Unleashing Creativity: The Power of Superstitions for Writers
Fellow writers, let's talk about something near and dear to our hearts - superstitions! As creatives, we tend to have a certain level of superstition that fuels our productivity as writers. It's no secret that some of us have lucky pens or chairs, and maybe even lucky socks. It's just how we roll.
Writers are not the only group who utilize superstitions. Athletes, entertainers, the military, and other groups have ritualistic things they do to enhance performance. But there are many superstitions that I have observed and used myself as a writer. So, let's talk about some of my favorites.
One common superstition is "The Muse," which has evolved from its roots in Greek mythology to become a simpler interpretation of "a source of inspiration." Some writers see the muse as a person in their life, while others equate it to a specific place. And then there are those who see it as a spiritual force that visits them with the stories and inspiration they need to write. Some view the muse as a time of day in which their brains are wired up for writing. Often, it's early mornings or most commonly late nights. Whatever your interpretation, it's clear that this belief has driven and guided writers for centuries.
As for me, my muse has always been nature. I can't help but feel inspired when I'm surrounded by the beauty of water, trees, and animals. It's my happy place, and it's where my creativity thrives.
Writers have been using small rituals or habits to focus their writing efforts for as long as anyone can remember. For example, Stephen King writes at the same time every day and listens to music, while Toni Morrison enjoyed writing before her family woke up while drinking a cup of tea or coffee. As for me, I have a music playlist for each of my writing projects, and I carefully curate it to match the vibe of the project. Playing music and sipping on a cup of tea really helps me get into the zone and focus on the task at hand.
Talismans are objects that we hold dear and believe bring us good luck and fortune. It could be a particular pen or keyboard, or even a teacup with peacock feathers on it (like mine!). These items have become intertwined with our writing process and are seen as essential for maximum creativity. When I tell myself, "that cup is for writing," it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. That cup is for writing, therefore I can write well when I am drinking from it.
No better way to trick our imaginative minds into being productive than "the bribe." There are several ways to pressure ourselves into getting writing done, whether it's a word count to achieve or a timer set for 15 minutes. The bribe has successfully rewarded such accomplishments for writers. If I complete this, then I can have/do/enjoy that. I personally fill up a little bowl of small chocolate candies, and with each writing sprint I finish, I get to pop one in my mouth. I may bribe (reward) myself with a trip to the coffee stand for a long day of writing.
So, while some may view our superstitions as unnecessary or even ridiculous, they can serve as a form of inspiration and focus for our minds. In a world with so many distractions, it's important to find solutions that work for us and help us tap into our creative potential. Who knows? Maybe that lucky hat or teacup could be the key to unlocking your next masterpiece!
Want to hear more superstitions? Here is a list of some from other writers.
Writing Community Shares
When my partner and I edit our co-written work, we put out a pot of tea! When I solo write, my only "ritual" is that it has to be quiet, with no one around, and in the dead of night--usually midnight to 4 am. – Demian
Headphones--they mean “Do Not Disturb.” A playlist--not always themed to the writing, but sometimes. Telling everyone around me to “leave me alone, I'm writing, and unless it's an emergency, it can wait.” Tea or coffee for the caffeine to boost. - Nethilia
I have a playlist for almost every project. And I don't know if it counts as a "ritual," but I've recently been embracing the beauty of the self-bribe. – Jellybean
I work in a room with a door I can close and put on music from the book playlist, trying to start at a spot which matches the mood I'm in. I don't reuse music from project to project--though that may change as I work on the second book in a series for the first time. Hearing the music drops me into the mindset of the MC and means it's go time. - Will
I have a system of rewards. If I write well, I get English Breakfast Tea the next day. If I dodge, Facebook, or stall, I get the cheap stuff from the big box which comes as 2 boxes for $5. Now that you reminded me, I get good stuff today, let's hope for tomorrow too. – Toni Kief