Phillip Roth stands while he's working, and "walks half a mile for every page". Like others, Roth has a strict regime:
He works standing up, paces around while he's thinking and has said he walks half a mile for every page he writes. [...]
He has always believed in the separation of life and art. He keeps his private life strictly to himself and prefers not to work where he lives. In Connecticut, his studio is back in the trees away from the house; 30 years ago, when he was spending half the year in London, he lived in Fulham and worked in a little flat in Kensington; in New York, there were two apartments on the Upper West Side, one for living in and a studio for work; when he moved more or less full-time to Connecticut, he kept the New York studio and that is where we met to talk. [...] The lectern at which Roth works is at right angles to the view, presumably to avoid distraction.
The core challenge in writing is how to render life into art:
"I have to have something to do that engages me totally," he says. "Without that, life is hell for me. I can't be idle and I don't know what to do other than write. [...] I don't really have other interests. My interest is in solving the problems presented by writing a book. That's what stops my brain spinning like a car wheel in the snow, obsessing about nothing.
(thanks See Tshiung Han)
Apparently Virginia Woolf did too. See also: Walter Murch.
More how we work.