Writers are strange creatures... we know this, we are this, we don't mind this---- I actually think writers have the only socially acceptable form of mental disorder. I mean, who else can get away with having multiple personalities and murderous intent.... if the FBI ever researched our browser histories, we'd all be on the watch list (though, who's to say we aren't already).
And, because we are such strange creatures, there are a few traits, er... habits, some of us have picked up along the way. Even famous writers still cling to rituals that run the gamut from the eyebrow-quirking unusual to the absolutely bizarre.
Like Capote, who only wrote while lying down and smoking/drinking. Or, Nabokov, who wrote his novels on small index cards that he kept paper-clipped together. Then there's Cheever who purportedly wrote in his underwear. And, lastly, there's Eliot, who would, occasionally, only respond to "Captain" while sitting with his face tinted green, looking for all intents and purposes, like a cadaver.
I'll admit, I don't have any habits as weird or as eccentric as some of these writers, but, perhaps I should? If hopping around, clucking like a chicken while I churn out prose could get me published, I'd cluck all day, everyday.
No, nothing remotely that strange here.
I'm a midnight writer, having written some of my best pieces at 2 am. I suffer from chronic insomnia (a trait inherited and conditioned) but, over the years, I've come to relish my sleepless nights... at least, if they're productive sleepless nights.
Apparently I need quiet, when I'm working--- no, that isn't quite right--- I need solitude. And, it's more than just closing the door to my cave, er... office. In the wee hours of the night, the world is asleep--- there's no threat of phone calls, no unexpected knocking at the door, the neighbors and husband are silent and out of sight--- the world has shut down and I am ALONE. There's nothing. There's no one. Just me and my strange head-characters. I even step outside sometimes, just to take in a deep breath of solitude and marvel at how beautiful the world can be when it shuts its mouth. This is the time, at least for me, when I invoke my muse--- for Humphrey is photo-sensitive and camera-shy. He doesn't like blinding lights or obnoxious noises, they give him a migraine and make him cranky.
So, spill, what's your deepest, darkest writing ritual/secret? What gets your juices flowing and your muse cooperating?
Whether you prefer writing in longhand with a red pencil or feel compelled to recite Homer's Invocation of the Muses before you begin---whatever your habit---let it be the reason you begin, and so in beginning, let it be the reason you finish. Because, isn't that the whole reason for the writing and the ritual in the first place? The finishing?
"Make the tale live for us
in all its many bearings,