The Superstition of Productivity
We’ve all heard of celebrities and athletes who adhere to strange rituals prior to a performance or game. For example, one Yahoo article cites the pre-performance rituals of 15 rock stars. The practices range from Lorde’s habit of napping (under the same blanket) to Rhianna’s group huddle/rally/pray to Lady Gaga’s act of dancing “topless backstage with her dancers while chucking glitter everywhere before a show.”
Okay. . .
Well, then there are the pre-game mind games adhered to by athletes in the 2014 World Cup. Their prep includes a fresh haircut before each game, praying, and for one player – being the last one on the field is a must.
Is it about discipline or the inherent off-centeredness of being an artist honing his/her craft? Or both? (Or neither?) Could it be a creative thing?
During my own pre-writing ritual of (ah-hem) surfing my social networks , I came across an article entitled “Five Famous Authors and Their Strange Writing Rituals.” The authors highlighted are James Joyce, Maya Angelou, Truman Capote, Ernest Hemingway and Joan Didion.
You’ll have to read the article to read which one did what, but I’ll say it involves a white coat, hotel rooms, and sleeping next to your work-in-progress. However, I couldn’t help but note that none of them engaged in my habit of peanut M&Ms and Diet Coke before setting to work. Or music. Am I the only who writer who only listens to her specially-compiled storytelling playlist while writing (not while surfing or staring out the window either)? Inhaling chocolate and indulging in Fall Out Boy – could that be why I’m not famous (yet)? Wrong ritual, maybe?
I will say that the little habits I have help me mentally separate play time from work while I’m at the computer. It’s so easy to get lost online – as most of us probably know – that I need defined steps that ready my mind for work. Or maybe it’s all in my mind.
What about you? Any strange habits before you sit down at the keyboard or pick up a notebook to write? I’m thinking fame requires strange sometimes. What are your pre-writing must-do’s for motivation, inspiration and productivity?