Most writers have weird rituals and habits. Some won’t discuss a story, not even a little bit, until it’s finished. Some do the exact opposite. Mark Twain apparently wrote lying down. Vladimir Nabokov wrote his stories on 3×5 index cards, clipped them, and stored them in slim boxes. My true love, Mr. Billy Collins, only writes with a fine tip, Black Sharpie pen. Eons ago, I had a beloved, treasured Scripto pen that I called Blackie, which I used to write my stories with (when I used to write in longhand). And, yes, I cried when the ink ran out of Blackie. Anyway, most, if not all, writers have a thing they do.
What thing do I do? When I’m into a story, when I’m falling in love with it, thinking about it, weaving the tale and working on my character studies…I insert page numbers.
Prior to inserting page numbers, the story is a blank canvas to me, a rough piece of clay that I’m working with. But then comes this moment, this feeling, when I know it’s time to make it official. Weird, indescribable, dizzying, my ritual. It means that I’m ready for the progression, to see it through, to work with it until the final page.
That’s happening now with a story that I’m working on. I just inserted page numbers minutes ago…
Oh, before I leave, in honor of that thing we all do: