Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Searching for Inspiration

I've always heard that baseball players were really superstitious. During playoffs, they might wear the same pair of socks for every game or listen to a particular song. They have little rituals they believe will help them play their best or help their team win the big game.



I think writers are quite a lot like that, don't you? We all have our little rituals. Personally, considering I need all the help I can get these days, I burn candles. Lately I've been hooked on pumpkin spice because, yes, I'm in a big hurry for fall to get here. Sick of the summer heat and ready for cooler weather and the turning of the leaves. The pumpkin spice candles bring the fall into my office and settle my mind.



Some writers like to work to music. Are you one of them? I have friends who write to wild, head-banging beats and they tell me the words just flow for them. So far, I've found that kind of music (though I LIKE it) distracts me rather than calms my mind. If I listen to music at all, it's something very zen....rainfall in the forest or waves crashing on the beach. Normally, however, I need some quiet when I write. Once upon a time, I wrote with kids in the house and I didn't seem to have a problem writing among the chaos. Looking back, I don't know how I did it because I'm a peace-and-quiet kinda gal. I must have a calm mind in order for the story to flow through it.



Laundry days are usually good writing days for me. I know it's strange but if I write while doing the laundry, I'm up and down from my chair at fairly regular intervals. Seems to give me just the small break I might need and I do some of my best internal brainstorming while folding the clothes. Maybe it's the mindless, repetitive physical movement that clears my mind but if I'm stumped on where to go in the scene, the path to usually opens to me when doing something very boring. Does that make sense?



What are the writing rituals that seem to work best for you?

23 comments:

Julia Rachel Barrett said...

Folding clothes sounds good. Some people have told me knitting. I can't write unless I've been outdoors for at least an hour - because I find it impossible to sit still. Even if I've been hiking, I'm still fidgety. I don't know...other than hiking, I have no real rituals - other than I do need background noise and it can't be music. If it's music, I actually listen to it! If it's mindless television, I concentrate against the noise.

Laurann Dohner said...

I drink iced coffee and listen to loud headphones when I write. I have 3 kids still at home ages 5, 7 and 11 so I've found music helps me tune their playing noises out when they are home (Mr. Laurann keeps them off me since my office is set up in a corner of my living room I've totally taken over). I've grown so used to it that I listen to loud music even while they are are school now because music helps me set moods. Having a defined work space helps me too. I bought this massive L-shape desk so it kind of encloses my work space so while I'm in the living room... it's divided now.

Anne Rainey said...

I usually like the t.v. going in the background. And I'm like you with the laundry. It works for me too!!

Regina Carlysle said...

Oh, votes for laundry! I thought maybe I was the only one who found it clears the mind!

I loooove sitting in my backyard. Sometimes if I'm stumped on a scene, just sitting there quietly will help me work out the problem.

Regina Carlysle said...

I hear ya on the coffee, Laurann. I have a pot going 24/7. Sometimes I'll drink it iced. Love that. I can't do music though. I LISTEN to the words and lose my train of thought.

Regina Carlysle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tess MacKall said...

I like to listen to country-western music while I write. There's something about it that settles my mind. I'm also big on having iced tea with lemon to sip on.

And ever since you bought that pumpkin spice candle, I've been using them too. The girls bought me a couple of vanilla-scented ones. So right now I'm sniffing vanilla. lol But I'm going to get the pumpkin one. Like you, I'm ready for fall.

I hate doing laundry. Period. Can't see that helping me to write. Helping me to shoot someone would be another thing, though. lol

Melissa Bradley said...

I have to have white noise in the background or music. But my music has to be rock, hard rock or heavy metal. Aerosmith will usually get me going, they're my ultimate all time favorite band.

Lyla Sinclair www.lylasinclair.com said...

I guess mine's kind of unusual, I find that staring into the computer screen often sucks the story right out of my brain. So, I think of an errand I have to do and mull over my story on the way. When I get there, I sit in the parking lot and scribble into my notebook until the ideas stop flowing, then I go into the store.

Several of the very romantic journal entries in Captain's Price were written in an Ace Hardware parking lot.

Amber Skyze said...

I sit in a quiet house before everyone wakes up with my coffee. Once the house starts to wake my writing goes out the window. :)

Anonymous said...

Interesting post. I always like to hear how writers do their job.

The comments are interesting too, will be back to read more!!!!

Valerie
in Germany

Regina Carlysle said...

Ahhh, shooting someone. Now that would get the juices pumping. SNICKER. Although you are right about letting out that agression! Sometimes I WILL put on pulse pounding music if I am doing an 'anger' scene or action.

Yeah, I highly recommend the pumpkin spice. Just smells so calming! Homey. I like that.

Natalie Dae said...

I'm with you on the laundry thing. I also get it when looking out my back window at the trees in the garden.

I prefer to write in peace and quiet these days, but I can still write with noise. TV in the background, family members talking etc. Unless it's too loud! (GRR!)

I'm not sure if I have a ritual, but usually I write a couple of pages then get up, clean a little, have a cigarette, go back and write. This repeats all day, so eventually the house gets cleaned plus I get word count down.

Madison Scott said...

I really don't have any rituals. It's hard for me because my kids are young so I pretty much just take my time where I can get it and force myself through. Instead of music, I'm usally writing to Dora the Explorer or Backyardigans. LOL.

Natalie Dae said...

Oh, the bloody Backyardigans! It wasn't so long ago they featured in my life. I have the song in my head now haha.

Dita Parker said...

Interesting post and interesting comments! And I might just be your writing twin.

I think mundane tasks are perfect for plotting, music is a great inspiration but a huge distraction, and the candles...okay, haven't tried candles. Writing non-identical twin then?

Working out in between marathon writing sessions is another must.

Madison Scott said...

"We've got the whole wide world in our year to explore! LOL

Madison Scott said...

Should be yard not year.

Fran Lee said...

Writing rituals? Hmmm....

Well, I sit down at the keyboard and stare numbly at the monitor for about ten minutes. Then I get up and get some ice tea. Sit down and stare numbly at the monitor. Repeat. If the muse finally gets off her damn fanny and starts prompting me, I start writing, and can't stop until I fall over.

C. Zampa said...

Good question, Regina!

I suppose my only writing ritual is to listen to music. And the music depends on the WIP. Right now, I'm listening to Hispanic music. And often I listen to classical.

Oh, the pumpkin spice candle sounds wonderful!

Enjoyed the blog. Made me think now if I don't need a more of a writing ritual to get me motivated and to STAY that way.

Natalie Dae said...

Hahahahah Madison.

Nanny said...

I get my best ideas while doing dishes, although I hate dishes. I write best with a big cup of coffee or tea and music. The music depends on what I write... western genre country, vampire some thing dark, I like to listen to Madonna when I write erotica.

Anny Cook said...

:-( My comment disappeared. Oh, well. No ritual. Just sit down and write. If nothing is coming to me on the wip I'm working on, I just switch to another one. I usually have three going at one time in one stage or another.