By Anna Bell
I’ve always thought that I didn’t have any
writing rituals, that I can write anywhere at anytime – just as long as I had something
to type on. But recently we’ve had a lot of visitors and I’ve been quite conscious
of my sometimes odd behaviour when I’ve been “working” and it made me wonder, am
I a mad writer after all?
Here are my top four quirks:
Number 1: I can’t write with my hair loose.
I love my curly hair, but it can be unruly and frizzy and when I write I have to
tie it up in a tight bun or pony tail. Sometimes I also have to have a head band
on to smooth out the frizz. That awful frizz – plays with my creative mind. If I’m
wearing a hoodie, then the hood’s often up when I’m writing, something that our
guests have been finding perplexing in the 32 degree heat of a French summer. But
there’s something safe and cosy about being snuggled up in that hood that is conducive
for my writing experience.
Number 2: I have to have my big red book
next to me. I’ve got a book where I plan all my my novels out. Recently it’s become
my writing crutch. I make notes in it after I finish a writing session so that I
know where I’m going the next time I sit back down at the laptop. When I’m doing
a test read of my novel I write my general notes and observations. Whereas before
I could go for months without seeing the big red book, now it follows my laptop
around and I seem to go into some sort of melt down when I misplace it – which is
often as I’m fairly messy.
Number 3: Before I start writing I have
to make sure that I have adequate beverages and snacks. Anyone would think that
I’m going on an expedition to the North Pole, and not an hour of so of writing –
especially when I’m usually writing right next door to the kitchen. I think it all
stems from my magical time in the zone. This one time that I wrote straight through
for three and a half hours – even missing dinner. My stomach has never forgiven
me, hence the need for snacks just in case. Most of the time, unless they’re chocolate
based, them and the cold drink aren’t touched. But it’s nice to know they’re there
– just in case I ever find my way back to the zone.
Number 4: I have to have had thinking space
before I write. Whether it’s five minutes or an hour, I can’t just sit at my laptop
without thinking about what I am going to write first. It’s almost like a meditation.
I find that if I sit at the laptop and try and think then all that happens is I
stare at the blank space on my WIP and it fills me with dread. Instead I need to
go off somewhere for a bit of complete silence to allow my mind to think. Even if
I just have a tiny kernel of an idea, that will kick start my writing.
And there was me thinking I was a completely normal, non-neurotic writer.
Do you have any rituals when writing? Is there anything you have to do before the