Home > NewsRelease > Wacky Writing Rituals: What’s Yours?
Text
Wacky Writing Rituals: What’s Yours?
From:
American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA)
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: New York , NY
Wednesday, September 25, 2013

 

Emily Rogan
It?s rumored that Victor Hugo wrote Les Miserablés in the nude (apparently he instructed his valet to hide his clothes while he wrote, so he couldn?t get up and walk away).

Truman Capote wrote lying down.

William Faulkner wrote while simultaneously drinking copious amounts of whiskey. (Maybe that explains why I had so much trouble understanding As I Lay Dying.)

John Cheever wrote in his skivvies.

That?s not my style, nor is it that of most writers I know ? though if I thought I might churn out anything that remotely resembles those authors? brilliance, I might consider taking up naked, alcohol-infused, supine writing.
It works for me
We writers are an idiosyncratic bunch and many of us have habits that offer us comfort–and in some cases, a sense of order?to help us get the job done. Before I sit down to tackle a hefty assignment, I cut my nails short. There can be no white showing at the tips. Oh, and no nail polish permitted either. I can?t explain why, but the feeling of my finger pads on the keyboard makes me feel prepped and ready to write. I can?t stand the clicking sound nails make and I love how my freshly clipped and filed nails look with each strike. Odd? Perhaps. But it works for me.
Author and lifestyle expert Leah Ingram has a thing about fingers too, but the actual digits, not the nails. This ASJA member needs unfettered fingers to work. ?I take off my wedding ring and engagement ring. I can’t stand having the rings circling my fingers when I’m typing for long periods of time, like when I?m doing phone interviews,? she says.
Some pare down ? others primp up: Picture book author and young adult novelist Kat Yeh says when she?s staring down a tough scene or chapter, she wears dress-up jewelry and red lipstick. ?Sometimes a ball skirt or evening gown. It gets me out of my own head, I guess,? she adds.
Break out your moves
Lifestyle writer and ASJA member Janene Mascarella doesn?t dress up, but she does break out some moves. ?I have this very snazzy shoulder roll I do to relax my arms and shoulders before sitting down to write an article. It looks very Bob Fosse-like. And I may or may not add jazz hands!”
?My best burst of creativity comes somewhere between my first and second cup of coffee,? says Amy Giles, a copywriter who also pens essays and is working on a novel.  ?That’s when words and ideas come to me easily, when everything comes together naturally.? And she adds,  ?My desk has to be uncluttered. If it’s messy, it’s like loud noise and I can’t think!?
So while you might not need to toss back a shot of tequila or don that lucky shirt you?ve saved from college, chances are you have some rituals that help you get the job done. Do you need silence or music playing? Are you most creative at the crack of dawn?
Think about it; what do you do?
 

 
Alexandra Owens
Executive Director
ASJA (American Society of Journalists and Authors)
New York, NY
212 997-0947
212 937-2315