It seems a lot of people have a ritual they perform before they start writing. I don’t mean chanting and dancing around naked (well, maybe some people do, I don’t know.) But things like, lighting a special candle, making sure your notebook and special pen are in the right place, things like that.
I don’t have much of a ritual. Usually I’ll get something to drink – coffee or tea, and a glass of water – to keep close by. But not always. And that’s about it. Depending on what I’m working on, I might make sure I have my notebook and pen handy, as I sometimes make notes when I’m not at my computer. But that’s not always a necessity. I try to keep things simple.
I’ve read theories that if you have some sort of small ritual that you do every time you sit down to write, it could help to put you in the writing mindset. You know, Pavlov’s dog and all that. Lighting a scented candle (the same scent every time.) Turning on specific music. I’ve thought about testing this theory, but what would I do? I do have a scented candle on my desk (currently it’s Christmas Cupcake by Yankee Candle. It’s always Yankee, and usually some version of vanilla.) But I don’t always write at my desk. Sometimes I write at someone in my writing group’s house. Sometimes at St. Louis Bread Company (or Panera, for those of you outside St. Louis.) Some other local coffee house. Rarely Starbucks. I don’t think they’d be happy with me lighting a candle…something about fire safety regulations. So that’s out of the picture.
Usually I put on music before I start writing. Most often I start a writing session with Emilie Autumn’s “Unlaced” album because it is so high energy, yet instrumental. But sometimes I start with something else. Sometimes I write to silence, as I am now. (Unless you count the sound of my dogs playing.)
Basically, I don’t want to be tied to something I absolutely HAVE to do before writing. It’s bad enough that if I’m at home, I can’t concentrate if the apartment is messy. Heaven forbid my desk be cluttered (this rarely happens.) I do have to have a clear desk before I can write. But again, if I’m somewhere else, this isn’t an issue. So, I guess I’ll leave this theory untested.
What about you – do you have any writing rituals?