Nathan Bransford, Author


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What are your writing superstitions?


Writers can be a superstitious lot.

A coffee mug that confers special powers. An exacting but necessary pre-writing routine that must be adhered to before sitting down to write. A snack that is crucial for proper brain functioning.

What are your writing superstitions?






35 comments:

Brian Clegg said...

My main writing superstition is 'Don't write anything until you are sure you are going to be paid for it.'

Darth Lolita said...

Leather notebooks and inky pens somehow make me have better ideas.

(Uh...but that just might be my way of rationalizing how much I (wish I could) spend on fancy writing utensils).

CMP said...

I have to keep a separate notebook for every WIP. Even if it's a one line idea for something I plan to work on years from now - it has to have its own notebook. One with leather binding is preferable.

Librarian Lavender said...

I need to have at least three ways to make back ups, otherwise I'm afraid I will lose what I've written.

Anonymous said...

Here are just two in a long list:

I always start a new book on a Friday...only a Friday.

I never write about something that I don't want to happen in my own life...I've written things that are pure fiction that have come true in my real life and that freaks me out. I don't take chances anymore.

Anonymous said...

@Librarian Lavender "I need to have at least three ways to make back ups, otherwise I'm afraid I will lose what I've written."

I do that, too. I think that's just being smart :)

Shawn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shawn said...

For the past twenty-six years I have not varied one iota from my superstitious tradition.

Before every writing session I rip a bongload of BC Scalpbender Gold.

Of course, this may explain why I'm still on page eight of my first novel.

(Ironically, the one writing tip that was not in Nathan's book: "Write first. Smoke up later.")

Emily Organ said...

I don't have any! Now I'm worried that not having any superstitions is bad luck in itself and that I need to find some quickly.

Stephanie Faris said...

Am I the only one who has a weird fear about ending my writing day on either page 13 or chapter 13? I don't even want to publish a 13-chapter book...although that's not really a problem since most books are much longer than that!

Traci Kenworth said...

I have to write first thing in the morning before I do any checking of email etc. Otherwise, I get sidetracked. But I start with my tea. No exceptions.

Jan M. Leotti said...

I need certain things around my computer. My dragon box, my glittery raven, certain gemstones, and sculptures of witches, and dark faeries. I've got all kinds of things hanging, sitting, and peering around corners. And tea. Lots of tea. Wow. I suddenly feel very weird!

Genissa said...

I'd never really thought about writing superstitions. I'm not a superstitious person in general, and so I don't have anything really! I'm boring :( haha

Genissa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bruce Bonafede said...

I'm very careful never to write a bestseller because I don't want to be corrupted by wealth and fame.

D.T. Krippene said...

Always write in the morning. Anything after noon is hogwash, better suited for social media and naps.

Sophia said...

I never EVER talk about a story or part of a story before I write its first draft.

The Knittymommy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mieke Zamora-Mackay said...

Generally, I refrain from talking about my current WIP, especially in the first draft stage. I often find myself not finishing a piece I've spoken to others about.

wendy said...

I think superstitions can have power but only what we give them though our beliefs. So...why not take that power and use it to have faith in ourselves and our work? Of course this is easier said than done, sometimes, depending on our level of existing confidence. But it's no coincidence that often people who are proficient in one area have proficiencies in other areas as well. It's because of their confidence in themsevles and their thought processes of "Oh, yeah, I can do that." It's amazing the ease this confidence will give to completing a satisfactory project. Otherwise, we're fighting against ourselves every step of the way. This positivity must seep through to the subliminal levels to really work and not just be a tentative affirmation...that can be the challenging part. But what are shortcuts to the subconscious? Mediation? Self-hypnosis? Prayer? But the thing for all of us to take heart in is that we all potentially have immeasurable power and gifts waiting to spring into life through our thought processes and beliefs. But we can never rise higher than our current beliefs and awareness. So let's encourage one another. :)

JJ said...

Lucky writing sweater.

Maya Prasad said...

Funny topic. I see a number of deleted posts--superstitious authors who suddenly feel that revealing their secrets would undo the magic?

I don't have any superstitions, per se, but I think ritual is a good thing. It's important to treat yourself and set the mood. I should probably do that more. <3 to the others with the tea ritual. I used to have that, but I kind of dropped it after becoming a mom.

