Today on The Tattooed Book Geek I am pleased to welcome Christopher Husberg, author of the recently released Fear the Stars, the fourth and penultimate book in his Chaos Queen Quintet series to my blog for a fascinating guest post on how writing rituals make him more productive.
Fear the Stars (Chaos Queen #4).
- Paperback: 544 pages
- Publisher: Titan Books (UK) (4 Jun. 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1783299215
- ISBN-13: 978-1783299218
- Amazon UK
IN THE PITILESS VOID, EVEN THE STARS ARE NOT WHAT THEY SEEM
Many forces converge on the great city of Triah, bent on its destruction. By sea, Empress Cova of Roden sails with her armada, determined to bring the rival nation under her yoke. From land, Winter, the Chaos Queen, brings her tiellan army, set on revenge. And their advance brings a yet more terrible army still: awoken by the Chaos Queen’s powers, daemons mass on the border between worlds, waiting for a way in.
Caught between the encroaching foes, a small group holds the key to saving the Sfaera from destruction: Knot, the former assassin; Cinzia, the exiled priestess; and Astrid, the vampire-child. But the only way to do so is to step into the Void beyond worlds – from which no one can return unchanged.
Guest Post: How Writing with Rituals Makes Me More Productive.
Is your writing process getting you down? Do you find it difficult to concentrate? Does writer’s block haunt your every unwritten word?
Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. But I’ve found a quick and easy solution – rituals!
Writing with rituals is easy, and fun! You just need a few essential things to start, including but not limited to chalk (preferably bone-white but frankly any color of sidewalk-chalk will do), various ominously-named vegetation (baneswort, deathleaf, and herbs of that ilk), a goblet of blood (don’t believe what you hear–the source never matters), and a decent handle on Ancient Sumerian. Of course, you may run the risk of summoning a minor demon or three, but what does that matter in the face of a slightly above average writing career?
Alright, sorry about that, but I couldn’t help it. Hate to break it to you, but if you’re looking for rituals involving any of the above, you’ve come to the wrong place. And honestly if you’re looking for that kind of help in your writing career, it probably won’t get you very far – believe me, I… may or may not have tried. (Also, let’s be honest, you might have bigger problems than writer’s block.)
I’m going to talk about rituals, but not the demonic chalk-circle kind. My rituals have more to do with repetition, consistency, and creating a little bubble of space and time that makes it as easy as possible for me to get my proverbial butt in chair and hands on keyboard, and write some words on a daily basis.
This is where I might give you a lot of context into how my writing career started and how inefficient a writer I was when I first began writing full time, and how it was so much easier to go on a walk or play a video game or wash the dishes or do literally anything other than transfer thoughts into words on a page, and how that inefficiency eventually reached a critical mass and I realized I needed to make some major changes where my writing habits were concerned. But I’ll spare you most of those details and get straight to the meat of what I’m talking about.
First of all, I believe it’s important that I’m able to write anywhere, anytime. If I’m waiting at an airport, I should be able to get a few pages out. If I’m at a coffee shop or a restaurant to get some work done, it shouldn’t bother me that I might not be able to do any of my normal “rituals” to get into the right headspace. My writing rituals aren’t meant to limit my capacity to write, but rather to enhance my ability to write in my most typical times and spaces. In my experience, consistency, mood, and positive thinking particularly help this along.
Let me run you through the rituals I go through on a typical writing day:
- I try to get up around the same time every day – this is usually around 5-5:30 AM, these days. Remember, I’m going for consistency, and consistency of time really helps.
- I’m fortunate enough to have an office in which I write at home – and that’s where I indeed do most of my writing at home – so I’m getting consistency of space as well.
- After getting dressed, washing my face, and generally waking up a bit, I do some self-care things first. This usually includes, but is not limited to, reading something I find uplifting, writing in a personal gratitude journal, and some form of meditation. Consistently starting my day with positivity really helps my productivity. I’m not going to go into studies or scientific findings of any kind, but I’ll just say that for me there’s a strong correlation between positivity and productivity, and these activities really help me get into that frame of mind.
- Finally, I need to set the mood. I’m already deep into the demonic summoning bit, so I won’t go into a pre-coitus mood-setting bit, but the astute (and ever so slightly crass) reader will probably pick up on some of the parallels. So, for me, setting the mood includes lighting a candle, exiting out of all programs on my computer except for my writing and music programs, and getting my writing playlist going. This sort of ritualization helps inform my brain that yes, indeed, it’s time to get to work, so let go of all the other stuff you want to do or think about and let’s get into it. Seriously, it helps!
Those are some things that work for me. What might your rituals be? Don’t look at me, I have no idea. Maybe you go running before you sit down to write. Maybe you need to take a shower, do your hair, and put on some sensible but stylish business attire to get yourself in the mood. Perhaps you find it helpful to do a round of stretching or push-ups or something else altogether in between writing sprints, who knows? The point is that I think it’s possible for you to find some things you can do that help settle your mind into an optimal frame for writing, minimizing distractions and conditioning yourself to get some work done.
Remember, it’s about creating a consistent space and time that facilitate as easily as possible the process of sitting down (or standing up, for that matter, you do you) and getting words onto the page. We’re trying to do our writing brain a favor, here, and at least in my experience I’ve found it’s very possible – and the returns can be pretty incredible.
What are you waiting for? Give it a try! (Just, you know, watch out for those demons.)
The Chaos Queen Quintet (so far).
- Duskfall (2016).
- Dark Immolation (2017).
- Blood Requiem (2018).
- Fear the Stars (2019).
About Christopher Husberg.
Christopher Husberg was born in Alaska and studied at Brigham Young University, where he went on to teach creative writing. His debut novel, Duskfall, was published in 2016, and was described as “Perfect for fans of Daniel Abraham and Brandon Sanderson” by Library Journal. Husberg has also written Dark Immolation andBlood Requiem, both part of the epic Chaos Queen series. He lives with his wife in Lehi, Utah.
Find Christopher Husberg: