Stalking the Wild Muse: Writer Rituals & Habits

MusemedA series exploring the props, habits, and drugs that fuel the writer’s productivity. Past, present and future! Look for BVC writers, plus other authors we know and love.
By Brenda Clough

I am very sorry to report that my writing habits revolve around chocolate.  I am a slave of the dark side.  My muse is fueled by dark chocolate and its close ally, sugar: the core brain foods.  Pictured here is my current rocket fuel of choice: dark chocolate covered marshmallows from Trader Joe’s.  These things are copy in a box. I eat a few and the turbo-charged words pour into my hands like water, scenes, conversation, bitter contentions and florid accusations, murder, mayhem, and plot developments galore. I have been working on the current novel for roughly 25 years; only this year, with the advent of these wonderful candies and aided by technology, have I gotten it by the neck.  I must have written 100,000 words in the past four months.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI cannot think why this thrilling drug is not better known; writers organizations should be selling these things as fundraisers.  I usually buy out the entire shipment when they come into the store, and hoard them, parking the bag beside my writing desk. When they are gone, a poorer substitute is dark-chocolate dipped mint creams, also from Trader Joe’s. These are too sweet and heavy, and if I eat enough of them to get a good sugar rush it tends to upset my stomach.  Indigestion is not inspiring. I also am a fan of Toblerone Dark bars, high-end chocolate truffles, and Thin Mints.

And note that there are two kinds of Muse ritual.  There is ideation, discovering or generating What Happens Next.  And then there is the writing down of the idea.  Chocolate for me is definitely on the writing down side of the process.  It is no good for ideas, which shall get a separate post.





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