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Writers and their rituals

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Someone shared with me this article about famous writers and their writing routines, habits and rituals. I can see how having a very specific time of day to write would be helpful and I'm going to work harder to set a time and stick to it. But I have to say, I don't see myself resorting to a 3-meal-a-day diet of eggs and bacon  :breakfast or martinis at lunch. :margarita

The only thing I'm really weird about is that I can't write until I've eaten enough to be just a little bit full, and I've brushed and flossed my teeth.

Do any of you have rituals that help - or not help too much - your writing?

Here's the article:
http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/oct/05/daily-rituals-creative-minds-mason-currey
#1 - October 12, 2013, 06:38 PM
THE SECRET OF FERRELL SAVAGE
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I almost always listen to vocal trance mixes and/or dubstep while I'm writing.  That is (I think) as close as I get to a ritual, but it does seem to be something I have difficulty writing without.

For those who haven't heard this type of music, here's one of my favourite mixes [warning, eight hours long!  feel free to listen to a snippet  ;) ] : http://youtu.be/UT4i5B4ZOsE
#2 - October 12, 2013, 08:12 PM
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I almost always listen to vocal trance mixes and/or dubstep while I'm writing.  That is (I think) as close as I get to a ritual, but it does seem to be something I have difficulty writing without.

For those who haven't heard this type of music, here's one of my favourite mixes [warning, eight hours long!  feel free to listen to a snippet  ;) ] : http://youtu.be/UT4i5B4ZOsE

Blimey, that takes me back to my Manchester days. Lived next door to a guy who played dubstep all night long. I got so used it I found it hard to sleep without it when I moved!

I don't have any rituals. I write on the hoof (ha, that sounds funny). I'll do it on a receipt at a café, in a notepad or on my ipad in bed, but mostly on the laptop.
#3 - October 13, 2013, 08:46 AM

I cannot write

- without a computer. I can brainstorm & do outline maps on a notepad, but the actual writing HAS to be done on a computer.

- if there is background music. When I feel distracted or needs a break, I listen to music. I can work with the TV on (we live in a loft-kind of set up and hubby does not like head phones  :paperbag) but never with background music. Music is when I want to stimulate a tired muse so that I can go back to writing :)

- outside, especially if it is bright. By this I mean a park, a room with big ceilings or even a big window. I lose track of time just staring at the scenery. Give me a small, darkish room with four walls and a working PC, and I am good  :hiding

R
#4 - October 13, 2013, 09:34 AM
12 books in 12 months! Follow my Chapter Book 12x12 journey at www.childrenswriter.in

Blimey, that takes me back to my Manchester days. Lived next door to a guy who played dubstep all night long. I got so used it I found it hard to sleep without it when I moved!

I had never heard of dubstep or trance until an old boyfriend introduced me to it.  I'm amazed at how helpful it is for my writing - it seems to know exactly what mood the scene needs to be before I even start writing.
#5 - October 13, 2013, 12:58 PM
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So interesting! Thanks for sharing.
#6 - October 13, 2013, 02:58 PM
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I can't write with a necklace on.
#7 - October 13, 2013, 06:29 PM
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I laughed at Benjamin Franklin's air baths (cited in the article link).  I drink 3 cups of coffee and start writing at 5 am. This is by necessity...all hell breaks loose after 7am. I always speak the dialogue I write in the characters' voices. Drives the fam to distraction.
#8 - October 13, 2013, 07:17 PM

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I laughed at Benjamin Franklin's air baths (cited in the article link).  I drink 3 cups of coffee and start writing at 5 am. This is by necessity...all (Satan's home) breaks loose after 7am. I always speak the dialogue I write in the characters' voices. Drives the fam to distraction.

Three cups? BEFORE 5am? Wow. I might try drinking three cups of coffee before 5am, working for two hours, and then taking a photo of myself to post here. Honestly, I think it would be more terrifying than any Halloween mask you can think of. I bow down to your ability to drink coffee at such an hour without scaring the kids out of the house at 7am! (Or perhaps that's the idea?!)
#9 - October 14, 2013, 08:23 AM

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I'm relieved to see that no one resorts to amphetamines in the morning and sleeping pills at night like one of the authors in the article.  :pumpkinhead:

Starting tomorrow - no, seriously, I mean it, tomorrow - I'm going to get my kids out the door at their usual 7:00 a.m. and then go straight to the computer to write. Do not pass Facebook, do not pass email, just go directly to my word document and start writing. I believe a ritual like this could work.
#10 - October 14, 2013, 01:08 PM
THE SECRET OF FERRELL SAVAGE
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I can't write with a necklace on.

That is so pleasantly quirky! I wonder why you can't write with a necklace on? Do you tend to fiddle with it and get distracted? Do you feel choked? So interesting.
#11 - October 14, 2013, 01:11 PM
THE SECRET OF FERRELL SAVAGE
Atheneum (Simon & Schuster) February, 2014

I'm not sure if this is a ritual as much as just nervous habit, but I pace circles through my dining room and foyer while eating something crunchy whenever I'm trying to push through a tough section of a book.

