Writing Rituals And Why We Need Them

When I first started trying to write seriously, I’d sit down on my couch with my laptop, switch on the TV and carelessly peck at the keys for an hour or so. Sometimes I’d get into a groove and hammer out 2,000 words at a pop, and sometimes I was lucky if I clocked 200 in a night.

Then I realized this was not a stellar plan for actually finishing a book, and I started looking for ways to get in that groove and stay there. Or close to there.

And now I have rituals. I don’t do this every time I write, but I do most of this stuff regularly and I do it religiously when I’ve got a deadline coming up.

Here’s what works for me:

  1. Get out of the house. If I sit in my house, all I can think about is how I really should be cleaning and hey, aren’t there Cheezits in the pantry and I’ll just put Firefly on for some background noise and before you know it – I’ve got jack-crap-nothing going on. I’ve found if I head out to Wegman’s or Panera or Starbucks, I can hammer out a few thousand words before my battery dies almost every time.
  2. If I can’t get out of the house, I write at at the kitchen table with the TV off. I don’t even listen to music because I know I’ll sing along and lose my train of thought. Silence is golden for me.
  3. I disable the wi-fi on my laptop. I am an internet addict. The urge to pop into Facebook or Reddit or Twitter is just too great. And it’s an easy way to get sucked down a rabbit hole, and leave your writing behind.
  4. I set a timer and I make myself write through the allotted time.
  5. I people watch (and I make up backstories about everyone). If I find a particularly interesting person (in my mind, anyway), I’ve been known to add them into the story just to see where it takes me.

I’m sure I’ll have a dozen different ritual behaviors someday, but for now those are the go-to things.  And today’s resources are all about writing rituals – check out what the famous writers do, and learn to craft your own set of “writing rituals”:

The daily routines of twelve famous writers

Eight strange rituals of productive writers

How to create a three-phase writing ritual

Ten creative rituals that you should steal

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