Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Stella's Morning

This is a tough one for me. I honestly don't see myself having habits for writing. I just get up, do my bathroom duties, which you really don't want to hear about, dress, get coffee and head for the computer. Yawn! Five or six days a week, this pretty much covers my routine. More yawn!

So, I'm going to create a character who has a specific ritual she needs to follow in order for her to write. Let's see how this goes.

Placing her coffee cup in the sink, Stella Dark gauged the distance from the rim of the cup to the top left corner of the sink, the well-polished sink. She nudged the cup an inch higher and nodded.

She ran fingers through her hair, tugging out a knot then smoothing the wild mass of curls down. Her blouse, neatly tucked into her threadbare jeans, hugged her generous curves and wondered how quickly she could get to work. The manuscript was due in less than a week.

Checking the kitchen, she nodded then headed for the den, stopping only to twirl twice at each of the doorways she went through and skirting the rose patterned rug in the living room. It wouldn't pay to trod on that, she thought remembering her last short story and how it had bombed after she'd walked on the corner of the luxurious plush.

"Not going to do THAT again, for sure," she mumbled carefully sidestepping the dark brown fringe. When she got to the doorway to the den, she stopped and took a deep breath. Placing her toes on the threshold, he inhaled, then leaped into the room, as far from the entrance as possible, landing a good five feet in and again stopped, not daring to take a step.

She closed her eyes and recited her litany, "Today will be a good day of writing. I will allow nothing to interrupt me, nothing will tear my attention from my work. I will get at least two thousand words written."

This was the same thing she said every morning since she'd started this book. So far, it had worked and she was nearly finished it.

She checked her desk, saw the neat stack of papers on the top right corner. The printer on the left . The keyboard carefully centered, it's edge an inch (measured the previous day at quitting time) from the edge of the well-polished of the desk.

On her left foot, she hopped the six feet to the chair and sat down a little harder than she'd planned. She crossed her legs, but quickly uncrossed them and switched, re-crossing them the other way.

Stella leaned down and pushed the button, turning on her computer. She counted, slowly, hoping the count would be right. If not, she'd have to go back into the kitchen and re-do her entry. She'd once repeated it four times before the count had come out right. A waste of time and energy, but necessary.

"Thirty-two, thirty-three, thirty-four, thirty-five," she whispered then smiled, saying a silent thank-you to whoever might be listening. Her screen blinked to life, her hands went to the keyboard.

Before she opened up the folder on her desktop, she glanced at the tiny green stuffed frog sitting on her tower. His lopsided smile always gave her encouragement. The larger stuffed bulldog didn't seem quite so friendly, but his attitude gave her strength.

"Okay, guys. Are we ready?" she asked the duo, a note of excitement in her voice. She loved the first seconds of creation, even if it was chapter 25 of some monstrous book she'd nearly completed. The initial few words of a morning always seemed the best. If only I didn't have such a horrendous pre-writing crap to perform.

Stella clicked her tongue and counted to ten, then typed, 'zyxwvutsrqp...' all the way to 'a'.

Done with her ritual, she opened the folder and found the ms, clicking on it quickly. When it opened, she scanned to the end page and read the last few sentences from the previous day's work.

"Ah, yes," she murmured and sat forward in her chair. Her fingers flew across the board, words flashed onto the page and images of the story flowed freely in her thoughts. She blinked only when her eyes burned, she mouthed words and smiled. Unwilling to slow down or stop, knowing their would be rituals for that too, she continued typing for the next two hours, non-stop.

Phew, and that's how Stella works. I'm very glad I'm not her, but you know, I'd do it all if I had to, I'm sure. Writing is that important.

What about you? Got a special pen you use, a toy that has to sit in a particular place?Anything that you need to do in order to get those juices flowing?


  1. Hi Jude,

    Great post. But, I have to ask, is there a point where Stella passionately curses the person who thought up this week's theme? :-)



  2. Don't let Jude fool you. I was there this summer, and that's exactly what she does every morning before she starts to write. It's pretty funny watching her make the hop into the office, especially when she has to do it over again four times!


    Great stuff, Jude. Okay, I was joking, folks.

    She only hopped three times.

