Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Writing rituals and other habits

Recently, I was asked what my writing rituals are. My knee-jerk reaction was, "I don't have any!" But now upon reflection, I'm starting to suspect I was wrong.

The trouble is when I think about ritual, I picture consistency and regularity—neither of which describe me very well. Quite the opposite. "Inconsistent" and "doesn't apply herself" pretty much dominated my school report cards ever since I was old enough to get them.

When it comes to writing, my "rituals" are more like "habits" or even "superstitions", and they change even more frequently than the seasons. But for the sake of answering this question, here are the three most somewhat regularly occurring quirks that nudge my writing along...

Photo by Drew Taylor on Unsplash

Making a cup of tea

This tends to happen when I get stuck in the middle of writing a scene. My hypothesis is that my brain craves some freshly oxygenated blood, which forces me onto my feet and away from my desk. Half the time, this means I walk to the fridge, open the door, then shut it again, realising I don't actually want something to eat.

The other half of the time, I put the kettle on and shuffle around the kitchen while waiting for water to boil. By the time I get back to my desk, I have a pretty good idea of what to write down next.

Working on my newsletter

As weird as it sounds, putting my newsletter together somehow manages to help me find focus. I think it's because I'm forced to re-frame my thoughts within a structure and timeframe, and that approach follows me back into my "writing zone".

I don't know too many other people who use one type of work to get another type of work done, but it's a little trick that's always worked for me. The downside, of course, is accidentally winding up overworked if I'm not being careful.

Changing the music

I make individual playlists for each WIP (like this one for my upcoming book, "The Guy From The Internet"), but once in a while, they don't put me in the right frame of mind to work on the story. Sometimes the vocals are too distinct and lyrical, so I can't concentrate on writing my own words. Other times, even when the music fits the scene, it doesn't work with the mood I have to be in to get the story out.

So I keep a stash of chilled out, emotionally calm music on hand. Piano jazz mixes on YouTube feature greatly in this collection.

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Out Now: The Guy from the Internet

A sweet romance with a touch of family drama.

Holly Chee does not have her life together. She's flip-flopped on uni courses and career choices, and somehow scared off her long-term fiancée-to-be, much to the chagrin of her immigrant parents.

But she does have her streaming channel, where she broadcasts her art from her one-bedroom Mount Lawley apartment. And she has that guy from France... assuming he's even who he says he is.

The Guy From The Internet is a sweet #OwnVoices Asian-Australian romance novella, set in the world of Somerville Downs.

Now available on Amazon in digital and paperback.

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