By David E. Sharp
Writers are a creative group. And with creativity comes idiosyncrasy.
Admit it! You have weird habits!
Do you consume copious amounts of coffee like Honoré de Balzac? Or, are you more in line with Faulkner and Hemingway; maybe you consume something stronger?
|Don't question the process.|
This is where the magic happens.
Do you color code? Dickens and Carroll both wrote in colored ink, Alexander Dumas used color-coded paper, and James Joyce wrote with crayons on cardboard. It's true.
Why do writers have such strange behaviors?
Maybe these weird quirks are brain hacks. Tricks to unlock all that hidden creativity. Or maybe it's the paper fumes. I do love the smell of fresh paper. Either way, there's something amok with our brain chemistry.
Something that creates a tendency to odd habits, but also somehow contributes to remarkable creativity. Could you still produce a manuscript without your "lucky fedora"? Maybe. But what's the point of that?
|Quiz: Can you locate the writer in this picture?|
Answer: Of course not! Abstract shapes are incapable of thought!
Perhaps you haven't figured out your quirks yet.
Don't worry, there's still time! There are all kinds of weird things you can try to spur on inspiration.
Some writers need animals nearby (a cat for Edgar Allen Poe and poultry for Flannery O'Connor), some write standing up (Virginia Woolf), some write lying down (James Joyce again). And some eat apples in the bathtub like Agatha Christie.
Not for you? Fear not! There are plenty of possible oddities that could qualify you to join the ranks of the eclectic. Dan Brown hangs upside down, and Victor Hugo used to deny himself clothes.
Do you feel guilty for indulging your weird habits when you think you should be typing?
Own the fact that you still speak to your childhood imaginary friend in silly accents and laugh at each other's jokes. (...Maybe keep that last one to yourself, actually.)
|Oh, yeah! This is going|
to be my opus!
Mine is motion.
The ideas don't come when I'm sedentary. But I can't take my desk on a walk through the park. I've tried. It took a while to get the squirrels back out. So, I plan to take walks before I write, and I always move my feet when I type.
I fidget with things on my desk, and I frequently wander away from the screen mid-sentence to collect my thoughts. It drives people crazy to watch, but what can I do?
It gets the ink on the page.
What works for you?