C.S. Plocher said...

Not to be a spoilsport or anything but I try to stick to this advice: "Writers everywhere have purchased expensive technology, rented rooms, left loved ones, exiled themselves to grass huts, or worse without bringing a single project to fruition. The problem is, none of this is writing. It’s stalling. And the more you indulge any neurotic notions about a set of necessary conditions that will enable you to write, the colder the trail will get." - Betsy Lerner, The Forest for the Trees (tinyurl.com/ohp4cb5)

Sirena said...

I have to have my enviroment soothing and relaxing before beginning to write. No clutter, good lighting, playlist chosen. I find that with these things in place I have better flow. Superstitions or habit, i cannot decide.

Kentish Janner said...

Oh dear.. was I worried about sounding OCD answering this post? Obviously not enough to NOT post it... here goes:

Step One, light scented candle at least fifteen minutes before sitting down to write. Something vanilla-y or exotic - nothing that smells like Toilet Duck, thanks very much.

Step Two: Put on Specific Writing Music Playlist. Tunes that have been SPECIALLY CHOSEN for the particular w-i-p I'm working on, because they evoke the right mood. And set at a very low volume, so that I can only just hear them.

Step three: have relevant snacks to hand. Healthy stuff like nuts, dried fruit and seed mixes is perfect. Failing that, badass chocolate will do just fine.

Yup - now I'm good to go1

Elizabeth O. Dulemba said...

Whenever I see a clock hit 1:11 or 11:11, I find it odd - lucky somehow. So I take a minute and tell the universe what success I hope my book will achieve. :)

Anma Natsu said...

I really can't think of any that I have. Backups to me aren't a superstition, it's just plain smart! :-)

Not so much a superstition, but my current habit is all new first drafts are written during NaNo only. The rest of the year is for editing.

P.S. are there no longer any moderators in your forums? There has been some spam of the adult variety there for a few days now (all reported).

Meredith Towbin said...

I won't tell anyone what my book is about until I my first draft is completely finished. Even my husband. I started my third novel and made the mistake of telling him what the idea of it was going to be, and then I had to abandon it after 6000 words because it just wasn't working. What did I learn? Keep it all to myself.

Insane? Maybe. But TOTALLY PROVEN.

J.S. Johnson said...

Maybe not a superstition, but I'm a big fan of music when I write. That said, it can't be anything lyrical - it needs to be instrumental and intense. Russian Circles, Explosions in the Sky, Mogwai, This Will Destroy You, The Album Leaf, El Ten Eleven...a lot of instrumental prog-rock on Pandora usually fits the bill. I try to listen to playlists and songs that match the story's mood, and I've found that very effective in feeding creativity.

John "Ol' Chumbucket" Baur said...

I have a fear that if I don't sit down and start working on my WIP, it's never going to get finished.

Gwen Tolios said...

I never really thought of writer superstitions before. Don't have any myself nor do I know anyone who has one really. But I will say I hate writing in silence.

Anonymous said...

I never feel like a project is really underway until the dialogue starts flowing. I can work out the story, write description, rough out scenes -- but until the characters start talking I don't know if it's really going to happen. I always feel relieved when the dialogue begins, then I feel like I"m actually "writing"; everything else is preparation.

I also use flower essences a lot, either in water or a mist. There are a lot that are said to enhance creativity and they work for me! Iris flower essence always brings renewed inspiration.

And whenever I feel stuck or stagnant I watch some Marx Brothers movies. I don't know why but something about the wordplay and freewheeling spirit gets me going again!

Avery Tingle said...

If I'm writing by hand, and I make a single mistake, I throw the whole thing a Wayans start over. Handwritten errors throw a hey on the whole thing.
I don't do a lot of writing by hand.

Linda C Jaeger said...

I have this idea that if I can only find the *perfect* notebook/pen/position/software/bench in the park, writing will become easy. I'm always restless at the thought of writing, because the moment is never *exactly right*. Of course, when I disregard all this and just write, it turns out that writing isn't so bad, after all, even though my laptop wasn't crafted by svirfneblin.

I look at pretty notebooks in the shop and dream of all the wonderful things I might write in them. When I open them at home, I become paralysed by the blank pages.

John said...

I always, always start a new story with a brand new, never used, gel pen. Every time.

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