Friday, May 22, 2009


By Sue Ann Jaffarian

“Should You Write In The Nude?” That is the title of a chapter in the wonderful book The Courage to Write by Ralph Keyes – one of my favorite books on writing. But it also brings up the question: Do you write in the nude? Or, more to the point, what is your favorite attire for writing?

I’ve attended and been on panels and read blogs where authors talk about their writing process, the time of day they write, their schedule, their favorite locations to write, even whether or not they listen to music while they write. But I’ve never seen or heard any formal discussion on what writers wear to write.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I have participated in unofficial discussions on the topic with other writers. Those usually occur when we are in private gatherings away from the public, and generally alcohol is involved. But nothing on record.

I know a lot of writers who write in public places like libraries, coffee shops, and bars. The only time I write in public is when I’m traveling. Then I’ll write in airports, on planes, and in hotels. The reason is I like to be unencumbered when I write. That means NO bra. I like my girls to be comfy when I write. Like the Playtex commercial says: “When the girls are happy, I’m happy.” Happiness and comfort allow my creative juices to flow free. And while a lot of female writers can go without brassieres, I cannot. At least not without causing second looks and scowls regarding decency. In winter I like to wear sweat pants and a sweat shirt while writing, along with heavy socks. In spring and fall, it’s yoga pants and a tee shirt. My summer uniform is pared down to cotton knit shorts and a tank top. If it’s really hot (my apartment does not have AC), it’s just panties and a tank with a fan blowing at my back. On weekends, there’s a good chance I might stay in my PJs. I believe in taking “business casual” to the edge.

I know several women who don’t write a word until they’ve showered, dressed, done their hair, and put on full make-up. Geez, Louise. I barely do that when I go out. When under a severe deadline crunch, I’ve been known to write almost non-stop for three days wearing the same jammies and without showering, pausing only for pottie breaks and to eat and brush my teeth. And even the teeth thing is sketchy. After one such episode, the man I was dating at the time informed me that he NEVER wanted to see me like that again. Like my girls, romantically, I am currently unencumbered. Big surprise, huh?

So, do you write in the nude? Inquiring minds want to know.

You can also read about Sue Ann's fears this week at ForeWord Magazine's Publishing Insider blog. Follow Sue Ann on Twitter and Facebook.


Jess Lourey said...

I do not write in the nude, but the question begs another--what sort of chair would accomodate a nude writer? Naugahyde is out.

Like you, Sue Ann, I don't have the make-up and hair done when I go out, forget when I'm writing. I write where I am in what I'm wearing, which is usually elastic-waisted. Stop with the glamour, right?

G.M. Malliet said...

I write at a desk facing a window that has remained uncurtained/ uncovered since I had my office painted. It's a dark room and needs all the sunlight it can get. Besides, I'm too lazy to order the shutters I keep meaning to order. So to answer your question, no - in the name of public decency, I'm always dressed, if not well dressed. As far as I'm concerned, yoga pants were invented not for yoga, but for writers.

Cricket McRae said...

Ha! Love this post, Sue Ann. Unfortunately, my office is too chilly to even consider disrobing. Usually my attire runs to workout clothes or jeans & Ts, but my big comfort factor revolves around the ability to sprawl out, feet up, and work on my laptop literally on my lap -- at home or in public. I'm just too dang short for most desks.

Alan Orloff said...

I write in a tux and top hat.

G.M. Malliet said...

LOL, Alan.

OK, I'll admit it. I write in an evening gown and a tiara.

Alan Orloff said...


That must save time as you go from one awards banquet to the next.

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

I agree, Gin, yoga pants ROCK! Actually anthing loose around the waist rocks for writing.

And, Alan, your last remark made me laugh out loud - not LOL - but a real belly laugh. But stop picking on our little award winner. Every woman should wear a tiara at least for an hour every day. Yoga pants and a tiara.

Beth Solheim said...

The Minnesota seasons determine what I wear when I write. Sometimes thermal, sometimes tank top. I face a window so I try not to get too risqué. My neighbors put up with the wacky writer lady, but the fox and deer that frequent the bird feeder have done a double-take or two. The ingrates. It’s free food, not a fashion show.

Lisa Bork said...

Good one, Alan. Although, Gin, you deserve a tiara.

I write only in our office at home, and I'm always showered and dressed, most often in jeans. No make-up--I'm almost always naked in that regard.

Keith Raffel said...

Some authors write in public places. Some write in the nude. Do any do both simultaneously? (Scary thought!)

Magic Man said...

i often write sans trousers and sometimes sans top. the chair has a towel. the writer has full absorption of oxygen thru the pores. and the work seems to show a blatant honesty. sometimes i dress.

as for writing in public sans attire i and others have visited free beaches and done some writing in the process. where tolerance is the tendency.

more posts to come??

Kold_Kadavr_flatliner said...

God blessa youse -Fr. Sarducci, ol SNL