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I'm a writer and library worker who wears many hats. I believe a good book and a good piece of chocolate are the keys to a happy life.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Weird Writing Quirks

Ok, I’m in the thick of deadline mania at the moment. Makes you even wonder why I’m blogging, right? Well, here’s the deal I was trying to concentrate on the creative issues at hand and found my mind wandering instead to the other things I have to keep at hand while I’m trying to be creative.

Right now, I’m suffering from a terrible case of hand-to-mouth disease. I just went on a frantic scavenger hunt through my kitchen trying to find something to fulfill the munchy craving that always hits when I’m on deadline or in the middle of a more creative streak. What did I find? Well, if you could see me now (don’t please, I didn’t shower today) you’d see this weird little row of pastel objects lining the top of my laptop keyboard. Yep, I have a row of flavored mini-marshmallows lined up like good little soldiers ready to sacrifice themselves in the name of creativity. The bag of marshmallows sits to the side of me so I can restock my neat little row whenever I need to.

Now, go ahead, ask me if I even like flavored mini-marshmallows. Um, not so much. But hey, they were open, handy, and had less calories than the bag of M&M’s I really wanted to line up on my keyboard. If my husband catches me, I’m going to get some very strange looks and a lot of backlash teasing. But I know you understand.

Here’s a few of my other quirks.

Music- must have, especially if the kids are in school. (Only 6 more days! Yeah!) The faster I have to work, the faster the music needs to be.

Miscellaneous, half-toppling stacks and piles made of anything that happens to wander onto my desk as well as those things I’m currently working with for my project. I can’t stand not having something I “might” need at the tip of my fingers when I’m working. My desk currently has some very precarious piles of papers and books, one marshmallow shooter holding them in place (my son saw the marshmallows out), a stack of headache, sinus and allergy medications, one water bottle, a half-dog-chewed prized McDonald’s toy, the cordless phone, my scriptures (the case is here, too. . . somewhere), a vase of Wal-Mart clearance roses I bought yesterday to give me something to look at besides my piles of papers (I also told myself the manuscript had to be done before the flowers died or I’d have to look at them dead until I did finish), a stack of coupons I never got around to clipping, and a printer that is buried beneath the piles of papers but I can still get to the finished printing job so it’s no big deal.

Just behind the marshmallows on my laptop are a pencil sharpened at both ends and a pen that has been chew halfway down to the writing end. (I promise I didn’t start it, but hey since it was already ruined it’s legal to chew on it in frustration, right?)

When I need to work, really work, I must finally detach myself from every distraction, sort of. I have to take my minicomputer (no internet access) to a very public place. Preferably one where I have to be, but don’t want to be involved in: gymnastics lessons, dentist appointments, family reunions, enrichment meetings (Gasp! Did I really say that?). See, in these types of situations it becomes a matter of life or death that I actually work, looking very productive and busy or I will have to socialize. Socializing is a fate worse than death in my opinion. If I don’t have any have-tos of that nature then the next best bet is a restaurant or public library. Not in one of those quite back cubbies, right up front and center where I have to keep busy in my public performance as a dedicated starving artist. Hey, it works for me

Some days I have to take a nap or a drive to get my subconscious to relax and actually think again.

Some days I can only think straight first thing in the morning.

Other days I can’t think straight until I’ve exercised, read my scriptures, and showered.

Some days I stare at the computer all day and have absolutely no idea if I’ve actually accomplished anything at the end of the day.

Some days I need to be inspired by a good book before my own creative juices flow uninhibited by self doubts.

Some days those same books simply depress me.

I have to schedule times when I have “permission” to check my email or surf for information I need or I will compulsively check my mail every hour minutes and become hopelessly lost following interesting (but not pertinent) research trails.

Notice, nowhere on the list do I actually have to do the housework. But, I will feel guilty about it, letting thoughts of it distract me enough to build a list of things I will definitely take care of tomorrow. Like the dishes that have been sitting there since, um, I think the day before yesterday. Could be longer. I’m a big fan of disposable dinnerware.

There are those famous writers we all hear about that can only write after sharpening so many pencils, or with a certain color of ink, or in a certain place, etc. Huh, does that mean if I’m ever famous someone is going to come along and say, “That’s it! The key to greatness is munching on flavored mini-marshmallows while you write.”

I sincerely hope not.

So, it’s your turn. Tell me some of your weirdest writing moments or rituals and give me one more reason to compulsively check my blog instead of writing my next chapter. My editors will love you for it!

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