I'm curious about the necklace thing too! I can't wear necklaces to bed because I feel choked...
#12 - October 14, 2013, 01:35 PM
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I wear necklaces in the classroom, but when I sit down to write they make me feel claustrophobic, or unable to breathe. So yeah, I guess it's a choking thing.

At least I don't take air baths.  :nanana:

Denise, why does the snack need to be crunchy? Are you getting the muse's attention? And do you go to the foyer to let a new idea in?

Jennifer D G--good luck with your new schedule.  :typing
#13 - October 14, 2013, 02:09 PM
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I enjoyed the article ... and dews, that's interesting about the necklace. I can't wear watches or anything tight on my wrists. I have gold and glass bangles though.

I've heard of more people writing in the raw now :) In Nancy Butt's book Spontaneous Combustion (about creativity), she writes about Colette's husband who took away her clothes so she couldn't go anywhere, but be in her bedroom and write.

I don't do anything quirky, but I need to have the kitchen clean before I begin work. Actually, I do my morning chores first (walk the dog, laundry, clean kitchen). Jennifer, I think writing first before checking email/ reading newspaper, etc. is a good idea. I should try it myself, though I find that writing a letter to my husband is a great warmup. We've been writing to each other for a hundred years.

Vijaya
#14 - October 14, 2013, 04:29 PM
« Last Edit: October 14, 2013, 07:17 PM by Vijaya »
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Aw, Vijaya, that is so sweet that you start out by writing a letter to your husband!

Dews, when I was growing up, a friend's mother was not comfortable with anything snug around her neck - no turtlenecks under sweaters, no scarves (and we were in WI where the winters are cold!) And to have a towel clipped around her neck for a haircut at the stylist - forget it, she couldn't do it. She joked she must have been choked to death in a previous lifetime. . . .

This has been an interesting thread. I've thought and thought, but I don't have any writing rituals. And Jennifer D. I'm with you. I need to cut out my distractions in the morning. . . . my downfall is reading the newspaper while eating breakfast, so I make my breakfast stretch for over 30 minutes so I can finish the paper!
#15 - October 14, 2013, 06:54 PM
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  The closest thing I have to a ritual is that each night, before I go to bed, I look at my list of submissions and think about each story that's out there.  Oh, and I like to write on paper and I'm picky about pens--it has to be a pen I really like.  :writing3
#16 - October 14, 2013, 09:13 PM

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I think that my writing ritual involves lots of chaos. This is the first time in 15 years I haven't had kids at home in the daytime, and...wow. I've churned out some scenes, yes--but my best time for new ideas is still when everyone is home and things are crazy. So I think my new ritual is, think about writing when everyone is home, and then write it all down once they leave in the morning.

I can't write to music at all, but I do find that listening to music to get me in the mood for a particular book is helpful. My current WIP doesn't really have a soundtrack (the MC doesn't listen to a lot of music), and I'm finding it's taking a bit longer.
#17 - October 15, 2013, 08:42 AM

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I can't listen to music with words--or if I do, I have to read my work aloud.  The words of the music just get all jumbled with the words I'm writing.  I've got an 'instrumental jazz' and an 'Aaron Copeland' pandora station. 

But the big thing for me was carving out time during the day/week to write.  I've got a day job, but it's not full time, so I figured out how many hours I've got to write during the time I'm away from the kids/hubby, and I blocked it out on my schedule.  We'll see if it works!

See, now, I've always lived in a cold-ish climate, and I don't like my neck to be bare (I'm also ticklish)...

Meg
#18 - October 15, 2013, 11:50 AM

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I guess writers who write in the buff must have to follow a story outline because they sure can't fly by the seats of their pants.  :dr
#19 - October 15, 2013, 04:30 PM
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Meg, I hope your blocked out schedule gets the job done for you. When a person's really busy like that, that's the best way. I might have even written better, more focused, when my schedule was tight.

Also, it looks like you're new to the board. Welcome to Verla's!
#20 - October 15, 2013, 04:34 PM
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The closest thing I have a ritual is switching locations. If I'm working on multiple projects, I may spend the morning writing at, say, a Starbucks or Paneras, and then after lunch I either switch to a different coffee shop or I go back to my office at home. The change in location helps me reset my mind so I can switch from one project to another.
#21 - October 15, 2013, 09:02 PM
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Another ritual that works for me: letting my mind wander.  Not during my day job of course, or a conference call, or when my DK is telling me about the latest Minecraft mod (tempting...). 

But I was just driving to a doctor's appointment this morning, thinking about how uninspired I was by the latest ASK issue topics, and I came up with three article ideas.  Even fleshed them out a bit!  So guess what I'm doing in the waiting room?  Okay, I'm posting (they have wifi).  But as soon as I finish, I'm going to start on the outlines, I swear! 

Sometimes, if my conscious brain is stuck, my subconscious will take over.

Meg
#22 - October 16, 2013, 07:14 AM

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