I like to write while listening to yoga music. It puts me in the zone. Since I don't understand Sanskrit, the words aren't distracting. The beat, based on breath, is energizing and relaxing at the same time, like a strong cup of tea. And best of all, I've developed a Pavlovian response to it. When I hear the music, I write.
I'm also addicted to taping mantras to my laptop. For Letters From Rapunzel, it was this fortune cookie fortune:
For Operation Yes, it was:
SERVE THE STORY
Lately, in my continuing struggle to revise a YA manuscript, I've gone through a slew of them, and I'm toying with putting up Auden's quote about poetry, which I think perfectly describes the complexity of a YA novel:
"Clear thinking about mixed feelings"
Or perhaps this one, which reminds me not to bother being someone I'm not:
"Cool and I have never met upon the high road of life." -- M.T. Anderson
Do you have a writing mantra?