I admit it, I was a Sex in the City junkie. Although I never watched the show while it was on the air, I did start watching it when it went into syndication. Again and again. One of my favorite episodes is when Carrie laments about losing her SSB – secret single behavior- because she was now living with her boyfriend. SSB is the stuff you love to do when you’re alone. Whether it’s jacking up the sound system and playing air guitar with Clapton, chowing down on some Hagan Daas, or chatting on Facebook in your undies, SSB is a guilty pleasure. And I think that most of us can identify with the concept, male or female.
I won’t divulge my SSB but I wondered if SSB also extended to other things, like writing for instance. Do you have any secret writing behavior (SWB)? I know I do and it includes things like:
- Cursing all the way through a writing project I hate. Let’s face it, not all your projects are going to be fun or interesting. Many of your projects will be tedious and for clients who are difficult to please. For me, giving in to my angry cussing side makes it easier to get through the pain. I pound on the keyboard and let the cursing rip like I’m a parrot on Thunderbird.
- Talking to my characters. Now this may not be too weird to another writer but when your room mate is in the next room and hears you scolding, cajoling or encouraging people who only exist in your head it’s not easy to explain.
- Acting out the scenes. Yep, that’s right. If I am trying to write a scene where the character is doing something a little weird, I literally put myself in that situation and see what it’s like. For example, a current story I’m writing involves a character who is blind, so I practiced walking up and down the hallway with my eyes closed. Another thing I wouldn’t want my room mate to see or have to give an explanation for.
- Writing naked. Sometimes you just have to let it all hang out to get those writing juices flowing, right? Okay seriously, am I the only one?
- Getting into character. If I am writing a character who has an accent, affliction or some other unusual characteristic, I become them. Whether it’s a southern drawl, a Midwestern twang or a bow legged stance – if I have to don a cowboy hat and do the two step to get it right, I’m game.
Now I don’t know if any of my SWB really makes me a better writer or enables me to write more effectively but I do know it’s a lot of fun and not stuff I like to do when others around. And maybe that’s why writers like to be alone when they write. They may say that it’s because they need the quiet to focus and concentrate but I’m willing to bet it’s because there is some secret writer behavior going on too.
How about you, what is your secret writer behavior? Has any non-writer caught you in the act? Tell me about it in the comments.