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  • Danielle Hayden

Ritual

Isabel Allende begins all of her books on January 8, the day that she started writing her first book (which was a huge success).


Anne Lamott does not write on Mondays, and in fact does not believe in the concept.


Before writing, Angie Kim plays gonggi, a Korean game that is similar to jacks.


When facing writer's block, Dr. Seuss used to go into his closet and don a hat.


Erika Swyler starts with a crossword puzzle, then coffee. She alternates between different pens, pencils, and a typewriter depending on what chapter she's on or what character she's writing about.

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These are just a few examples. Ritual, practice, superstitionmany writers have them and some even doubt that they can function as writers without them. I take great interest in hearing about the things that authors do before, during and after they write. And not just authors, but creative people of any kind. Actually, humans of any kindfrom athletes to physicians to investment brokers. The things that happen in the locker room and on the field; the tune that helps the surgeon in the operating room; the trinket on the desk overlooking Wall Street that holds special significance.


I have no rituals; not even a firm practice. Not even a lucky rabbit's foot to kiss before I type. I don't think this makes me boring (though I suppose it could be argued that I'm boring; just not for this particular reason) but it does make me wonder if I might benefit from some anchor in this way; something that tethers me more strongly to this action of writing, and to the repetition of this action. It wouldn't necessarily make me a better writer (though I do want to become a better writer), but perhaps a more committed one. Either way, I won't create for myself a compulsion where none exists. But if one emerges naturally and inevitably, I will not balk at it.

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