Special Friday the 13th Question: Superstitions

Being as it’s Friday the 13th, I thought it would be fun to ask the ladies of Pub(lishing) Crawl what superstitions (if any) they had–in writing or in life!

Rachel Seigel

My biggest superstition is the “knock on wood” expression. I probably over-use it to be honest, but some part of me thinks if I don’t say it I’ll jinx myself! I also don’t know if you can call it a supersition exactly, but if I’m out at night I always look for a star and wish for the thing I most want to have happen. I suppose it’s superstitious because I sort of think that if I don’t wish on the star it’s not going to happen.

Joanna Volpe

When I really want something to happen, I will NOT talk about it actually happening.  Under no circumstances will I say exactly what I wish for out loud. I know if I do, I’ve cursed myself!

Erin Bowman

When it comes to writing superstitions, I have to name new characters the moment they walk onto the page. I simply can’t move forward otherwise.

Sarah J. Maas

I’m actually pretty nutso about the number 13 (which has become a superstition only in the past 2-ish years for some reason). If I’m writing/revising/reading and stop on Chapter 13, then I’ll write/revise/read at least 2 more chapters (since stopping on Chapter 14 just means I’ll have written/revised/read 13 full chapters). If the volume on my car stereo is listed at 13, I’ll turn it up or down a notch, etc, etc..

Though in terms of writing-specific superstitions…Well, it’s not a superstition, exactly, but when I’m revising, I ALWAYS make a handwritten list of all the major and minor issues that I need to address in the manuscript. And then I have to check them off and cross them out one by one as I address/fix them. Somehow, the act of writing these things down helps me visualize what needs to be done way more than typing it on the computer.

Kat Zhang

I can’t think of any writing-related superstitions I have. Overall, I’m not a super superstitious person, I think? I’ve a terror of talking about good news until I’m sure about it, though. I always feel like I’m going to jinx it!

Marie Lu

My biggest writing superstition is that before I write a single word of a new story, I need to have drawn at least one sketch related to that story—usually I draw out my main characters before I start writing about them. Otherwise I feel like I can’t talk about them properly. Go fig.

Mandy Hubbard

My agent superstition is to not tweet about requested fulls I am loving. I use to do that all the time and I swear they always fall apart as soon as I do that!

Leigh Bardugo

I’m waaay superstitious. I have no problem with black cats or walking under ladders, but I knock wood, I throw salt over my shoulder, and…

Okay, prepare for weirdness.

I have a big problem with the number 4 and I’ve been that way since I was a kid. I try to never do anything in 4s. I never stop reading on the 4th or 14th or 24th page of a book. Book 2 was at 22 chapters for a while and it irked me to no end because 2 + 2 = 4.

Probably doesn’t qualify as a writing superstition, but there you have it.

Biljana Likic

13 as an evil number doesn’t exist in the Balkans. What does exist, however, is the ever-murdering promaja, or draft. Seriously, any time there’s a window open in my house my mom tells me to put on slippers and a sweater so the draft doesn’t off me. Doesn’t matter that I can’t feel it. It’s there. It’s a silent killer. And it can cause both my kidneys to fall off and my ovaries to freeze so I can’t bear children. And whenever I get a headache, or feel ill, or I’m low energy, the first answer my mom gives me is, “The draft killed you. You should’ve listened.”

Let me tell you, though, ever since I’ve stopped listening, I’ve been getting sick more…So mine’s not really a writing superstition either, but still silly enough that there are times I can’t concentrate when the window’s open because I’m imagining my imminent doom.

Amie Kaufman

The number 13 has been very good to me so far (my awesome day job was on the 13th floor for years), but I didn’t know about four… I will be keeping an eye on that guy. My superstition is that if I’m sitting down for a big writing session, I have to play that story’s song before I get started–every story of mine has a song that fits its mood and gets me into the right headspace. I have to get my tea, get comfy, and listen to the song while doing nothing else, then jump straight into writing.

Julie Eshbaugh

I don’t really have a writing superstition, but I do have a good luck charm! If my dog is with me while I’m writing, he always brings good writing vibes! (Not so true of my cat, who tends to sit on the keyboard when I’m trying to type.)

Susan Dennard

I don’t have any superstitions. I have a lucky shirt and lucky necklace…and I’m definitely particular about everything on my desk being just so when I start drafting…but actual superstitions? No, I’m too boring for it. 🙁 (But ever get me started on my OCD need for things to be “even”–shoe lace tightness, number of steps climbed with each leg, number of turns taken left/right, and the list goes on…)

Jodi Meadows

Jodi Meadows: Mine took a long time to write because there are so many steps. My apologies. . . .

  1. I must walk clockwise around my chair before sitting in it.
  2. All the windows on my screen must be organized neatly.
  3. All extra applications must be closed.
  4. I have to reorganize all the pencils on my desk.
  5. Then the pens.
  6. I have to knit thirteen stitches of a fingerless mitt.
  7. I have to spin around counter-clockwise in my chair.
  8. I have to stand on my chair and shout, “FOR THE HONOR OF GRAYSKULL!”
  9. Sometimes heavenly light shines down on me. Sometimes it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, then I don’t write that day.

Just kidding! All of these are lies. Except the ones that aren’t.

S. Jae-Jones (JJ)

I’m not particularly superstitious (possibly because I’ve been blessed with ridiculous strokes of luck), but when it comes to writing, I absolutely cannot move forward until I have a perfect first line. Otherwise, I let life happen!

You tell us: What are YOUR superstitions—writing or otherwise?


6 Responses to Special Friday the 13th Question: Superstitions

  1. Amie Apr 13 2012 at 7:54 am #

    I love all of these, but Billy, you still have me giggling — never tell a writer with an active imagination that something could kill her… you’re way too well equipped to imagine your own doom!

  2. jodimeadows Apr 13 2012 at 10:19 am #


    Oh man, I love ALL OF THESE.

  3. Anna Apr 13 2012 at 3:15 pm #

    13 is my lucky number too! I’m not too superstitious, but I am really edgy about the mirror one. If the mirror in my bathroom falls over (which it does a lot because the window is always open) I check it twice to make sure its okay. Plus, it’s two mirrors in one, so that’s 14 years bad luck!

  4. Carla Cullen Apr 13 2012 at 10:39 pm #

    Leigh, I feel your pain! Because I have the exact same weird obsession – except with the number 3. Hate it! I won’t stop reading a book at Chapter 3 or on any page that adds up to 3 (21, 20, 12o, etc). And I hate ‘3’ days – like March 3, June 3 – and excpect the worst on those days. However, I love the number 4!

  5. Kelsey Apr 14 2012 at 12:47 am #

    Hi Leigh! Your superstition is not exactly unfounded. The letter four has the same homonym as ‘death/die’ in Chinese so a lot of people in China are quite superstitious. For example, some buildings actually end up skipping out on the ‘fourth’ floor– so when you look at the panel of buttons on the elevator, you don’t see numbers like 4, 14, 24 and 34.

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