Magical Words: Writing Rituals

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Writing Rituals

Some people swear by performing a ritual before starting writing to get their mind separated from “everything that needs to be done while I at home” to “I’m working.”┬áSeparating Home-Work-Chores from Working-from-Home is necessary, as many people have found out over the last few pandemic years.

Rituals to compartmentalize the Home from the Work space in the head allows one to return from work to home. Otherwise, someone is either always at work (a horrible situation) or at home (with the related distractions and related stress). Writers have been facing this issue for years.

Some of my writing friends separate Work-and-Home physically instead of just mentally, by going to Starbucks or other location. Locally, a bar-coffee-shop welcomes writers during NaNoWritMo. Two mugs can get a long way into your word count.

Leaving my cozy cottage doesn’t work well for me. My brain considers that friend time or “other” work time. But having writing-work not being distinct from home makes me depressed over time. Fortunately about the time the depression has be crossing into unproductive, is about the time tax season kicks in.

I need to find a solution to separate the brain spaces better.

Finding the right ritual for me would help. 500 words per day worked for several months. Using a timer lasted about two alarms. Food hints – like a cup of herbal tea or just past lunch – those haven’t had any success for me. Smell is more related to a place separation for me; but incense in the house doesn’t work, as the scent the incense sticks around for days. Smell isn’t a good ritual divider for me, just a space identifier.

Coming back from other jobs and just sitting down and writing doesn’t give me the mind-set change I need to create. I need a break between the two efforts. But the break can’t take too long or be too distracting. For example, for many people, once the TV is on – it’s on for the night as one show passes into another and before you know it, you’ve binged for four hours. I can’t afford that if I want to produce saleable product.

I need an hour break after coming home. A mind-free time, then a ritual to get restarted.

Mindy Klasky gives a list of “Writing Rituals” which work for her in Magical Words 9/15/2011 posting. The comments include other writers goto choices:

Read it over for suggestions.

WRITING EXERCISE: Pick a ritual and try it for a week (or seven times, if you don’t write daily) to kick start your writing. Does it help get your head in the right space? Does it help you feel more relaxed and less stressed about your writing and the rest of your life?

I’m going to try and use the timer method again, but without the buzzer. I got a pretty hourglass which I will flip over. All I have to do is concentrate on writing while the sands are falling. Play a game of solitaire (and only one!) to turn off the mind from everything else in the house, open the door and curtains to let in even more light, and flip the hourglass. Wish me luck!

What ritual did you develop and how has it worked for you?