Writing Rituals

This week's Blaugust theme is "brainstorming topics," and I will definitely have some posts up this week about brainstorming because, for me, it's such a vital part of the writing and editing process. But today I want to share my own little weird writing rituals, inspired by this post from Magimos' blog.
As I've mentioned before, I write and edit for a living, and I'm currently preparing to start mentoring a beginning writer in a group I'm in. I write anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 words most days, but I've had to develop some tricks to get myself going. It's so easy to end up scrolling through Twitter or Facebook, or reading just a couple more posts from stuff I've subscribed to in Feedly. But the work needs to get done.
Writing is a mental game, and in the end, all that matters is finding which cues and rituals work for you. I spend my mornings editing, blogging, and reading blogs, have lunch, get dressed, go outside and water the garden, and then it's time to settle in to write.
Here is my pre-writing ritual, in order. Because the order at this point is just as important as the steps themselves. Remember: whatever works. It's about making your brain make that shift from consumer of information to creator of worlds.

My Writing Ritual

Warcraft mug is a must. Crystals are never a bad idea, because I need all the help I can get!

  1. Activate Self Control. In the mental sense, yes, but also in the sense of hitting "Start" on the Self Control app on my computer. It allows me to block "problem" sites for me, for a pre-determined set of time, and nothing, not even restarting the computer, will allow you to get on those sites until your time is up. This is vital.
  2. Coffee. Fresh, hot coffee. Essential.
  3. Music. I have a playlist for every story I'm working on, and having the music on serves two purposes: headphones help me filter out background noise (house full of kids and pets = frequent noise. Who would have guessed??) and the music helps me get into the mindset for writing that particular story. Like a Pavlovian response, almost. Hear X song, associate it with Y character, write.
  4. Look over outline and spend time picturing the upcoming scene. Visualize it, almost like a movie. Run through it a couple times, maybe seeing details I didn't before.
  5. Write.
All of this takes me maybe 10 minutes to settle in, and then I'm off to the races. Tomorrow, I'll share how I stay on target with my word count goals.


  1. Rituals like this can be a fascinating insight into peoples personalities etc. I find your use of music interesting because it serves a very specific purpose. I tend to do the opposite. I shut myself away in my office and I like it quiet, so I can hear myself think. I sometimes speak aloud what I'm trying to write and find that it helps. Each to their own. If it means you write a complete post and are happy with it, so much the better.

    1. I used to need quiet to write but that's evolved over the years, mostly by necessity. If I waited for quiet I'd never write a word lol. But I completely understand the desire for quiet when trying to work.

    2. I'm somewhere in the middle of you two on this. I can tolerate background noise to a fair degree, but I wouldn't want music on. At least, certainly not any kind of personalised in-ear music.

      Reading aloud what I've done undeniably helps, but I don't do it as much as I should. Mostly due to there being people around so frequently and self-consciousness.

  2. The closest thing I have to a writing ritual is to think in my mind what I am going to write about. Depending on how intense my thoughts are going I might walk the house while I think. Also depending on the case I might even think of what screenshots I could use for the post.

    If it is a long piece I also take breaks by going to do something more mindless, like going to watch some anime on the bed or something that doesn't require me sitting in a chair. Other times the break is another walk around the house while I think about how to continue.

    I guess I am just too simple and dull when it comes to writing. XD

    1. No such thing! It all comes down to what works for you. Some of us need more ritual and some just get down to it. Whatever works :)


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