My Weird Writing Rituals

I’m a writer, which already pegs me as a little odd. I make stuff up. Crazy stuff, sweet stuff, scary stuff. I write down my dreams and nightmares and build worlds around them. Weird.

But to get to the actual business of smearing thoughts across white space, I have a few rituals I practice. Some of these are absolute MUSTS, others are just when I’m having a tough time with motivation.

Always, I get started with coffee. Not weird; lots of people do that, whether they are writers or not. Coffee is important. Not only does coffee wake me up and energize me, the taste and aroma sort of work like a time machine, transporting me to wherever else I need to be. It’s magic.

Sometimes I listen to music. It can be the perfect way to get into the needed emotions of a scene. I don’t do this every day, because if my playlist shuffles badly, I get distracted. Nothing worse than having the Goldfinger theme song stuck in your head while you’re trying to write a story about a Bible character. And Song of India is too relaxing to sufficiently inspire a fight scene. My playlist is extensive, so I get pretty picky about that.

I prefer to be alone when I write. That means when people walk in to chat or ask a question, I will minimize my story. This isn’t really a ritual, but it keeps everything secretive, and that mind-set helps me write. When I find myself being interrupted too much, I declare a National Get Out of My House Day, and that usually fixes the problem.

When I first begin writing each day, I go back to my last chapter or last page, and read for a minute or two. I want to get back into the “feel” of the story, so the next part develops naturally. I don’t edit, but I like the more organic approach, as opposed to reviewing my outline (I use that term loosely) or checking a to-do list. Also, I cannot stop writing until the chapter or scene is finished. Walking away from my keyboard mid-scene is not an option. If my house catches fire while I’m writing I will probably die.

Then there is break time, which is about doing chores (How would my main character feel about washing dishes?) or getting a little exercise. If there is music, I will dance. I’m not a great dancer, but that’s never stopped me.

If I get stuck in a scene or situation, I jump to my Pinterest board for the story in question. Here is where I have cast my story and pinned all the research links I might need. Sometimes just reviewing the “facts” gets my stream of thought back on track. If I’m really stuck, I will stare at the photos of my characters and ask them questions. You would be surprised how often they answer. Some of my favorite chapters are the result of this technique.2015-09-11 15.27.09

Another thing that I find myself doing– when I’m working something out in my mind’s eye– is playing with my earrings. Because I do this fairly often, I keep myself focused by wearing earrings that coordinate with my story. What? I know it seems silly. I’m discovering that I do quite a lot of silly things. Yes, in the morning while I’m getting dressed I ask myself which story I will be writing today. Little Black Dress is set in Paris, so I put on my Eiffel Tower earrings. Shooting Stars Traveling Circus calls for my pistols. Her Most Precious Gift is about Mary of Bethany from the Bible, so I wear my favorite cross earrings. When I start fiddling with them, they become inspiration. My fingertips, which usually hop from key to key, now explore the edges and form of real symbols from my stories. Sometimes the tactile bond is just what I need to keep going.

As I look over my list, I’m noticing something that has never occurred to me before today. All of my quirks, my weird little writing rituals, revolve around my five senses. I suppose these are just some of the methods I use to make my story real.

Would you like a glimpse into the novels I’m writing? Here are a few links to my Pinterest boards. Follow me!

Little Black Dress Novel Research

Shooting Stars Traveling Circus

Her Most Precious Gift

 

Twenty Facts About Me

Day two of the June blogging challenge sounded easy. Just needed to make a list of twenty facts about myself. Hmmm… this took a little longer to put together than I expected.

1. One of my favorite things to do is teach Bible class to little kids. I especially like teaching the stories that are a little gross or scary. The expressions on the kids’ faces are priceless.

2. I have lived my whole life in Texas, with the exception of a couple of summers spent in Idaho, when my dad staked mining claims in the early 1970’s.texas

3. I have seen every episode of Gilligan’s Island. Even the TV specials where they got rescued and re-stranded.

4. My favorite aisle at the grocery store is the one with the coffee, chocolate syrup, and peanut butter. The combination of those smells delights me.

5. I read Little Women a dozen times in the third grade. That’s when I decided I wanted to be a writer.

6. I have the original script to Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope memorized. I’m a complete geek.

7. I enjoy travel. I have a long list of places I’d like to see before I die.

8. I like to study history and geography. I am also a nerd.

9. I adore pirates, spies, Vikings, detectives, and space cowboys– real and fictional.pirates

10. I hate killing off characters in the stories I write. I will agonize and mourn for them for days. I know; it’s a problem.

11. I like birds, but only in pictures. They always poop on me. And no, I don’t believe that’s good luck.

12. I enjoy watching old movies, especially ones with Cary Grant or Audrey Hepburn, or both.

13. I dream in color. Always. Once I even had a dream in cartoon. Really.

14. My favorite authors are Ian Fleming, Rex Stout, and Agatha Christie.

15. I love holding babies.

16. I have an irrational fear of clowns, sharks, and alligators, and a rational fear of spiders, snakes, and scorpions. (I have been stung by scorpions twice.)

17. I am allergic to strawberries. Not the throat-closing-can’t-breathe kind of allergy, but the hives-from-my-nose-to-my-knees kind.

strawberry

18. I was 38 years old when I finally got my ears pierced.

19. When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would always respond with “Carol Burnett.” I still do.

20. I can carry entire conversations with movie quotes and song lyrics.

Anything else you’d like to know? Just ask.

Need Coffee…

Hey, friends! If you visit here often, you may have noticed a few changes in the look of my site. Simpler layout, easier navigation, and more fun– those are my goals. I’m looking for some feedback from you all on ways to improve and offer you a better experience when you drop in.

I’ve also revamped my email subscribers’ list, so I’m offering you all a chance to win a prize just for subscribing. When my subscriber list reaches 150 fans, I will give one lucky friend (drawn at random from the list, US residents only) a $25 Starbucks gift card. The winner agrees to share with me their snail-mail address, so that I may send the card directly to them.

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