Jaye Wells

Magical Thinking

Writers can be a superstitious bunch. This form of magical thinking is a coping mechanism in a business fraught with pitfalls, disappointments and lots of time left to our own devices.

I tend to look for synchronicity everywhere in the writing process–from researching settings to character names to plot elements. My thinking is that if I look hard enough, some mystical force will lead me to the right decisions for my books. Perhaps I should trust my own instincts a bit more, but I kind of like the idea that some benevolent, creative energy is in my corner when I’m writing.

I also listen to “Under the Milky Way” by The Church every time I sit down to write. While it’s a great song, I have no clue why it’s my personal writing theme song. I guess it’s similar to baseball players wearing the same pair of socks to every game. Listening to that song helps me believe I’ll have a good writing day. Plus, it also acts as a trigger to my brain–there’s the song, time to write!

What rituals, superstitions or forms of magical thinking do you use when you’re writing?

23 Thoughts on “Magical Thinking

  1. Bernita on January 28, 2008 at 5:13 am said:

    My main superstition is that if I talk about, or even hint at, something hoped, expected or slated to happen – it won’t.

  2. strugglingwriter on January 28, 2008 at 7:11 am said:

    I’ll have to check out that song. I haven’t heard of that group.

    I don’t think I have an writing superstitions. My challenge is to get my butt in the chair to write. So difficult for me.

    Oh, I also loathe reading anything I have written (that’s already been submitted) because I always find something wrong I wish I could’ve fixed.

  3. Jaye Wells on January 28, 2008 at 7:18 am said:

    Bernita, I struggle with the jinx too.

    Struggling, they’re an Australian band who was best-known in the ’80s. Oh and yeah reading something after you’ve submitted it is difficult. Not sure that ever goes away.

  4. I have none, zero, nada, zip, nothing. I just write. =/

    P.S. I love your new picture!

  5. Jaye Wells on January 28, 2008 at 7:22 am said:

    Beth, come now. You’re not fooling anyone. Thanks for the pic compliment. My agent forced me to send him a shot for some announcements so I figured I’d unmask myself here as well.

  6. I’m not sure, but I’m not here to talk about superstitions. I’m here to say congat-f’in-lations! Holy mother of God! That is so incredible!!!!

    I never use more than one exclamation point. I would say amazing, but it’s not. You deserve it.

  7. I need a spell checker…

  8. Jaye Wells on January 28, 2008 at 8:15 am said:

    Scott, thanks! I’ve been using a lot more exclamations points lately myself.

  9. Sarah Hina on January 28, 2008 at 9:25 am said:

    I am physically incapable of talking about a novel until it’s (nearly) over. I very much feel like I’m in a cocoon of secrecy for many months. I think I fear that if I start talking about it, the magic will disappear.

    Oh, and I also sacrifice a goat before every writing session. Those writing gods love dem goats…


  10. Jaye Wells on January 28, 2008 at 9:38 am said:

    Sarah, do you get your goats at Al’s Discount Sacrifices too?

  11. i’m with bernita. i don’t like to talk about things i hope for too much, making a possibility an impossibility.

    i believe in fate of the cosmos, or sheer luck smiling on ya. it’s happened quite a lot through my life, maybe even in the writing life? can’t say yet for sure, it’s been a short journey still.

  12. Jaye Wells on January 28, 2008 at 10:24 am said:

    Cyn, fate is a lot easier to see in hindsight. That’s the rub isn’t it?

  13. Mignon on January 28, 2008 at 1:23 pm said:

    I’ve got a couple songs, and they’re embarrassingly melancholy and girly. I will not admit what they are. I also have to be able to see people talking and walking and going about their business when I’m writing first drafts. People being people is my inspiration.

    Oh and apparently I make a fierce demon frown when I’m writing. According to my son, who started to cry when he saw me revising this weekend. He apologized and asked why I was so angry.

  14. Jaye Wells on January 28, 2008 at 3:26 pm said:

    Mignon, I love writing in public. The quieter it is the harder it is for me to concentrate. That’s hilarious your son apologized. Mama had her frown of death on again.

  15. The Quoibler on January 28, 2008 at 3:29 pm said:

    I can’t think of any magical thinking I do, but sometimes when I need a kick in the pants, I throw on Depeche Mode’s CD “Violator”. Awesome stuff.


    (Hey, cool word verification — BMXWO… kinda like I said in a Valley Girl accent: “BMX… Whoooooaaaa!”

  16. Jaye Wells on January 28, 2008 at 3:42 pm said:

    Angelique, the Violator album was the only tape I had in high school when I went on my first trip abroad. It still takes me back to that time.

  17. The Quoibler on January 28, 2008 at 3:52 pm said:

    Awesome — what’s your fave song from the album? Mine is “Sweetest Perfection”, though I love “Personal Jesus”, too.

    I think they were able to tap into that teenage angst quite nicely. I guess some of it is still bottled up inside us, waiting to show up whenever certain songs are played.


  18. Sarah Hina on January 28, 2008 at 8:04 pm said:

    I’m not telling, Jaye. It’s all about the secrecy.


  19. Jaye Wells on January 28, 2008 at 8:08 pm said:

    Quoibler–Halo and Waiting for the Night.

    Sarah, you tease!

  20. robin m on January 29, 2008 at 11:57 am said:

    Don’t have any superstitions to add, but I haven’t checked in in a while and wanted to say CONGRATS, JAYE! Only a matter of time, but very exciting nonetheless. Love the new picture. Super fab. Now back to nursing sick children and my sick self. The winter virus extravaganza is upon us…

  21. Jaye Wells on January 29, 2008 at 11:58 am said:

    Thanks, Robin. We’ve been fighting the winter funk around here too. Hope you all get better soon.

  22. robin m on January 29, 2008 at 12:06 pm said:

    Thanks, Jaye. Same to you. And let me say again, I am sooo excited for you. I cannot wait to read your books!! (and also to brag that I knew you way back when…)

  23. Jaye Wells on January 29, 2008 at 12:08 pm said:

    Robin, I’ll definitely have to his Raleigh for a book signing/girls’ night out.

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