News room: Writing Under The Covers - 8 Authors Who Wrote In Bed

Writing Under The Covers - 8 Authors Who Wrote In Bed by Jessica Barrah

Sometimes it can be hard to get out of bed. You’re tired, it’s cold outside, and all you want to do is stay cosy under the duvet. Well, why not do just that – with your laptop warming your legs like a hi-tech hot water bottle? Many authors have written bestselling books from the comfort of their bed, so follow your writing dreams without even leaving your pillows.

1. Edith Sitwell

We’ve already written about Edith Sitwell’s preference for writing whilst lying in a coffin but she also enjoyed working from the comfort of her bed. “All women should have a day a week in bed,” she quipped. She probably would have appreciated The Woman who Went to Bed for a Year by Sue Townsend

2. Edith Wharton

Is it particularly exhausting to be called ‘Edith”? Edith Wharton, the author of ‘The Age of Innocence’ and other novels, sadly was alive before the ’Age of Leisure Wear’. She retreated to bed in order to escape the rigid fashions of the day, the freedom from her corset liberating her thoughts as well as her rib cage. She might have had sympathy with Monica Ali, author of Brick Lane said in an article in The Guardian that her guiltiest pleasure was working in bed. However, she revealed an even guiltier secret in another article:

“I even wear the same smelly pyjamas again and again – they’re just there by the side of the bed and I put them on again when I get up each morning, which is revolting.”

3. Marcel Proust

Towards the end of his life, Marcel Proust wrote lying down in his brass bed, confined to his cork-lined bedroom by illness. However, even in Proust’s first book of poems and sketches, Pleasures and Regrets published in 1896 when he was just twenty-five he wrote:

“It is pleasant, when one is distraught, to lie in the warmth of one’s bed, and there, with all effort and struggle at an end, even perhaps with one’s head under the blankets, surrender completely to howling, like branches in the autumn wind.”

4. Truman Capote

“I am a completely horizontal author,” said the author of In Cold Blood and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, “I can’t think unless I’m lying down, either in bed or stretched on a couch and with a cigarette and coffee handy."

5. William Wordsworth

The Romantic poet apparently preferred writing his poems in bed in complete darkness, starting over whenever he lost a sheet of paper because looking for it was too much effort.

6. Mark Twain

“Just try it in bed sometime,” the author told the New York Times in 1902. “I sit up with a pipe in my mouth and a board on my knees, and I scribble away. Thinking is easy work, and there isn’t much labor in moving your fingers sufficiently to get the words down.”

7. James Joyce

The Irish author wrote lying down on his stomach – which doesn’t seem like the most comfortable position? He also wrote “Finnegans Wake” in crayon — with a different colour for each draft. The crayons made his work easier to see, as he had a serious eye condition.

8. Richard Powers

In this article for The Paris Review, the science fiction novelist explained how he writes his books.

“In the cocoon of my bed. My dream has always been to suspend myself in space when I write, and lying horizontal in bed is the closest to doing that. You’re at the still point of the turning world. The only thing that I am touching is a cordless, one-pound keyboard.”

Where do you write? In bed? In a shed? Wherever you can? Do let us know! Check out the book, The Art of Lying Down by Bernd Brunner for tips about getting horizontal, if any are needed.

Further reading:

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Written by
Jessica Barrah
Published on
Self-publishing, Print on demand, Books, Writing, Bed, and Authors