    *Ducking and running*


    ~ Jenna

  3. Yes, I'd probably go through all of that just to write if that was the only way I could do it, LOL! So glad all it takes is a cup of coffee;-)

  4. Ash,

    I have a feeling our poor Stella is doing that under her breath for most of the morning. LOL I really did struggle with this one, but Stella seems to be right at home with the topic.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.


  5. Jenna,

    You are such a dork! LOL My first thought after reading your reply was, 'and the entire house shook'

    Jeeze! Give all my secrets away why don't you?


    Thanks for commenting GF


  6. Jeremy,

    Ah, but the question is, do you identify? LOL Thanks so much for commenting!


  7. Hi Paris,

    I'm the same, give me a cup of coffee to get my motor running and I'm good for the day. LOL Thanks so much for stopping by.


  8. How about these ones?

    I write longhand, with pen and ink (gel ink MUCH preferred). Unless I'm out of gel ink pens, I don't use anything else for fiction writing. I don't like black ink. I use it only when there's nothing else left in the house. You'll see me use blue, purple, green...but not black. I try to only use red for edits. Red or orange is only used when I have nothing else with me.

    I used to use Composition notebooks, but I don't use them now, unless I'm out of spiral bound. I found spiral allowed me to tear out pages and put scenes in order in binders much easier than numbering them in a Composition notebook.

    I write two lines to a college-ruled line and do corrections and additions in the margins, top, bottom, and BETWEEN the original lines. Yes, I write small.


  9. Brenna,

    Yup, your nuts!

    Hey, I knew this long ago, but kept it under my hat. *G*

    A very talented woman with a few foibles. It's a good thing.

    Thanks so much for sharing your idiosyncrasies with us here at the Grip.


  10. Jude,

    Whatever it takes to get a story done! Loved this. I've known some very superstitious writers, and it's always a hoot to think of the things they go through to get those words on the page. But hey, if it works? Do it ;)

  11. Hi Helen,

    I'm with you. I don't know how far I'd go to keep writing, but I honestly can't imagine saying, nope that's it, had enough, I'm outa here. The hopping was a tad nuts, but what the hell. LOL

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.


  12. I have to watch tv on my computer while I type or a movie. I also have to have at least one cup of tea and be talking to my husband while he's at work on googletalk. I need to multitask to get things done, even if I have to fake multitasking.

  13. Elise,

    Wow, you're my exact opposite in so many ways. I can work when there's noise, but I prefer quiet. Very interesting!

    Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.


  14. Good God, I'd go bonkers with that type of routine. Funny though.

    Absolutely no routine for me. I just get up at 4:00/4:30 a.m., get the tea going, shower, etc., head for the Acer and read over what I'd written previously. From there I do a little editing and go on ... hoping against hope that I'm feeling creative that the words flow. Then at 6:30, I get the little darlin' ready for school and I head for the day job. Ick.

  15. Liz,

    This is no way my routine. Cripes, I'd spend all day hopping around and spitting into the wind. LOL Thanks so much for stopping in and sharing a little about you.


  16. Hey Jude! (sure you don't play Beatles records when you write?)

    Surely some of it must be true.

    I don't have any rituals, though I've heard of writer's who do, like Stella. I must have coffee though. Or jasmine tea. I drank gallons of jasmine tea when I wrote Color of the Moon ten years ago, so I always associate jasmine tea with exotic ghost stories.

    And I agree - when its going right the first 25 seconds are great. Its the rest that's tough.


  17. Hey Garce,

    You know, when that song came out, I was at a point in my life where I simply wanted to be invisible. I remember walking down the hall and having people follow me singing it. I hated it with a passion. Yet, I loved the song. It should have been someone elses name. *G*

    Uh, no, I don't sing it while I work. LOL I like it quiet.

    I find that if I can sink into the story, I can write for hours. It's just a matter of getting into that mindset. But, I also know I'm extremely lucky.

    Thanks for commenting!


  18. Love this delightfully obsessive posting. Makes me feel normal.
    For me it's more of an inner smoothing down of wrinkles, I often feel like a dog that has to go about in circles, chasing its own tail a few times before settling down into that position to sleep. I have to calm my mind down to a centered stillness, quiet that frenzy, and it can involve walking or frenetically writing out lots of garbage before focusing into the midst of my story.
    Or doing the dishes or some sort of manual housework.
    Once I;m there, I usually stay there awhile. Which is why I crave uninterrupted quiet time.


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