Friday Fun – Are You a Superstitious Writer?

Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.

QUESTION: Do you have a “lucky pen?” Or, maybe your talisman is a particular mug for your coffee or a ratty old sweater that you leave draped over the back of the chair at your writing desk. Perhaps you don’t have a writing desk, but you do have a writing superstition about revealing details about your latest project to anyone before you’ve finished. Do you have a secret ritual that you go through when you send a submission? Whatever routines or charms you use to ward off irrational fears, it’s time to fess up. Inquiring minds want to know.

headshot_jw_thumbnailJamie Wallace: I hate to admit it, but I definitely have some personal superstitions. I don’t really have a lucky pen, but I am pretty sure that writing gets easier when I have a nice, hot cup of tea at hand. This gets muddled in the summertime, of course, when hot tea is suddenly not such a treat, but more of form of cruel and unusual torture. I think this is why my productivity takes a dive in the summertime. (*cough* – cop out – *cough*) ANYway … I also must end each of my “morning pages” journals on a happy note. Each time I come to the last pages in one of these notebooks, I make sure to come up with something upbeat and optimistic to wrap things up.

Diane MacKinnon, MD, Master Certified Life CoachDiane MacKinnon: I don’t have too many superstitions. I see “signs” all the time, but I always assume they are for me, not against me. If I say, “I’m going to go write,” and I immediately spy the hummingbird at my kitchen window, I assume the hummingbird is telling me it’s a good decision. I feel affirmed and I go write. If I don’t write and I say to myself, “I’m so bummed I didn’t write today,” and I see the hummingbird, I assume the hummingbird’s message is, “It’s okay, you’ll write tomorrow.” It may be a naive world view, but it works for me!

LisaJJackson_2014Lisa J. Jackson: My only ritual before submitting anything (to a client or to a market for consideration) is to close the document/email and ignore it for at least an hour. I do other things, then come back to that document/email, open it and read it with fresh eyes, and then hit the Send button. I never fail to find something that needs fixing before hitting the Send button. 🙂

Similar to Jamie with the morning pages – I hadn’t thought about it, but I do make sure that my last line is something positive and upbeat such as “looking forward to the new thing I learn today”.

M. Shafer, Photo

M. Shafer, Photo

Deborah Lee Luskin: No superstitions, just a need to write. Any place, all the time.


15 thoughts on “Friday Fun – Are You a Superstitious Writer?

  1. Neat idea for a post! I can be superstitious sometimes, though strangely enough not as a writer. I have my preferences though – I like to write either with my feet up on my couch, with my laptop on a cushion on my lap, because I’m opulent 🙂 or with my writer’s group on Sunday mornings (while sipping delicious tea). 🙂

  2. I agree, a cup of tea is always my writing essential, either that or writing is an excuse to have a cup of tea!

  3. I never really thought about it I have a blue pen that I put pink tape around (so that the fellows in my house wouldn’t take it), my journal, and my butterfly coffee mug. Now I am moving towards blogging and I find that my pen and butterfly coffee mug full of my favorite hot beverage is sitting right beside my computer.

  4. I do posses a feeling of need to write. As I most often say that I would like to read in light and write in dark. With this revolutionary time when we do have mobiles, I feel comfortable to write via my cell phone. before this I used to write via laptop. Still, on some occasions I would prefer laptop. Facebook is a writing platform for me. I just turn the privacy option to only me and whenever I want I can access all my writing by pposting there and would go through the rounds of editing. There must be a recreation after creation.

  5. I dont have any rituals for writing. Although I love writing in coffee shops and around people. I like peace and quiet as well.
    This isnt anything to do with the question you have asked us, but my life is so simple these days. Little things make me happy, like buying a block of printing and copy paper. 500 sheets!!! Woohoooo….i feel as if christmas has come. I am a happy little bunny ow, I had nearly run out of paper..😳 barbara

  6. No I don’t think I am motivated by superstition. Certainly in more recent times I simply must write something every day. This may not be very productive but even a brief journal note is a necessity. As a child I had a favourite pencil and the firm belief that as long as I used it I would give correct answers in exams and write a great essay. One day I lost it! From that time onward I simply wrote with whatever I could find. Not really sure whether the results were better or worse.

  7. I have this weird problem with not wanting to spread a story across multiple writing spaces. What I mean is I have many small journals that I have dedicated to one story, mostly so there are no distractions about it. (A waste of journals most the time…) The bigger problem with this superstition is that I sometimes don’t write when the inspiration comes to me because I don’t have my specific journal.
    Luckily as I’m practicing my craft I’m more comfortable jotting down my words in my phone and then writing them in the journal later. 🙂

  8. I write drafts of novels in longhand in spiral notebooks (you can sometimes get them for 25 cents during “back-to-school” sales). They have to be college-ruled, or “a page” is too short. The superstitious part is that once I assign a particular notebook to a particular novels, I just hate it when I end up using any part of that notebook for something else. Yesterday I tore out and threw away some writing that wasn’t connected to the novel in progress. Purge!

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