Creating Writing Rituals That Work
Even if you don’t feel like writing!
We’ve all had those days. Days where just rolling out of bed seems like too much effort. Not to mention, writing is hard work on the best of days. What do you do when you have goals and deadlines you’ve agreed to?
One way you can set yourself up for success is to create a writing ritual. One that moves your writing forward and create a habit that will get you moving no matter how you feel.
When you begin to create rituals for yourself, the first place to look is what you are currently doing and what is working? If something is working, keep doing that. However, if you are struggling to maintain what you are currently doing, perhaps looking at the following items will help you find ways that work.
1. Setting: Where are you currently writing? Does that work? If it doesn’t seem to be working, look around, what things do you like about your space? What things aren’t working? If your space is in the living room with your kids running around and the TV on, perhaps it is time to carve out another space. What about a coffee shop? Are there too many distractions? Do you need quiet or a bit of chaos?
2. Time of Day: There are writers who swear by morning writing and others who can’t write until their families go to bed? Still others who write on their lunch hours, if they get one. What time of day to you feel the most creative? Are you a morning person and don’t mind getting up an extra 45 minutes earlier to write? Or, do you feel your energy renewed in the evening and can crank out 1000 words with little effort? Finding the perfect time of day may take some experimentation but eventually you will find your sweet spot.
3. Beverage: I cannot begin my writing ritual without a hot cup of coffee. I may not drink it all but the sips I take help me to think and unclog my mind. Do you need coffee, tea? Or, nothing but water. If you write in the evening, does a glass of wine help you to relax and pump out those words? Do you need anything at all while you write, finding liquids too distracting? Not to mention, all the trips to the bathroom break up your flow.
4. Tools: What are your favorite tools you can’t live without? Do you need to write (and count) every word on a lap top or tablet? Can you write with a simple word processing program or do you like something with a bit more substance, such as Scrivener? Do you like the sound of that old typewriter, to get those creative juices flowing? What about pen and paper? Do you like writing with a roller ball or fountain pen? What about pencils or gel pens? Having your favorite tools on hand and in good working order takes away any barriers that may keep you from sitting down to write.
5. Music or Silence: This is a hotly debated subject within my personal writing communities. Some of my fellow writers create writing play lists on their favorite music sites. Others, like myself, prefer mellow music, played at random, often without words. Still others need absolute silence and resent any breakthrough sounds. What type of environment you can write in is a matter of taste. There is no wrong answer. However, a word of caution, if you feel the need to create a writing play list to accompany your current WIP, please do so outside of your chosen writing time. It takes time to create the perfect music list; time that you’ve dedicated to writing.
To be a writer, you need to write. It’s as simple and as difficult as that. Creating rituals can encourage writing. By spending a few minutes to think about what works for you, will help in the long run to keep you writing.
My Own Ritual
My own ritual involves the previously mentioned coffee, lighting a candle, a short affirmation and then morning pages with some meditative music playing in the background. I read Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way, a few years ago and have been hooked on morning pages ever since. Once those words are done, I’m warmed up and ready to begin work on my current project. After my words are written, I blow out my candle and move on to the rest of my day.
This ritual is what works for me. Though it has evolved over the past few years, the basics don’t usually change. I’ve been able to create and maintain my writing habit so that even when I don’t feel the muse, I can still sit down and get the words out. They may not be the most wonderful words I’ve ever written but the truth is you can revise crappy words but cannot do anything with a blank page.
Until next time,
P.S. I have openings for creativity coaching. Please click Yes! I want to work with you!!! and we can get started.