How Emily Ratajkowski wrote ‘My Body’

I found that the best place for me to work is in bed. I don’t know why, but that’s true for me. I know a lot of people feel it’s sacrilegious and terrible for your sleep, which it probably is, but I also have found that sometimes my best ideas come to me when I can’t sleep.

Most of [My Body, a collection of personal essays published in early November] was written before I even had a book agent, so I wasn’t on deadline or anything, which was nice. I was extremely productive because I didn’t feel the pressure. I wasn’t aware of readers. The more self-aware you become, the harder it is to write. Once I sold the book and was on a deadline to finish it, it was much more difficult. I’d also had a baby, and was like, What have I done? I was feeding my baby every three hours. I had conversations with my husband about how I was going to have to call the publisher and just tell him I wasn’t going to be able to get this one essay finished, [and] all of a sudden, I would have an idea. It would show up at the least convenient time. And I would just use my phone and Notes app and just write things, not even worrying about anything, typing with my thumb. And that would be how something new would start.

What usually happens is I’ll have an idea and I’m like, That could maybe be an essay. I wonder what that would be like to try to write about. And then some time will pass, and I won’t think about it. Then I’ll be driving or something, and all of a sudden, I hear a voice talking and sentences forming. And then I have to [pull over and] pull out my phone and just try to transcribe it. Honestly, it’s the only way I know how to start to write. If I don’t have that, then I could stare at a page basically forever.

[The transition to a document] always freaks me out, because I feel like I’m cursing it or something, and it feels like bad luck, which is stupid. So I really try to have a lot down before I do it. The fear of the blank page is so real.

Time she wakes up

“Now, with a son, I have his first feeding at like 7 a.m.”

First thing she does in the morning

“We have a Nespresso machine, so I just make one of those and put some oat milk in it, like the true 2021 woman that I am.”

How her routine has changed over the past 18 months

“Two years ago [I was] pretty much not in the same place for more than 10 days. I used to feel allergic to ritual. It made me feel like I wasn’t being productive. Something about it grossed me out. And now I really enjoy it. I love making espresso each morning. I love that my son wakes up at this [set] time. And I like that I take my dog for a walk.”

Her relationship with social media

“I’m curious what people think [about my book]—genuine curiosity. Every writer I know has told me, ‘Do not go on GoodReads. Do not do that.’ I’m going to try to adhere to that rule. I think I will read the reviews that people tell me to read.”

How she makes time for herself

“Even if I’m working from home and not even doing Zooms or whatever, I like to do my makeup. My husband was the one who was like, ‘It’s like your meditation time.’ I can’t look at my phone because I’m concentrating on something else. It’s a time where I can zone out and be in my head, and it’s maybe 10 minutes.”

What she does with 15 minutes of free time

“Lie down. I get horizontal.”

Last thing she does at night

“The last two nights, I fell asleep reading stuff on my phone, and my phone fell onto my chest. So I hate to say it, but if I’m being honest, a part of my routine is falling asleep while trying to consume some sort of media.”

Time she goes to bed

10:30 or 11 p.m.

 

Read more about the secrets of this year’s most productive people.

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