Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Ideas Void…?

March 5, 2013

I am sure all creative people have experienced today’s desk diary word – Vacuous – definition: empty of or lacking ideas or intelligence. I must clarify not the lack of intelligence bit but certainly the ideas bit…

It always interests me how other writers are inspired or have strange habits which assist them – there are commonalities of course – dreams, overheard conversations, a photograph or a life experience. Other slightly stranger inspirations are:


The ancient Greek writer shaved half his head. Ensuring that by looking so idiotic, he would stay home and work, instead of facing ridicule in public.

Henrik Ibsen

The A Doll’s House playwright hung a huge oil painting of his greatest rival on his study wall.  Inspiring him to strive to better his enemies.

Franz Kafka – Too Much Cake

Kafka allowed himself to eat a whole pineapple upside down cake when he finished a story. He did not share any of it!

Mary Shelley – Pet Snake

Shelley’s pet 23-foot-long boa constrictor was housed in her writing studio. With the snake wrapped around her shoulders she would write until the snake became restless and began to squeeze, then she stopped writing for the day.

I cannot lay claim to anything this weird, mores the pity. Maybe I can cultivate something? Are you willing to share your ‘strange’ habit?



  1. Not sure what I might incorporate – NO I won’t shave half my head, too many events going on! WHAT? Chocolate is a treat? I thought it was a staple food group!! NO snakes… For me when the blank page eventually makes me ill enough I have to ink some ranting drivel which then forces me to write something a little more “brilliant.” 🙂


  2. Ha ha ha, I love those!

    I might have to adopt Kafka’s treat 😉



  3. I have no odd habits (well, at least when it comes to writing), but you may have inspired me to get one. 🙂


  4. Shelley’s snake – fantastic idea. Love it. My trick is to make myself bored. I lock myself away for days to weeks at a time with minimal social contact. Not radical, if anything it’s a bit clichéd, but it works for me. 🙂


  5. don’t know if it counts as a habit since I only did this once, but my husband offered to buy me a cheesecake factory cheesecake if I finished a story that I’d been restarting for two years. I totally worked. (did share though.)

    But the definitive writing habit that keeps me going is bribing myself with chocolate. I have a specific bag of chocolate pieces that I can only eat from after I write at least 500 words.

    Funny to find that I sorta have something in common with Kafka.


  6. I wish I could claim some odd writing habit, because then perhaps I could claim it forces me to write. The only thing I can claim is to keep working even when I’m churning out dreck. At least it’s something!


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