Do you have writing rituals? Are there things you do that may be considered superstitious that help you keep the muse happy? I have theater experience, and the theater is chock full of superstitious. Don’t whistle on stage. Beware performances of “Macbeth” because they are bad luck. Wish an actor to “break a leg” before a performance.
Writers are not much different. I have a few writing rituals I follow regularly. I own a talisman for poets and writers that I wear when I’m writing. It gives me confidence. I also enjoy a glass of champagne after I finish a work. When I get an acceptance, I enjoy a glass of champagne. When I get a rejection, I also enjoy a glass of champagne to stay inspired. Maybe I just like drinking champagne.
I knew of famous writers who had writing rituals. The article, “Writing Rituals: Superstition or Productivity”, published at Neiman Storyboard, detailed some of these peculiar rituals. Here are examples:
Gay Talese – According to legend, he pinned his pages to the wall of his office, and then he’d study them through binoculars to study them.
John Steinbeck – When working on “East of Eden”, he wrote daily to his editor. He also sharpened 12 pencils through an electric pencil sharpener, with one point lasting one page.
James Joyce – He wrote in bed while wearing a long white coat. He also marked up his notebooks with crayon for “Ulysses”.
Truman Capote – Left three and only three cigarette butts in his ashtray.
Honoré de Balzac – Drank lots of coffee to stay alert and keep writing.
Colette – Picked fleas off her cat before she wrote.
Robert Frost – Wrote only at night.
Marcel Proust – Lined his bedroom where he wrote with corkboard to dull sound. He also blocked light with heavy curtains so he wouldn’t be distracted.
J. D. Salinger – As a teen, he wrote beneath his bedsheets at night using a flashlight.
Charles Dickens, Henry James, and Virginia Woolf – hiked in the countryside as inspiration.
Alexandre Dumas – Wrote poetry on yellow paper, articles on pink paper, and novels on blue paper.
Langston Hughes – Wrote letters in bright green ink.
Margaret Atwood – Liked writing on planes.
Why would writers engage in such superstitious behavior? Maybe because every little bit helps. I take notes with a special pen. It’s soothing to me. Rituals are important in creative endeavors. They help to keep one focused. They help give confidence. They relieve anxiety. They make you feel at one with other writers as you learn about their own idiosyncrasies. Writers – and creative people in general – often display odd behavior, but there’s nothing bad or weird about it. If lighting incense and sharpening a dozen pencils help writers write, more power to them.
Elizabeth Black writes in a wide variety of genres including erotica, erotic romance, horror, and dark fiction. She lives on the Massachusetts coast with her husband, son, and her three cats. Her LGBTQ paranormal erotic shifter romance novel “Full Moon Fever” is now available for purchase at Amazon and other book distributors. Her collection of erotic fairy tales, “Happily Ever After: Twisted Versions of Your Favorite Fairy Tales”, is also available at Amazon.
Web site: http://elizabethablack.blogspot.com
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/elizabethblack