Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Do Clothes Make the Writer?

Today’s workshop is really just a discussion of comfort. I got to thinking about this the other day when I changed my clothes to sit down at my computer and finish the final edits on Under His Spell.

It was the fact that I changed out of my jeans and sweater and into sweatpants and a sweatshirt that made me realize, I wear a sort of uniform when I write. Always loose, always comfortable, always not-dressy. Often I start the day still in my nightgown, write several hundred or a thousand words, then take a break and have a shower, make my toilette, eat breakfast, then come back—in sweats—for another go-round.

It’s not that I can’t write in jeans, or a skirt, or all dressed up in stockings and heels. It’s that I write better when dressed like a slob. I have a day job that I dress up for (skirt and top with flats, usually). And I have a writing job I dress down for (the aforementioned sweats).

When I make public appearances as a writer, I used to have an outfit I wore all the time. Black pants and a Mandarin silk top that was actually quite elegant. Then I put on a few pounds (sigh!) and the top didn’t fit quite as nicely, so I stopped wearing it. But every book signing, every TV appearance, that’s what I wore. I called it my “author look”. Like an actor’s costume, it helped give me a frame of reference, a state of mind for the appearance.

Lately, however, I haven’t appeared in public much. Partly because there aren’t many bookstores left in which to do booksignings and partly because I’ve been home, in my comfy clothes, writing books instead.

So my question is this—and I really am trying to get a discussion going here for all you writers. Do the clothes you wear when you write make a difference in a) what you write or b) how well you write? When you appear in public, is there a particular persona you want to project?

Please use the comments below and make your thoughts known!


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