Do you have a pre-writing ritual?
It could be anything. Doing an hour-long yoga class or just taking your favourite pen in your hands. Preparing a cup of coffee or taking a few deep breaths. Changing your clothes or lighting a candle.
The nature of rituals
This topic reminds me of writings by Richard Schechner and Victor Turner on the nature of rituals. More specifically, the part about rituals serving as a way to transition from one state to another, just like all rites of passage, but on any level of magnitude and importance.
We have morning rituals that help us mentally switch from a resting state to an active one. Be it stretching, brushing teeth, eating breakfast, drinking coffee, or something completely different. Mostly, it’s a combination of these.
Most of us engage in rituals when we arrive to work to help us make the mental transition from leisure to work time and mindset. We have rituals after we finish work, before we go to bed, before we eat, after we eat, before working out, after working out, before going out for a coffee, before going to a party, and so on and on.
Small rites of passage that mentally (and often physically) transfer us from one state to another.
People are creatures of symbolism. While some of us are more aware of that and perhaps even develop conscious daily rituals that help us function, work, and feel better, there are others who might say, “Not me. I don’t have any rituals.”
The funny thing is, I think they do. No matter how small they are, no matter how functional and technical they are, they are still there. Sure, a drive to work has a purely functional purpose, but it does also serve as a way to prepare your mind for the workday ahead.
This is why it often helps to have a separate room as an office if you work from home. This is why it often helps to have a dedicated writing space, a dedicated notebook, a dedicated pen.
Changes in our surroundings can help us make the mental transition from leisure time to writing time. These can be big or small – changing a room, going to a library or a cafe, picking up your favourite pencil, or lighting a candle. Something to let our minds know it is time to engage in a new activity, to start warming up for a new creative flow.
They are not necessary. They are not magic spells that will write your novel for you. But they can offer great help in our focus and approach to writing time.
Do you agree? Let me know what your thoughts are either down below or join the discussion on Instagram!