There’s a story that Victor Hugo wrote naked to force himself to be productive.
The author of Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame had his servant take all of his clothes away for the day.
Since he couldn’t go out, he had no choice but to write!
Naked Fact or Myth?
What is true is that in Autumn 1830, Victor Hugo began The Hunchback of Notre Dame with a ridiculous deadline of February 1831.
After much brilliant research (by other people) –
The truth is that Victor Hugo probably didn’t write naked (sorry).
But he may have used this “old gray shawl” motivation trick.
He bought an entire bottle of ink in preparation and practically put himself under house arrest for months, using a most peculiar anti-escape technique:
Hugo locked away his clothes to avoid any temptation of going outside and was left with nothing to wear except a large gray shawl. He had purchased the knitted outfit, which reached right down to his toes, just for the occasion. It served as his uniform for many months.
Whatever he did, it seemed to work.
He finished the book weeks before the deadline, using up the whole bottle of ink to write it.
For the full story, check out this fascinating article.
Since Authors generally get no more daring than bedclothes, here are some pictures of shirtless authors:
February 1st is Working Naked Day.