The Author Incubator

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Do You Write Naked?

Naked woman reading and eating a peachI have noticed around 4 in the afternoon I start losing focus. I’ve got about an hour of writing time and I’m desperate to be productive, but can’t seem to get my head screwed on straight.

Lately, I’ve used this time to break for tea… or chocolate… or well, to be honest, generally both. I start with chocolate and then I have tea, and finally I finish the tea with one more tiny piece of chocolate.

The tea has to be prepared with the milk, sugar, and tea bag in the cup first, before the hot water is added. And the cup I use is a gorgeous Author Incubator mug, of course!

This is how I Focus My Author Mojo. Step 4 in my DIFFERENCE process for writing a book that matters is to Focus Your Author Mojo. In this step we figure out what schedules and rituals make your inner author more likely to want to come for a visit.

When you are writing from your inner author, it’s like the book is writing itself. When everything flows you get more usable words per page and the process of writing is more joyful. My goal with my clients is to set up the conditions that are ripe for your inner author to come out and play and knowing your author mojo is a great shortcut to getting into the flow.

Here are a few of my favorite Author Mojo rituals from favorite authors of mine:

  • As well as chain-smoking and using ungodly numbers of index cards, my imaginary boyfriend, the man behind The West Wing and The Social Network, Aaron Sorkin, has a habit of acting out his zippy dialogue while gazing at his own reflection. There is no amount of money I wouldn’t pay to watch this live.
  • Favorite of many Difference Press clients, the author of The War of Art, Steven Pressfield uses an ancient ritual of reciting Homer’s invocation of the Muse before he types a word. Shakespeare, Milton, and Chaucer invoked the muses too. I don’t do this myself but I kinda WISH I did.
  • Do you hear the people sing? Victor Hugo, author of Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame had a pretty interesting way to focus his author mojo. He forbade himself from wearing clothes until he got his page count in for the day. He’d even have a servant hide all his clothes keeping him stuck inside and naked until he finished the day’s work. Personally I’d go with tea and chocolate but dude, whatever works!

Remember there is no right or wrong way – but having your own systems and rituals and acknowledging them will make your inner author more likely to want to come out and play.

What are your writing rituals? Put them in the comments below

They don’t need to be weird – just think about the habits you have that make you feel most ready to write.

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