Thursday, October 21, 2010

Writing Mantras

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:


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?


  1. Oh, do I love that second one, but Tobin is wrong, wrong, wrong. He is cool personified.

    And also way too cute.

  2. Mine is also a fortune cookie:

    Ideas without action will never be bigger than the brain cells they occupy.

  3. Oh, wow, Jennie---LOVE that!

    Tanita, I agree that Tobin is the epitome of cool---witness his exquisite parody of the state song of Delaware--- but it all depends who's making the cool rules. I guess I see this mantra as: Be true. Not cool.

  4. I love "clear thinking about mixed feelings." I don't have a mantra, but I believe that might be going up above my desk. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I heard Judith Viorst speak once and I have her advice about inspiration and the wind in your sails posted above my desk:

    "When there's no wind, row."


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