I chuckle at the idea as I rearrange the contents on my desk, light 3 candles in a clockwise motion around the room, set the lighting perfectly, sit in my chair and shuffle it around for a minute to get it in the perfect spot where the sunlight doesn’t blind me but illuminates my work space, and then…I give Bindi and Frankie treats from the neat little jar on my desk. This is about the time I realize I need to refill my cuppa and grab a nibble. You know, things I could have done BEFORE I sat my happy butt down. Now I get to do it all over again. But I have no idea why people could think that writers are superstitious?
Just like the habit that the second paragraph in these blogs is a reminder to find your copy of Around the Writer’s Block by Rosanne Bane, to fill your cuppa with something amazing and I tell you I have a lovely tea, and to grab a nibble, mine is apple slices and peanut butter. Why the world believes writers are so focused on rituals and routines I’ll never…OH! Don’t forget to join me on page 135 and, what else? Did I miss something? Book, cuppa, nibble, “join me”? Nope- good! We are ready to proceed.
Moving on! If you do a little research, you will find that some of the greatest writers of our time had rituals they performed before sitting down to write. Some were as simple as wearing a robe all the way up to using different typewriters and colors of paper depending on what they were writing. Dickens would rearrange the items on his desk before starting to write. Me? Well we just took a tiny peak into my journey, but I can add that when I change stories, I will strip my office down and thoroughly clean it from top to bottom while thinking about my new story and plotline. I change the very feel of the room to match the mood of the book I wish to work on. O-B*tch-uary was a mix of hilarity and heartbreak so my space was family based and welcoming. Sin Full (coming soon) is Urban Fantasy chalked full of torture, murder, and all things dark, so my space became darker, and less welcoming to the outside world. It even made me feel uneasy, but that was the type of tale I was preparing to tell.
According to Ralph Keyes and The Courage to Write, we writers use rituals as a way to stave off anxiety. We believe if we do it the same each time there will be know room for panic and misgivings. These are defenses against interference in the creative process. According to Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit, she writes that rituals eliminate doubt, reassures us, and puts us in the right mindset to move forward.
Writers are no different than athletes, when we use rituals to distract us from over thinking what is to come. You believe that the lighting is key to the way you write than it is. If you believe that the only way to win the big game is to not wash your socks the entire season then- you do you and…gross. Whatever it is, if it works for you, if it settles your brain then use it to your benefit. Now that I have proof that I am not all together batty, I will continue to light my candles and shuffling my chair. Who is it hurting? Just the hardwood floor beneath my feet.
What are your rituals?
Do you change them based on the topics you are working on?