Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Writing Rituals

On her blog, Joely Sue Burkhart talked about how her writer mind is freed to think when she plays Mah Jong. Eve commented that she plays a few minutes of card games before she writes.

It seems many writers have rituals they follow to write, whether it’s using a favorite pen, lighting a candle, or eating apples in the bathtub (Agatha Christie).

Pundits say rituals are a great way to overcome writer’s block, and even recommend creating some (rituals) to maintain a flow of writing.

Yesterday, I was perusing a new book, The Writer's Desk, by Jill Krementz. This incredible book is filled with pictures of famous writers at their desks. Each author also has a little blurb about writing and a lot of them have peculiar, or at the very least idiosyncratic, rituals. (I highly recommend the book, BTW, especially if you’re obsessed with writer’s lairs as I am.)

Personally, I like to go for long walks with my dog to do my writer thinking. Sometimes so much comes to me that I’m afraid I’ll forget something. As I commented In JSB’s blog, it’s time for me to take a tape recorder along.

As for sitting down to write, I’m not aware of any particular ritual, other than lighting a candle and making sure I have some type of beverage at hand.

I’m curious to know if you have any rituals and, if so, what are they?

Here are some links about writer rituals:

19 comments:

Dana Pollard said...

I'm WAY too addicted to spider solitare. Someone needs to delete it from my laptop. I'd get a lot more done, that's for sure.

Heather Dawn Harper said...

Tri Peaks Solitaire on POGO drains the nasty editorial voices that are just begging to get the first word in when I sit down to write. Just one hand does it for me.

Paula said...

I don't have any writing rituals, unless usually writing on a laptop counts. Only very occasionally do I write longhand in a notebook.

Sam said...

You changed your address! Now I have to update my links. more work for me. Argh.
LOL - just kidding.
Will get around to it eventually.
Love the new blog here!

Melissa Marsh said...

OOH! You have Snoopy as the Literary Ace pics! He's my mascot and I have little knick knacks of the Literary Ace scattered all over my desk. :-)

I always make sure I have something to drink, a bit of chocolate (if I have any) and a comfy position if I'm using my laptop.

Meg Allison said...

Hi, Nienke!

I also have a blog here -- trying it out to see which I like best.

I don't really have any writing rituals, but I do have to have a cold glass of Diet Vanilla Pepsi nearby.

Anonymous said...

You know this MAY sound strange but I seem to do my best writing when I'm tired...... I know a lot of Famous writers (and painters) who did their best work "under the influence" ( not that I'm putting myself in their catagory by any means) but maybe we're not as criticle of what flows when we're in that state.....

Enjoyed the read as always!

Hope all is well.

Wil

nanza said...

i see you jumped ship....good place to be i hear from Kate...

i've started on THE ARTIST WAY SEMINAR and i've been doing "morning pages".....the poem on my blog today is my 2nd morning page.....i still haven't gone on an ARTIST DATE but i intend to...it's very freeing....hope you have loads of sucess here Nieke...but please still come see me from time to time...nanza

Shesawriter said...

Coffee. Must have coffee. Without it, nothing gets done.

Tanya

Blowing Shit Up With Gas said...

My only ritual: I *have* to be typing, preferably while sitting comfortably with my laptop. Pen and paper is acceptable for emergencies. But, when I want to seriously write, it has to be at a keyboard.

Ryan Oakley said...

I get smashed.

Janna of Canada said...

My main ritual involves having some clue of what I’m going to write before it comes time to actually write it. All day long, I’ll mentally map out that evening’s work, and try to think up the very first sentence I’ll write. Once I’ve come up with the sentence, I’ll carry it around in my head like a security blanket until I’m ready to get started, only jotting the sentence down if it’s particularly complex or snappy, and I’m afraid I’ll forget it. (And if I do write it down, I then have to think up the next sentence.)

Nienke said...

Hey, thanks for your comments, everyone! And welcome to those of you visiting from bravejournal.
Sounds like everyone has some type of ritual, however insignificant they may seem. I do see a trend in computer games and beverages.... hmmm....

Kelly Parra said...

Interesting post, Nienke!

I'm interested more in rituals than lairs, and writing thoughts are always coming to me in the car. I need to get a tape recorder too!

Sandy J said...

Hi, Nienke! Visiting from Rene's! I love the posts and the links on rituals. It is always so interesting to me to hear what inspires and motivates other writers.

Zinnia Cyclamen said...

My best writing time is first thing in the morning, so that's kind of ritualistic. Sometimes I go straight in, but that's rare. Half an hour of blogging usually helps. (And resisting the strange urge to clean things that never comes over me at any other time.) The beverage: peppermint tea. I find walking around town very useful for writerly thinking; sometimes I write, then walk, then write etc. Sleeping is also useful! If I have a problem in my head as I fall asleep at night, I often have a solution by morning. Which is where we came in.

Sam said...

I can only write when I turn off the internet. Otherwise I just keep surfing.
:(

Joely Sue Burkhart said...

Hey, Nienke, thanks for the link! I don't play Mah Jong every single time, but it definitely helps me get through a tough spot. Showers are also great, too. :-)

Sharon J said...

My only ritual is making enough space to be able to use the lap top.

~Sharon J