writing rituals

What are Your Writing Rituals?

By on May 13, 2014 . Category Column

Every writer I’ve ever known has some sort of writing ritual or superstition they subscribe to.

The infamous Ernest Hemingway typed standing up.  “Done by noon, drunk by three” was his mantra.

A colleague of mine has “writing attire”.  When she has heavy writing jobs, she locks herself in her sunroom, wearing an old plaid button-down shirt and hideous sweatpants.  The sun’s rays motivate and energize; the comfort clothes supply familiarity.  She has the yin and the yang of new beginnings and old comforts.

Even fictitious writers, like Carrie Bradshaw of Sex and the City, have writing quirks.  She liked to write on her laptop in her apartment in total quiet.  If the apartment was too noisy and she was up against a deadline, she’d get a hotel room.

I have multiple routines depending upon the writing.  If I’m handwriting notes, for example, I like black click-y pens and I try out multiple pens to find the clicking speed and ease I like.  Then that becomes the pen I always write with and I keep it in the same exact spot for future use.  (Since I’m left-handed, I don’t like notebooks, because my wrist always hits the spiral spine.  I prefer notepads and I guarantee you there is always a black click-y pen right next to the notepad right in front of my computer.)

These idiosyncrasies are our safety blankets.  They are little comforts, acquainted routines.  They make us feel safe as we dive into the unsafe world of writing.  It can be scary staring at a blank page, wondering where the next pay check will come from, questioning whether you have another success in you.  I actually find it fitting for writers to have rituals.  Everything else is unknown.  There has to be some sort of constant.  But they cannot be forced.  They have to come naturally.

So whether you find yourself one day standing up, picking up a click-y pen or throwing on some old sweats, embrace the ritual and write.  Then, write on…   


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