Most writers have rituals, little warm-up routines that we must complete before daily writing commences. Our personal writing rituals, which can sometimes be elaborate, are considered sacred to the creative process.
When I was working a day job, my ritual was similar to Grisham’s. I would rise by 5 a.m., get the coffee going, then sit down at the dining room table and work until I had at least one page done. Then on to my day job.
Now that my day job has been offshored to China (thank you, globalization), and I find myself with much more free time, my writing ritual has inflated like a CEO’s salary. In addition to coffee I now do some Internet surfing before settling down to writing. Depending on my level of motivation, surf’s up anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours. I also feel a strange compulsion to sharpen every pencil in the house before I hit the keyboard. I think it’s a leftover ritual from high school, when I would rise at 4 a.m. to do my homework. I never did any work at night, and still don’t. My pencil-sharpening compulsion isn’t nearly as time-consuming as the ritual of a friend of mine, who is a successful writer. A major procrastinator, she cleans her entire house before settling down to work. If the house is already clean, she’ll organize her drawers.
Here’s a little ode to ritual by MsWriteNow. And then tell us–what is your writing ritual, and how important is it to you in terms of getting your work done?