How I Write – Brian Castleberry


I do my best work if I can get started early in the day–maybe not six in the morning or anything, but early enough that I can feel like I’m getting things done and don’t put off the work. I write at my campus office sometimes, when there’s an opportunity. One thing I’ve learned is to not get stuck in patterns–saying there’s only one time to write, or attaching some ritual to the work. Better to just write whenever I get the chance, and put it first on my list before other things. I don’t eat when I write, but I’ll often have coffee if it’s early in the day. I used to listen to loud indie and punk on headphones as I wrote. At some point in my thirties I began listening only to things like Coltrane or Steve Reich when I write, or nothing at all. I like to still be able to hear my words and sentences in my head as I write–maybe this wasn’t all that important to me when I was getting started as a writer. Philip Glass is also good for me–but so are ethereal bands like Day Wave and Beach House. Or, occasionally, Battles.