I recently read an interview with John Green where he said that when he’s working on a novel and people ask him what it is about, he’ll lie to them. He’ll say zombies, or something else completely different. And then I remembered that many years ago, I read that Gabriel García Márquez did the same thing about his novels in progress.
And it turns out, that I do something similar. I don’t lie to people, I just don’t tell them what the story is about. I only tell a few people, like my wife or a close friend and that’s it. In the past, when I have enthusiastically told many people about my novel in progress, I have never finished it. And even though I’ve never been a superstitious person, I am in this particular topic of writing.
I don’t know what it is. It could be that subconsciously you feel the pressure that too many people are expecting you to deliver a flawless product. Or it could be that once you tell too many people about the story, the magic is lost.
So then, I started thinking about writers and their weird habits and superstitions and here’s a list for you. I got them verbatim from The Odd Habits and Curious Customs of Famous Writers.
–John Steinbeck, who liked to write his drafts in pencil, always kept exactly twelve perfectly sharpened pencils on his desk.
–Truman Capote wouldn’t begin or end a piece of work on a Friday, would change hotel rooms if the room phone number involved the number 13, and never left more than three cigarette butts in his ashtray, tucking the extra ones into his coat pocket.
–Agatha Christie munched on apples in the bathtub while pondering murder plot.
–Alexandre Dumas was also an aesthete: For decades, he penned all of his fiction on a particular shade of blue paper, his poetry on yellow, and his articles on pink
Click on the link above for more interesting anecdotes.
What about you? Do you have any superstitions that are particular to writing or how you write? Share them with me!