Blogger: Wendy Lawton
Our Books & Such offices are closed for Christmas Break. We decided to choose some oldies but goodies to re-blog. This is a blog post I wrote almost seven years ago but the wisdom from these writers remains just as useful. Here goes:
What is it about writers that we tend to have little rituals that mark our work.
I can’t write unless my office is orderly. In fact, I prefer that the whole house be clean. Oh, yes, and the garden weeded, watered and the lawn mowed. I write best when there are fresh flowers on the dining room table. (As I write this, I have gorgeous white long-stem roses from Costco–perfect flowers, unbelievable price.) I like to have candles lit, but no music. Silence is best. Wouldn’t you say it’s a good thing I don’t write for a living?
I asked a few writing friends if they have any rituals that help prime the pump. Here are their answers:
Gayle Roper says: “I need silence. No music. No movement of other people– hard now that there’s a retired husband in the house. And I need a good game of Spider Solitaire.” Note: Since this time, Gayle’s wonderful husband, Chuck, went to heaven but I’m guessing she still needs her silence and solitaire.
Deb Raney says: “Before I start writing, I have to have the bed made, dishes done and house reasonably straight. Then I light scented candles, put instrumental music on Pandora on my computer, and pour steaming coffee into a specially chosen mug (from a cupboard that houses about 50 of them in all different shapes and sizes!)”
Maureen Lang says: “I’m not especially neat. My desk is full of unfiled papers, scraps of notes littered around me meant to serve as reminders of something especially important, piles of books and scattered reading glasses (I bought one pair of glasses for every room of the house but somehow they all end up on my desk). However, I have a hard time concentrating on my work if there are dishes in my sink, my bed is unmade, or the house is especially cluttered from last night’s family ‘togetherness.’ So, after I pop out of bed (yes, I’m one of those annoyingly chirpy early risers) I always set the covers neatly in place, shower then have a quiet time over breakfast. Immediately after that I make sure the dishes are in the dishwasher then do a quick pick up around the 1st floor (where my study is). I’m then ready to sit at my worn, old desk in my tattered, old chair, neither of which could I bear to part with even when the room around it was redecorated. First I glance through my emails, deleting most. All of this takes a little over an hour. But it gives me a clean conscience to start my writing day. I’ve done my best to keep order around me, so my mind can fly off to storyland.”
James Scott Bell says: “I try to think hard about my project before I go to sleep, so the “boys in the basement” (h/t Stephen King) can work overnight. As fast as I can in the morning (after making the coffee, of course) I write down whatever comes to mind for about five minutes.”
DiAnn Mills says: “I close my eyes and envision myself as my character–whether it’s the protagonist or the antagonist–in the scene I’m about to write. I roll some dialogue around in my head, add a little sensory perception, then dive into my ‘role.’ I write my best in a comfy chair in our Texas Room. Actually it’s our game room in a Texas-Wild West theme.”
So how about you? What kind of things do you do to get ready to write? (Talk among yourselves, dear friends. I’m celebrating Christmas with my computer off.)