Having trouble with inspiration? Feel in a bit of a slump? Maybe it's what you're wearing that's giving you grief. Kali Anthony talks about dressing for success.
Revelations can have simple beginnings. That simple beginning for me, was a sparkling devil's horn headband, replete with feathers. The kids had found it somewhere in the house, and were in hysterics when I put it on. Feeling in a silly mood, and for their entertainment, I kept it on for the day.
I’d been in a bit of a writing rut at the time. The creative stars weren’t aligning for me. Sometimes it doesn’t take much to throw out the routine, particularly when family stuff goes a bit haywire. However, when I sat down to write with the devil horns on, something changed. I felt freer, and a little bit more daring, keen to take a few risks with the manuscript. I can’t say what I wrote was great, but it was fun, and more’s the point, easy.
This led me to experimenting with what I did when I wrote. A cat’s ear headband when I was in a rut? Sure, that shook things up a bit (you see, there was a reason for the change in my profile pic for this piece!) The family got used to their eccentric wife/mother, sitting at the computer typing away in a
weird assortment of headgear. They thought I was hilarious. I thought I was onto something.
There’s a lot to be said for preparing yourself to write. Some authors talk about setting up their writing desk the same way every day. Others light candles, wear certain items of clothing, listen to particular music, or gather their writing food (chocolate, anyone?). All this is said to create routine and prime the brain for work on being creative (if you want some great tips on this, check out The Organised Writer on Facebook or Instagram)
I don’t have much of a routine in that regard. I might play a song that I link to my story but donning funky devil's horns or cat’s ears when feeling frivolous got me thinking about what I wore when I sat down to write.
When working in my professional job, I wear a suit to work. It’s all very formal. When writing in the early morning before work, I tend to sit there in my highly attractive *cough* dressing gown and pj’s. On my Fridays when I’m not at work and attempting to write all day, I’m much the same. Okay, I might put on clothes rather than sit around in my pj’s all day, but my look is more “wreck of the Hesperus” than “corporate”.
I began doing a bit of research about how clothes might affect productivity. When working full time, many of the firms I worked for had casual dress Friday. Anecdotal statements from management suggested there was higher morale but less productivity, on Fridays.
The evidence surrounding this is mixed. It appears to depend on your job and their general expectations are surrounding what you wear to work every day. Some studies suggest that casual dress does diminish productivity, with a correlation between the more casually dressed you are meaning the less productive you become (although you’re a lot happier at work whilst you're not doing much. Yay!)
With this in mind I thought I'd try changing how I dressed on a Friday. I got up, and put on my professional clothes. Tamed my hair, tackled some makeup (it was a struggle I tell you, a STRUGGLE). Then I sat down to write. You know what? It worked. I felt motivated. Dressing up in my work clothes, keeping the same routine as a work day, made my writing more productive. Since then I’ve noticed that if I write whilst dressed for my professional job, the writing itself feels more like a professional job I have to do, rather than something which is my choice. My backside stays in the seat.
Now, I don’t do this every Friday. Most of the time I can write just fine in my pyjamas. But on the days my motivation is low I slap on some heels, slip on a suit, slick on some lippie and tap away at the keyboard. Weird as that may sound, it works for me. Maybe it’ll work for you too!
Kali is a writer of happy endings and failed domestic goddess. She will work for coffee, wine and chocolate! For more info follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
Have you tried mixing things up when you write? Does what you wear affect your mood. Let us know in the comments, or use the hashtag #DressforSuccess on our social media to join the discussion. We'd love to hear from you!