Ladders, Black Cats & Odd Socks

Photo:”Charm” by Stacy Reed

It’s the 13th. Maybe not a Friday 13th (you need a Sunday 1st to have one of those) but a 13th nonetheless. Which brings us to ladders, black cats and odd socks…and what these three items have in common.

Each of them has a superstition attached to them.

According to a post on Nathan Bradford’s blog, we writers are, apparently, a superstitious bunch. I don’t mean the kind of people who won’t walk under a ladder, who freak out at the sight of a black cat, toss salt over their shoulder or avoid the number 13 like the plague. But we do, apparently, have little superstitious quirks about the how and when we write.

I say ‘apparently’ because I can’t seem to think of a single one for me. I’m not saying I don’t have a superstitious quirk, it’s just not as obvious to me as it might be to someone else.

When writing…

I don’t have a special mug.

I don’t have to drink a particular beverage.

I don’t wear odd socks.

I don’t have lucky shirts, pants, shoes, ribbons, scarves, ties or jewellery.

I can write in bed, on the lounge, at a desk, at the library, on a train, on a tram, in a park and at someone else’s house. (Writing in the car makes me sick though, so I don’t tend to write there. That’s not a superstitious quirk, that’s self-preservation.)

I can write by sunlight and lamplight.

I can write on weekends, weekdays and public holidays. (And this includes Friday the 13th.)

I can write morning, noon and night.

I can write with background noise (not overly loud, but that’s due to distraction, not a quirk) and with silence.

I can type directly into a computer and write longhand.

When I write longhand I use what ever pen is working…not a special one.

I do have one computer I like to keep all my stories on though. Nope, still don’t think that’s a superstition. It’s convenience.

But this is me. What about you?

What superstitious quirk or quirks do you have when it comes to writing? Or are you like me, and don’t have anything you can think of? Do you have any when it comes to reading instead?

6 thoughts on “Ladders, Black Cats & Odd Socks

  1. That’s an interesting question. I’m incredibly superstitious but not necessarily with writing. I put my shoes on right before left because I’m convinced I will have a bad day if I start with the left. I don’t like to write with a pen. I hate my handwriting and it takes too long. Although I used to be able to write as fast as someone could dictate. Now typing is faster for me and I can almost type as quickly as someone dictates. I like to think I can write anywhere but I prefer my regular computer to any laptops. The keyboards are different and the cursor moves too much with laptops, in my opinion. It’s a bit of a joke in my family that I love typing so much I actually rub off the letters. We’ve had to replace the keyboard several times because of me!

    • Wow, that’s almost a blog post in itself.
      You made me laugh though. I have a friend whose keyboard must look like yours. Hers is missing some letters with others ‘replaced’ by adding stickers to the keys and handwriting the letters. It’s a must to be able to touch type with her keyboard.
      I’ve never heard of the superstition about the shoes before; but then I’m sure that for every action there is an equal and opposite superstition.

  2. I have only one major writing quirk: I need to have non-vocal music (or music that is sung in a language I don’t understand) playing while I write so that other people’s words don’t interrupt or leave a mark on the sentences I am trying to compose.

    This is not as petty as it sounds. I work in the theatre and we almost always do musicals. After less than a week on a new musical the lyrics and catchy tunes dominate my subconscious and I find myself singing them in my head all day long unless I play other music that drowns them out.

    In the last four months I have worked nightly on productions of Annie, Footloose and Sweeney Todd. I love my night job, but a constant, inane stream of someone else’s lyrics can seriously dampen a writer’s daytime creativity!

    And I’m not going to mention here my other quirks like always matching the colour of the pegs to the colour of the laundry I am hanging up…

    • 🙂 I would like to hear more on the peg matching, but it doesn’t seem to have much to do with writings superstitions (unless you colour match your post-it-notes to the story too). I’m not sure if listening to non-lyrical music is a superstition but it sure is a quirk that I find myself sharing upon occasions.
      As for working nightly on musicals…colour me jealous. That’s awesome. And yes, I can see how the tunes get stuck in your head and you find yourself humming them insistently.

  3. The only superstitution I can think about at the moment is an odd resistance again self-editing, even if I am sometimes good at editing/shortening texts that others have written.

    I don´t write enough to start with, and then I feel that which is written is almost written on a rock, when it is only on paper or in a word-file.

    That is probably why I like poetry so much, I can test and change poetry inside my head, before I write it, then it looks like I write a poem with a point in only five minutes, even though the bast sentence has been in my head during many months.

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