A very popular writer friend of mine, who would kill me if I mentioned her name here, confessed recently that she has a lucky habit. When she sends in a new manuscript to her editor, she includes a dried four-leaf clover somewhere in the packaging. She claims she hasn’t had a book rejected in 10 years because of it. That’s quite a feat!
While I won’t mention my friend’s name (she kills people in her books in excruciatingly painful ways), it made me think about writers and their habits.
Writing is not only a lonely occupation; it’s a very insecure one. I don’t know anyone, from NY Times bestselling authors, to those hovering on the brink of their first advance, who don’t bite their nails waiting to hear back from editors and agents. No one is EVER really sure if they’ll be able to sell their next book.
I have friends who have been published for years, only to have their agents dump them or their editors retire, leaving them to the tender mercies of people who have no idea who they are or what they write. Distributors decide not to go forward with a popular series on whims and once popular authors with major publishers are looking into writing for small presses.
It’s no wonder writers develop superstitions to protect them from these awful things happening. Some of my friends write in only one specific outfit each day (these rage from princess gowns to smoking jackets) while there are those who will only drink out of one lucky cup while they write. Writers have lucky pens (usually those used to sign contracts), insist on writing with red roses on their desks (you know who I’m talking about) or only write between the hours of 3 am and 5 am.
My husband, Jim, and I write together and have had a few lucky habits in our ten years of being published. We have a pair of engraved wine glasses that we use to toast our new contracts. We have a lucky pen we both use to sign them. When we first started writing and submitting, I used to put on bright red lipstick and give each Tyvek envelope a big kiss before it went off on its journey. Crazy? Maybe. But who’s to say it didn’t work?
Right now, we’re working on the third book in the Renaissance Faire Village Mystery series set in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Our new lucky habit is to keep our big black cat off the desk where we write.
While we were writing the last Ren Faire mystery, GHASTLY GLASS, due out this fall, our cat jumped up and knocked over a glass of water on the keyboard, shorting it out. This appeared to cause the email version of the story (months later) to get lost in cyberspace. Then we had editorial problems. All of this can probably be traced to one, unlucky incident.
Some lucky habits just make more sense than others, I suppose.
What are YOUR lucky habits?
Some websites to check out on charms and superstitions:
And our websites: