Friday the 13th and other (writing) superstitions

It’s Friday the 13th!

You know what’s funny? I don’t consider myself a particularly superstitious person, but Friday the 13th still holds a mysterious symbolism for me. I don’t necessarily equate it with anything evil or dangerous, personally, and the number 13 doesn’t strike me as particularly lucky or unlucky. (Indeed, I find it funny that people stopped labeling the 13th floors of buildings as such, skipping from 12 to 14 as a result.) But given the way other people latch onto this date, I do find a little caution is typically a good thing.

Maybe I’m just reinforcing my own beliefs, but after I met up with my awesome Accountability Group today and was heading home, I drove smack into a DUI/ID check set up by the cops! (They didn’t ask to see my ID nor pull me over, so I’m not entirely clear on how this was either a DUI or ID checkpoint… it seemed more like a “force everybody to squish into one lane on a three-lane road” maneuver instead.)

Anyway, I guess my point is that given the fact that it’s clearly not just me that is superstitious about Friday the 13th (the cops occasionally set up such random checkpoints, usually on holidays like New Year’s Eve and St. Patrick’s Day, when they believe DUIs happen more frequently – does Friday the 13th count?), I find it interesting to see how other people occasionally dictate their behavior based on superstitious and other irrational biases.

Here are a few that make me laugh:

  1. Sports teams full of dudes that won’t change their socks – or trim their beards – when they’re on a winning streak
  2. The “curse” of the Chicago Cubs
  3. Broken mirrors = 7 years bad luck
  4. Black cats = bad luck (I love black cats! One of my kitties, Ned, is black. We affectionately call him our Halloween Cat, or our “tiny panther.”)
  5. The curse of the opal (ironically, my birthstone is the opal!)
  6. NASCAR drivers believe green cars are unlucky
  7. Itchy palms: right palm = you’ll lose money, left palm = money is coming your way
Ned, aka Nedward Carlos Nedwards, aka Halloween Cat, aka Tiny Panther
Ned, aka Nedward Carlos Nedwards, aka Halloween Cat, aka Tiny Panther

I find it interesting that people take these bizarre rituals so seriously. Until I stop and think about some of my own “superstitions” when it comes to writing.

My writing superstitions

For instance, I have several writing t-shirts that I like to wear when attempting big challenges like the 3 Day Novel Contest. However, I also find that if I wear these same shirts during day-to-day life, I will often NOT get any writing done that day. It’s almost as if I’ve jinxed myself.

Equally so, I am quite insistent that there be no music playing (or other background noise) when I write. If particularly lost, I will turn to a playlist of lyric-free instrumental music I’ve created, but I much prefer to write in utter silence. I’m not entirely sure where this one comes from, but I attribute it to one of two things: 1) I used to write some terrible navel-gazing crap in my youth, whilst listening to a variety of angsty pop-rock, and 2) I transcribe reality TV as my day job, which involves strapping on headphones and writing down everything a bunch of other people say, so the last thing I want to do when writing my own stuff is strap on headphones and listen to music… that I might end up transcribing!

Finally, I have a variety of writing rituals, including brainstorming with pen on paper, that I feel simply help me write or organize my ideas better. In fact, I’ve written an entire post where I reveal all the secrets of my writing process!

And you?

What kinds of writing superstitions or rituals do you have?

Additional Reading

[author_list style=”heart”]



One Comment

  • NameSandra Yeaman

    No writing superstitions for me, at least not yet.

    Did you know that the Italians consider 17 unlucky, not 13? I discovered this at a resort on the west coast of Madagascar where room numbers jumped from 116 to 118, 216 to 218, etc. Same craziness, just a different prompt.