Rituals to Write

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Start with a pot of chai, tea or coffee, or at least something to sip contemplatively. Grab a few pens, and paper, all the notes you’ve been jotting to yourself all day. I usually find the play list named Music to Write By which for me are quiet, brooding pieces with no words. I have places in our home I like to sit and there I plunk, computer and writing utensils. I light a candle often, I also prefer incense (Ocean, or some exotic sea-fragrance) and then, begin writing.

I find having a ritual to begin my writing, helps clear my mind for the task. As I ready to sit, I take calming breaths, this is time for myself. I usually silence my phone. Unless it’s an emergency, most of those calls go unanswered until I am finished.

Lately, the preparation for writing is just a few minutes, though brief, it helps my brain log in to the right mode so I can hunker down and get a lot done. It can be as long or as short as fits your personality. If I go on retreat, it might be a little more involved. (It might also involve a glass of wine or another grown up beverage.) Sometimes, I have a list, or a chapter I’ve been mulling over or the review of the book I finished reading. To be honest, many days was just a brain dump, where I cleared my head of the previous day so I could move on to other things. Even those times are important to developing the habit of writing.

 I wrote at night while my daughter was in bed, or left the house early before work and sat in a parked car at various parks for 30 minutes of longhand pen on paper time. Getting to the park was then the ritual. (Sometimes I had coffee, but in a park having to find a restroom became problematic.) Developing a habit of showing up at the page became a priority and motivated me to do this five days a week, every week for several years, rain, shine snow or storm.

Fortunately for me, my husband is a writer too, so getting time to write is practically built in to my day. I can sit in the living room with him and write for hours uninterrupted. This has not always been the case. He also isn’t the least bit disturbed by what it takes for me to get into the writing mood.

Now, a nice cup of chai and a netbook, earbuds and I’m good to go. What about you—do you have a way that you settle into your writing?

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