Do you have a writing ritual that helps you put more words on the paper? Would you like one that’s totally customized just for you?
I believe that having a writing ritual can help you actually look forward to writing so you sit down day after day with a smile on your face. This is how I wrote the first draft of my third novel in 4 months (which is fast for me!) – by having a writing ritual that I could not only customize for me and my likes, but also how I felt each day.
There are four categories that I think make up the perfect writing ritual, read through and choose 1-2 items from each to start building out your customized ritual.
CATEGORY ONE: GROUNDING
You want to come into your writing space, or writing project as clear as possible. Back in my college theater days we had something called “leave your baggage at the door” where you would visualize all the stuff from your day – the fight with your roommate, the bad grade on the test – as baggage that you would drop at the door of the theater rehearsal or performance space. The thing is this concept has been extremely helpful as a writer as well. You forget the fight, the bills or dishes piling up, and leave that baggage at the door so you can concentrate on your story.
This is how I ground, but there are other things you can do. Deep breathing, meditation, feel your feet on the floor (or your butt in the chair) – anything that helps YOU be in the present moment so you can write without distraction or worry. This needn’t take long, but will go a long way to give you peace of mind so you can enter your creative world.
CATEGORY TWO: EXCITEMENT
This category is all about hyping you up so you are in a good mood to write. I like to use music, either a particular song or genre. Another thing I like to do is choose a Tarot card and do some light free writing. Some people read from their pervious writing sessions, dance it out, or light a candle. Think of something that will amp you up so you have the energy to write for that day’s session. This is where the customization can really come into play – what kind of energy boost do you need that day? Song and dance, a candle and three deep breaths, or will quickly reading the last line you wrote get you ready to start typing up new words?
CATEGORY THREE: MOTIVATION
Okay, so you are in the present movement and you are hyped up, now you need to keep that motivation high to write for your session. Personally, I continue using music but others have told me they love having a mood board to look at, character sheets with images, a favorite snack they can nibble on, or a timer they can try to “beat”. Some people need complete silence and that’s great too, I suggest trying a few to see what works best for you most days.
CATEGORY FOUR: REWARD
When your session is over you might feel like you are in a haze of creative energy. For that I suggest a re-entry type exercise that can help you come back into the real world. It can either mirror what you did at the beginning to ground – so pick the baggage back up, feel your feet on the floor, or do a quick meditation – or use some other technique like closing your project or laptop or just checking off that day’s session on a calendar.
Once you are back into the real world, you need to reward yourself for a job well done – I don’t care if you wrote two words or two thousand words, you deserve a reward. Give yourself a gold star sticker, a piece of chocolate, a dance party, or 30 minutes to watch your favorite show. You earned it!!
Now that you have a few items that you can choose from for each category, I want to ask you to look over your list and make sure at least one item each day is going to light you up, something that’s so fun you can’t wait to do it. For me, this is music – it lights me up, keeps me motivated and makes me super happy. What is that element for you?
I would love to know what your current writing ritual is and what you might be adding now that you’ve read this article – what were you missing? What will definitely light you up so you can come back to the page (and the chair) day after day so you can finally type The End on your novel?