Up Your Game with the Write Fashions from THE WINGED PEN

closed Mac laptop with fingerless purple mittens and sparkly jewelry
Essentials for the productive writer: laptop, warm hands, and bling. Sweatpants not shown.

Can the right clothes inspire writers?

In a word, yes. My Winged Pen fellow, Michelle Leonard, pointed me to this article about how clothes affect our performance. Get your red sneakers now before there’s a run on them!

So what do productive writers wear?

Lucky socks? Writer’s baseball cap? NaNoWrimo Winner t-shirt?

I once had a beloved writing sweater with a monk-like cowl with pom-pom and deep pockets to keep those typing hands warm.

I asked the other Pen fellows about their writing soft-wear. Here’s what they said:

Photo on 3-19-15 at 1.23 PM #2 (1)

Kristi Wientge: “My clothes don’t matter (although I can’t be in PJ’s), but I do NOT write productively without eye makeup. It’s true.”

 

IMG_2142 - Version 2

Halli Gomez: “I do have a baseball cap that says Writer on it but I don’t wear it to write. I wear it run to keep the sun off my face. I can write in pajamas, jeans, shorts in the summer. Anything.”

 

img_5993-e1262576912668

Jessica Vitalis: “Anything as long as I’m warm. That usually means I’m writing in a fleece hat. In the winter, I add a down robe to the mix. It’s quite a look.”

 

2014-5 NESCBWI cropped

Rebecca Smith-Allen: “Slouchy jeans that my husband is always telling me to replace (um…but the point is that they’re slouchy), a comfy, old t-shirt, and slippers that are on when I’m cold, then off when I’m hot. Then I’ve forgotten where I left them when I need them again because I’m cold.”

Photo credit: Gail WernerJulie Artz: “I almost always write in wild socks. I have knee high fuzzy IMG_2762purple/hot pink striped slipper socks for when it’s cold, a pair complaining about the rain that Matt got me when we decided to move to the Pacific Northwest, and a variety of rainbow colored stripes, polka dots, and argyle socks. I also usually wear a kitten for a lap-warmer.“

Photo credit: Gail Werne

IMG_2370

Michelle Leonard: “What I’m wearing isn’t nearly as important as holding a bag of warmed cherry pits, even in the summer. I get so cold when I write! I have to warm them in the microwave every 30 minutes or so. Getting up to do that is exercise, right?”

 

Kate photo Spring 2014

Kate Manning: “I’m usually in a soft, warm sweater and, of course, my fox slippers.”IMG_2763

 

 

 

GKB

Gabrielle K. Byrne: “Slouchy for the win. Sweats and a robe or long sweater. Oh – I have two rings I don sometimes as inspiration. One’s a giant fossil and the other is a dark blue droozy that sparkles like the night sky. There’s definitely a kind-of “I’m fancy” illusion that’s going on between the bathrobe and the jewelry.”

 

PWmandypic2

Jennifer Brister Park: “I always wear workout clothes so I can remind myself at some point I have to get up and exercise.”

 

IMG_3550

Hilary Harwell: “I wear workout clothes too, and I’d like to think I do so for the same reasons as Jennifer Brister Park, but it’s mostly because they’re comfortable and stretchy. My hair is usually up in some wild knot and my clothes are rarely matching. I like to think of it as the crazed writer look.”

 

HoltzyAuthorMug

Mark Holtzen: “Fleece early morning. When I venture to coffee shop I up my game. Trying to be more professional and treat it like the work that it is. I guess I’m maturing? (Nah.)”

 

 

So now you know how to up your writing game–with these fashion tips from THE WINGED PEN! Do you have an inspirational writing get-up? Share in the comments below.

IMG_4373HighResHeadshotLDLAUREL DECHER writes stories about all things Italian, vegetable, or musical. Beloved pets of the past include “Stretchy the Leech” and a guinea pig that unexpectedly produced twins. She’s famous for a nonexistent sense of direction, but carries maps because people always ask her for directions. When she’s not lost, she can be found on Twitter and on her blog, This Is An Overseas Post, where she writes about life with her family in Germany. She’s still a Vermonter and an epidemiologist at heart. PSA: Eat more kale! 🙂 Her short fiction for adults, UNFORESEEN TIMES, originally appeared in Windhover.

 

March Writing Prompts

Although I’ve been hard at work on my next manuscript (a middle grade magical realism story), every once in a while I like to free write on a totally different project. It boosts my creativity and helps me come back to the daunting task of drafting with a sense of energy and purpose.

My free writing sometimes starts with something that happened in real life (for example, this week I wrote a flash fiction piece about anxiety after spending a nerve-testing hour in the dentist’s chair!). Sometimes I let an upcoming contest or call for entries determine the topic, genre, or word count of my writing. But when neither of those inspires me, I turn to writing prompts.

One of my favorite recent craft books, and a surprisingly good source of writing prompts, is Donald Maas’s Writing 21st Century Fiction. 

In addition to providing a great overview of the current market, Maas ends several  chapters with a series of questions and exercises that generated a flurry of ideas as I read through them.

Here’s an example. This month, spend a little time listing the common tropes in your genre. Then see if you can take one or two of them and write something that is the opposite of the trope. For example, the “handsome prince saves the princess” gets turned upside down when a feisty princess saves herself, and a useless prince, in one of my favorite picture books, The Paper Bag Princess. Another recent example is the way Sarah Prineas questions whether the “fairy godmother” (a common fairy tale trope) is really the good guy in Ash & Bramble.

If this prompt doesn’t appeal to you for whatever reason, check out some of these other great resources. Remember, the important thing is to keep writing!

Did these prompts inspire you to write something? Tell us about it in the comments below!

 

Photo credit: Gail Werner
Photo credit: Gail Werner

 

JULIE ARTZ blogs at Terminal Verbosity, writes about local Washington history for Gatherings, and contributes regularly to From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle-Grade Authors. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.