Wanted: Tried and True Writing Rituals

Many a professional athlete utilizes a pre-game ritual to rev up their engines. These rituals can be as simple as kissing a rabbit’s foot for luck. Or as jolting as taking a cold shower 45 minutes before every match.

Writers have their own rituals to help them slip into the writing zone. I know one author who drinks a cup or two (or six) of coffee to crank the writing gears. Standing on one’s head for a solid length of time can do the trick, too, so I’ve heard. It’s a surefire way to rush blood…and ideas to the brain. Here are a few examples from well known authors:

Charles Dickens wandered around London without any destination, sometimes for a dozen miles. This allowed his feet… and his mind to roam freely. If he didn’t walk, he said, “I should just explode and perish.”

– For some authors, it’s not any one thing, but a series of actions needed to sink into the zone: NBA basketball player turned author Paul Shirley starts his writing day with a bit of exercise and meditation, followed by a “fun” song; one that “energizes” him to get into the groove.

With all of this said, I confess that yours truly doesn’t have any set ritual. I’m a Dr. Jekyl and Mrs. Hyde when it comes to my writing. I tend to write in fits and spurts, as time permits, around my day job. On weekends, I’m expert at wasting a good amount of writing time before I sit myself firmly behind my laptop. And even then, I drift around before I throw out my anchor. Over the past two months, I’ve written 10,000 words of the first draft of my third novel. Do you think that’s a good amount? Wow, I nearly went deaf in one ear. I don’t either. Especially when those painful first drafts are crying out for revision.

But reading about other authors’ methods has inspired me. As I hope it has for some of you. I know that when I do sit and complete my writing goals, I feel utterly fantastic.

So, I’m going to dare myself, no double dare myself, (and any other willing participants) to find a writing ritual and stick to it. For the next month, I’m going to do just that…and report back. How about you?

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3 years ago

I should do some thing to make me relax and think more clearly. Thank you Lida.