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3 Rituals To Jump-Start Your Writing Machine

writing rituals

by Jennifer on April 16, 2012

This is a guest post from Jane Smith

As a procrastinating writer, you probably know full well that it’s not necessarily the scepter of “writer’s block” that is keeping us from our writing goals, although some may call it that. Writer’s block is more of a pervasive inability to put words on paper, a stunting ennui that may last either a few days or several years.

Most of the time, the biggest roadblock is just getting yourself to sit down and start. You have the words in you, it’s just procrastination that’s got you by the shirt collar.

For me, ritualizing the writing process is an incredible way to get you started.

Here’s what I do, though there’s a million different rituals you can dream up that suit your lifestyle:

1.    Have A Hearty (But Not Too Filling) Meal An Hour Before You Begin

Personally, I write best early in the morning, a couple of hours before I head out to my day job. I always have a hearty breakfast—eggs, bacon, etc—before beginning, with lots and lots of coffee. I try not to think about writing during my ritual breakfast.

After finishing my meal, I go out to the back porch, and enjoy the rest of my coffee, watching the birds and my dog play in the yard. I savor the peace and quiet.

2.    Read A Few Poems Out Loud Before Getting to Work

For me, the hardest part about sitting down to write is getting into “the flow.” While the “flow” is a pretty nebulous concept, for me it has more to do with the sound and rhythm of writing. And poetry is all about sound and rhythm.

Get out your favorite poems and recite them to yourself in the best poet-y voice you can muster. It helps and it’s pretty entertaining as well.

3.    Use A Few Different Methods for Physically Writing Your Work to Keep Things Fresh

Sometimes all you need is a change of scenery. Or writing equipment. If all you ever do is write on your computer, try using pen and paper instead or even pencil and paper. You could just as well acquire a typewriter from an antique shop.

By trying out different methods, you’ll see how much your writing changes when your physical tools have changed. It’ll breathe new life into your work.

These are just a few ways that I get my inner writing machine started. As you can see, rituals are always very personal, so you can adjust your own accordingly. Start with some that I’ve suggested and create your very own rituals.

Even if they aren’t necessarily effective, it still makes writing more fun!

What are your writing rituals?

About the Author: Jane Smith is a freelance writer and blogger. She writes about free background checks for Backgroundcheck.org. Questions and comments can be sent to: janesmth161 @ gmail.com.

Image courtesy of matryosha

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Daphne Gray-Grant April 17, 2012 at 9:46 am

Interesting post! Re: your comment about “flow” — I like Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s definition. He is the psychologist who wrote the book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. (It’s a GREAT book — well worth reading.) Basically, “flow” occurs when you aren’t struggling to write — the words and ideas are occurring with seemingly little “effort” on your part. I don’t think it has so much to do with sound and rhythm but more to do with the EASE of writing. That said, if poetry makes it easier for you to write then you should certainly go for it! Here is a link to a review I’ve written of the book “Flow”: http://bit.ly/Iuag9k

2 Travis Reynolds May 10, 2012 at 8:35 pm

There’s something beautiful about a writer’s ritual. It adds a fun mystique to the whole process, even if it does sometimes present a ‘Misery’ reference.

3 Lisa-Marie Dutt June 2, 2012 at 1:55 pm

I believe a change of scenary would be something that might help me along when I am most having trouble. I think I will give that a go and think long and hard about other things that may help along the way.

4 Nurse Tina June 27, 2012 at 6:32 pm

I would make sure that I had drank a cup of coffee (or two) through out my writing session. Aside from my internal motivation, I need some stimulation from sugar and caffeine. Moreover, I see to it to move about every now and then, in order to keep those oxygen-rich pumping throughout my body. 🙂

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