It’s October, the month of spooky scary haunts and horrors. And superstitions, of course. There’s no better time than now to take about writing superstitions.
More than a habit
To be clear, there is a difference between a superstition and a habit. For instance, I’m in the habit of writing in the morning because that’s when I have the time.
A superstition is also not a preference. I will not write on anything but college ruled paper with a felt tip Le Pen. That’s a preference. (And don’t get a writer started on their favorite pen. That ends well for no one.)
Here’s a superstition. I can’t write the first draft of anything on a computer. I have to write everything long hand. There’s no good reason, and it takes a ton of time I could put to better use. But I think that I won’t be able to put anything worthwhile on the screen until I’ve put it on the page.
Why it’s good
There are days when writing is hard. Especially when you’re first starting out. When I first started, I felt out of control, and useless most of the time. But then I’d have a great day. I’d brainstorm pages of good ideas, or write reams of new content, or fix some tricky plot point. My brain wanted that to be something I had control over, even though it really wasn’t.
Me being me, I decided it was the coffee shop. There’s this great coffee shop on Main Street called Element. If you’re ever in Butler, PA, check it out. I wrote my whole first draft of Broken Patterns there, sipping coffee and eating the worlds best quiche. I was able to get over my new writing fear because I found a magic spot.
Does this make sense? No. I write non fiction, blog content, poetry and flash fiction just fine in my home office. I also edited Patterns at home without a problem. But come November 1, when I get started on the rough draft of my next book, I’ll be down at Element to do it.
Why it’s bad
What if I can’t get there? What if I don’t have two bucks for coffee, or I have to work, or one of the kids gets sick? I won’t write, or at least I will not write as well as I would.
What if I can’t find the specific pen I was using last time I wrote? What if the store is out of the color I need for this characters pov? (because I write my stories from multiple points of view, I change the ink color depending on who’s in charge. It helps me keep track.) I won’t get any writing done.
This doesn’t make any sense! I’ve got a whole cup of my favorite pens, so it’s not a lack of preferred materials. I’ve got a lovely desk and a back supporting chair at home, so it’s not a lack of a good space. I just can’t do it.
That’s when superstitions get bad. When they become something you can’t write without. And that’s the scariest thing I can think of. Not being able to get a single word out because something’s keeping me from my magic talisman.
So, by all means, embrace your superstitions. But watch that they don’t get a stranglehold on you.
I’ll leave you this week with some of my writing superstitions
I can’t use red ink during a first draft.
I can’t write in pretty notebooks, because I think they have to be more lasting. Can’t even keep a journal in one.
I have to use up all the ink in one pen before I use another one.
What are your writing superstitions? Let us know in the comment section.