artist heavy connotation of “writer” to “Entrepreneur Translator” since that captures what I do – I translate the complex ideas of entrepreneurs into approachable thought leadership content.

Anyway, back to the work at hand. The work I have on my plate this week is quite laborious. It’s topics I’m not that in to and some backlogged editing. So I am hopeful that Christie’s approach of working in bursts will help me check some things off my list today!

Kept up the pace for days 4, and 5.

Day 6 was so-so

Day 7 was garbage – if there was a way to write less than zero words it was today.

So how did I measure up as compared to the prior week? From December 24th-30th I wrote and edited 71,208 words. Last week (Dec 31st- Jan 6th) I wrote and edited 119,836 words. Before you are like wowzers you crazy busy writer, keep in mind that these word counts come by way of the book I am finishing and editing through Grammarly. In the next two weeks, I expect the words checked to be a better reflection of my writing pace of 5,000-10,000 words per week.

The takeaway – Christie wrote in bursts and spells around the routine of her daily life. I tried it last week, and it worked for me. But the data could have been confounded with the whole business of getting back to reality after the holidays too! Either way, I was happy to get some work done!

 

Additional Resources:

AgathaChristie.com https://www.agathachristie.com/about-christie
Hercule Poirot versus Miss Marple … https://awritersden.wordpress.com/tag/agatha-christie/

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