Writing rituals

Do you have certain routines when writing? Routines can be a big part of achieving your writing goals. I think it’s really about being as comfortable as possible. Sometimes these rituals form because you performed some sort of action, ahead of smashing a writing goal. And so the correlation gets mixed with causation. But that’s okay. If it works, it works.

I think these things only work on a psychological level when (or if) you have stumbled on them. You happened to be in a coffee shop with some classical music playing, and that afternoon, the words flowed. So from then on, even when you’re at home, you crank up the Beethoven.

But the effectiveness has to come first. I don’t think you can force rituals on yourself. That’s putting the cart before the horse.

And too many people try and do that. They make this whole big deal out of it, by playing the appropriate music, turning down the lights, activating some herbal essence oil, lighting candles… and before you know it, you’ve spent half of your writing time getting ready to write!

But really, it’s about whatever works for you. Writers like Lee Child make sure they don’t eat before writing. And there might be some evolutionary biological science behind that. Humans of the hunter-gatherer age, when they were hungry, were typically (obviously) more desperate for food. Therefore, that’s the time when they would need to get very creative, in order to acquire food. So maybe, just maybe, there is a correlation between being a little hungry and opening some of those creative lobes in the brain. But what do I know?

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