Writing Rituals… do you have them?

Here’s mine: Strong, hot cup of coffee. Some music, but genre depends on mood and energy level. About 30 minutes of brainstorming, tweeting, thinking about nothing in particular. Maybe I jot down a few thoughts on actual paper, just scribbles really. Finally I open the Word document. To write? No, to stare at the screen. Then type two words, maybe just one.

Get up. Refresh coffee. Sit down. To focus? No, silly. To browse the web aimlessly doing “research.” Tweet some more. Stand up to stretch. Wander the house (or the coffee shop). Under self-inflicted duress, sit down again. Switch into hyper-focus mode, typing every thought even if it’s horrible. Even if I would absolutely die of humiliation if anyone read it.

Build words into sentences like playing Legos. Forget to eat. Hours pass as mere minutes. Go back and edit mercilessly. More coffee? No, need water. And food of some kind, I’m getting lightheaded. Try to distance myself from the rhythm, from the zone. Make a few notes for later. Close the document. Go pick up the kids from school, get outside and enjoy the sun. Man, I love this writing life.

What about you?

14 thoughts on “Writing Rituals… do you have them?

  1. Uh-huh. Definitely had ‘writing’ sessions like that. (Fortunately some are more productive.) I try to empty my mind by playing mahjong or cards on the computer sometimes – then find an hour’s gone by and that’s all I’ve done.


    1. Yes, it’s definitely tempting to waste time instead of write. Not sure why… I love writing but will procrastinate actually doing it. Thanks for the comment, so glad others have this issue as well.


  2. …put on Bruce Springsteen, even though I don’t really like Bruce Springsteen, under the guise that I work better with music on. Sit and wonder for a while why I’m actually listening to Bruce Springsteen, and why they called him the boss when it was clear that he never actually had a real job. Write 5 words. Delete 4 words. Search for entertaining blogs. Turn off Springsteen…


    1. LOL. Brian, this cracks me up. Writer’s minds are so prone to wandering, sometimes I’ll even look up song lyrics that perplex me, and get myself all wrapped up in contextual analysis of the music. Maybe music isn’t always the best idea, come to think of it!


  3. If I am writing fiction, which I do for my granddaughter, then I often have a glass of wine nearby if I am writing late in the evening or a cup of Yorkshire tea if it is during the day. Being very visually oriented, the story actually writes itself when I go to sleep. I see it in my mind so when I get around to actually sitting in front of the computer it comes out like dictation. (Story is about a family of cats who act human, live in Cotswold cottages and drive cars. They are a very old fashion family with old fashion values. There’s often something mysterious that occurs that has to be solved.)

    When I write my blog, I don’t always have anything nearby and that might be because the ideas are Divinely inspired; having occurred while doing mundane things like cleaning the bathroom. The idea suddenly flashes through my mind and I have to write it down right away. If it is a subject I have to research further, like the posts on Auschwitz-Birkenau, then I might have the cup of tea nearby. I only drink coffee in the morning when sorting email.


    1. I think I read something about how the subconscious mind actually does much of the work when we’re asleep. Do you dream about old-fashioned cats and Cotswold cottages? When I was finishing my novel, I often dreamed of what I had thought about the day before.

      “I only drink coffee in the morning when sorting email.” This makes me smile. And I like thinking about how you get idea flashes when doing housework. Sometimes the most amazing ideas can come from the most ordinary moments.


      1. No, I don’t dream about them at all. I just write it in my head in the form of pictures. Just like watching a movie. I keep saying I’m going to stop and edit all the pages and break it down into books but I never do. Hence, I have a HUGE tome with MANY chapters.


    1. I do like the din at Starbucks. Unless I get drawn into a nearby conversation, and then I have to put on headphones (but if it’s really interesting, I’ll start taking notes for future characters).

      Larry, I can just see you in your quiet home, with a steaming cup of coffee and typing away on your next novel. 🙂


  4. Sitting in an English class one day, and the professor states that what you write about is not as important as the very act of writing. With a writer’s cramp bad enough to produce a nervous tic, I raise my hand and say, “But I don’t have anything to write about!”.

    The professor grandiosely points at me and says, “Write about THAT!”

    My nervous tic grew exponentially after that.


  5. I’m not writing for a living so I don’t sit down to write unless I already have something to write. When I feel a desire to write but don’t have any words or a topic to begin with, I lie down on my couch and pray and meditate. When something comes, it usually comes complete. I don’t know if that makes sense. Like CS Lewis said, it’s more like taking dictation. (I only reference him for the expression, not in any way for comparison.)


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