Writers Are a Superstitious Lot

Writers have rituals, and woe to the person who tries to take them away from us. In my weekly critique group, we get upset if someone sits in a chair other than her usual spot. Likewise, we know Jodi will have some wise word on capitalization. Tamsin will fill us in on horse-sense and Deb and Shirley will prepare a thoughtful word. So will Linda, just before she chops your novel’s structure to shreds. Rituals like these are probably as common as a fly in your soup, but some of us go a lot farther: when it comes to writing, we’re downright superstitious.
How many of these writing superstitions haunt you?
  • If you send out a query and don’t hear back in the 2 month wait period, the moment you request a “status update,” the rejection will land in the inbox.
  • If you tell everyone how good your material is before you pass it around to be critiqued, nine out of ten writers will say it’s awful. Conversely, if you say you suck, your crit partners will take pity on you, say you have a beautiful smile and THEN tell you your stuff sucks.
  • You are dead sure that when you finally start a blog, the reading public will have moved on to some new thing, like pin-the-tail-on-a-donkey or something.
  • Same goes for novel genres: if they tell you that your genre, genre Y, isn’t selling right now, and why don’t you try genre X, the moment you type The End, genre X will suffer the same fate.
  • If you begin to write a book say, on wizards, every agent on earth will tell you it’ll NEVER sell. Then, a year later, you’ll see a suspiciously similar book on the bestseller list.
  • If you manage to get your book sold to an editor who absolutely loves your work, chances are that editor will retire, move to Bora Bora or go to work for that publisher’s biggest competitor.

What are some of your writing superstitions?

About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

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