If you spend your life writing, you know that much of your time is spent staring at the page or screen trying to think of what to write next.
Maybe you know what to write next, you just can’t land on the right words. Maybe you found the right words, but self-doubt has crept in and you want to start over.
This may be why writers have so many quirks, odd habits and superstitions. Dr. Seuss wore a hat when he felt stuck. Isabel Allende begins writing all her books on January 8. Charles Dickens always slept facing north, as he believed it made him more creative.
Since it’s fun sometimes to embrace eccentricity, I’ve taken the superstitions of famous writers and combined them with popular “old wives’ tales” from my childhood. The result is a creation I like to call “old writers’ tales.” See what you think of these.
- Only end a chapter on a sunny day.
- Cracking your knuckles will give you writer’s block.
- Eating carrots will improve your spelling.
- Great pitch ideas come in threes.
- Ideas will flow more freely if you write facing south.
- Do not begin or end a writing project on a Monday.
- Writing fake news will give you warts, acne, ingrown toenails and worms.
- CEO quotes should only be written in dim light.
- Don’t proofread while your hair is wet. You’ll miss something.
- Only title your piece once it’s finished.
- If you roll your eyes too many times, they’ll get stuck that way.
- Throw a pinch of salt over your shoulder every time you introduce a new character.
- Don’t swim immediately after writing. You’ll get cramps and drown.
- Annual report content is best written after an odd number of drinks.
- Unkind words written in haste will take seven years to digest.
- Using the word “utilize” makes the hair on your back grow in thicker and longer.
- Every time you use an apostrophe to make something plural, a puppy dies.
- Rubbing your hands together—exactly like a soap opera villain—will help you think of exactly the right word.
- Content written while wearing pajamas needs less editing.
What do you think, Ragan/PR Daily readers? Do you have any superstitions to the list?
A writer and editor from Austin, Texas, Laura Hale Brockway is also a regular contributor to PR Daily. Read more of her work at impertinentremarks.com.