Wednesday, April 09, 2014

My Lucky Writing Sweater

I've been a happy camper this week. For the first time in months I've got four whole days at home in Portland before heading back to Los Angeles to work my "day job." I also have four days to complete my latest round of revisions for the second book in the Honeychurch Hall mystery series. Did I also mention that I have to write a gazillion blogs for a Virtual Blog tour that's coming up in May, too? So you could say I'm a tad busy.

This means that I am a bit of a slattern. Laundry doesn't get done, my husband has to cook or we have to order-in ... and I wear the same sweatpants and green sweater—I would call it a jumper but Americans will get confused—every day. It's cashmere with a hood and I've had it ever since I started writing "properly." It's full of moth holes and there are a few dubious stains on the front but for some reason, it inspires me to write.  I call it my lucky writing jumper.

I have also created 'incentives' to help me stay on track. These include plenty of unhealthy snacks like chocolate bars, drinking endless cups of coffee and eating carefully rationed Jelly beans (35 per portion). I set an alarm to go off every forty-five minutes that gives me permission to stop for a treat— the addictive but trashy Daily Mail Online (10 minutes), Facebook (10 minutes) walking to the river and back (10 minutes - we're close to the Willamette) and watching a five-minute clip of Dudley Moore from the movie "TEN" to make me laugh. Since I write facing the window this last treat has caused a few raised eyebrows from my neighbors across the path. I suppose I must look a bit odd laughing manically to myself. "Oh look, it's that weird woman in green who dashes down to the river and back."

I started looking at the habits of other writers. Truman Capote supposedly wrote supine, holding a glass of sherry in one hand and a pencil in the other. John Cheever wrote in his underwear; Agatha Christie sat in her bath-tub eating apples when she was devising her plots.

Victor Hugo's situation was slightly different however. It was said that since he was always late delivering his manuscripts, he no longer wanted to incur the 1,000 francs fine (thank heavens we don't have THAT anymore!) So Victor Hugo decided to put himself under house arrest, lock up his clothes and wear only a long, gray shawl. The reason being that if he couldn't get dressed, he couldn't go out—and that's how he met his deadline.

At the time of writing this, I have no plans to switch my green writing sweater to a gray shawl because that really would get the neighbors talking.

7 comments:

A.M. Guynes/Annikka Woods said...

My writing outfit, no matter the season, is a tank top and jeans. Sometimes I'll put on a sweatshirt and socks if I get too cold, but I can't wear t-shirts and write. Part of the problem is t-shirts make me feel like I'm being choked. But part of it is I'm most comfortable in tank tops and jeans. And being comfortable is the best way to get me to produce words that are moderately coherent.

Donis Casey said...

Perhaps this is part of my problem. I don't really have any tricks or special clothes. The main thing that gets me writing is sheer animal terror that I won't get it done. As a matter of fact, cold sweat breaks out as I realize that I have a blog entry due tomorrow.

Hannah Dennison said...

Yes - I definitely have to wear something comfortable. Truthfully, my sweatpants actually double up as ... pajamas... there's a confession.

Donis ... you are hilarious ... you must try chocolate - it counteracts the cold sweat.

Charlotte Hinger said...

Ha. I'm the deviant. I have to be in "good" jeans and a nice top and full makeup and my socks have to match. Matching socks are really important. It makes me feel more competent.

Ah, but the house. It's goes completely to hell.

Hannah Dennison said...

Charlotte ... I am impressed. If you are at Malice this year ... I need some tips.

Eileen Goudge said...

I have a simple rule: no slippers. I can wear the same jeans and sweatshirt day after day when on deadline, but I draw the line at what I think of as bedroom attire. It's a "slippery" slope from there to pajamas.

Hannah Dennison said...

Ha ha!! Yes Eileen ... I totally agree! Especially the furry kind.