Thursday, March 10, 2005

The author is IN

Every morning when I enter my office (and it is daylight; it isn't always) I head to the window that looks out on my back garden. I give the pleated shade a tug (curtains would interfere with my view, when I'm seated at my desk, of the trees and sky), check out whoever's splashing in the birdbath, smile up at the sky (if it's blue) and then down at my African violet (if it has survived another day -- I'm not good with houseplants because I forget to water them). Then I walk over to my desk and sit down.

This morning as I took my seat I wished I had a little wooden sign like Charlie Brown's friend Lucy had. I'd put it on my office door. Every morning I'd flip it over, then close my door and go to work:
The author is IN.

Ever watch a major league ballplayer step up to the plate? Each performs his little ritual: one might roll his shoulders and adjust his helmet while another might stamp his feet, wiggle his backside, spit, and then wiggle his backside again. They'll do this every time they come to bat. Rituals have always been big in baseball, so most players are aware, at least on some level, of what they're doing.

It's time to hit. I'm hitting now. Big hit. I'm ready.

I believe writers are big on rituals, too. Not necessarily because they're superstitious, as many baseball players appear to be, but simply because they're creative people and when they sit down to write, they must access that special part of their brains where the story comes from.

It's time to write. I'm writing now. Here I go.

Do you turn the radio on when you're ready to write, or do you switch it off? Must you have a tall cup of coffee on your desk before you can sit down to do serious work? Maybe you've never even thought about it before. But this morning I'm wondering: What do all of you do to help yourselves slip into "writing mode"?


Katie Hart said...

Hmmm, turning on the computer's a big one for me. :)

I sometimes play familiar music while I write, but sometimes even that's too distracting. If I'm feeling a little antzy, I'll play a game of freecell or something before I start (have to be careful, though that games don't eat too much of my writing time. When I'm planning to do some serious writing, I take off my ring and watch.

Heather Diane Tipton said...

First thing, put on headphones and blast the music. =)

I'm the opposite of Katie, normally I'm not wearing my watch or rings when on the computer but if I really get into it I put them on. I even have this thumb ring that I never wear anywhere else but when I'm really typing seriously. I never thought about that thumb ring as something I do when I get serious!