Sunday, November 6, 2016
What Habits Or Rituals Do Writers Have -- And Need?
Many people have rituals and routines to not only get through the day, but to perform at a high level. Athletes are known to do things in an almost superstitious way. Actors often prepare for a role in a certain manner. Do writers do something to put their minds at ease to help them focus on either writing or book marketing?
We all have habits – good and bad – that help us pursue or evade certain activities. Many of us like to feel our backs against the wall with deadline pressures in order to perform at our best. Others like the advantage of a head start on things. What can an author do to help them perform at their best?
Some people need a distraction or a competing challenge in order to focus on their writing or marketing while others can’t absorb one more chore, demand, or activity. Some like to work under noise and a crowded environment while others can’t be disturbed and need to be in isolation. Knowing what works for you – and seeking to create the optimum circumstances for your success would seem imperative.
There are a number of writers burdened by OCD-type activities, where they simply can’t function until they go through a systems check. Even more seriously, some authors are unproductive unless they pursue their addictions – take drugs, consume alcohol, eat junk food, look at porn, gamble. Some need distractions, like playing video games, having a TV or radio play away, or to be in a certain setting – bookstore, library, coffee shop, a special room in the house, etc. But it may not all be addiction and distraction. Some writers feel compelled to clean their house, get organized, finish chores, address obligations and get all other needs out of the way before tackling their craft. Some may even enjoy things at a heightened level, such as sex or a night out on the town, as they take the steps in their mind that would ease them into writing and promoting.
For me, I almost never can write in my house or in too quiet of a space. I like to be in public – on a train, in a bookstore, at a Starbucks, or surrounded by people and nature (Central Park). I naturally want to write so I don’t stall or get caught up in something that sabotages me. In fact, my writing may undermine my efforts to get other needed tasks done. When given a choice, I write. There’s nothing else that compares to the wonderful feeling of creating, of writing away the world’s shortcomings, and of exploring myself through the words that flow outwardly.
I don’t know what writer’s block is. I have too much to say, too much to learn that I can’t afford to get caught up in feeling no inspiration, no thoughts, no avenues worth exploring. The day my mind feels like a blank slate is the day I am dead or ravaged with injuries or a disease that I would pray would take my life.
One’s writing instruments – pen, laptop, desk top, or other tools – may also play a part in a writer’s ability to function and focus. Same goes for the pad or notebook that one might write on. Or his or her desk or immediate workspace. Everything needs to be right – the lighting, the temperature, the mood.
So much goes into the writing and book marketing process. Do you have rituals or habits that surround your artistry? We all do. Be aware if yours are helpful or harmful to your writing – and your life.
I will put down my favorite silver-colored pen and close up my favorite binder. I had my coffee to wake me up. I read my newspapers to get ideas flowing. I wrote on the way to work, on the train. My work is done – until I get the urge to write again, which should be in 30 seconds.
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