I've been thinking about rituals. No, not the spooky witchcraft kind (though they do make good reading). But those everyday traditions almost all of us have.
I think most writers have rituals. For example, I drink chai tea whenever I write. (Well, if I’m “on” coffee, it’s a vanilla soy latte.) If I’m writing at home, I brew it in my apple-red teakettle. I also have a playlist for every book. Launching Rhapsody, pressing play, and listening to the opening notes of the first song is a ritual that plants me straight in my story universe.
Many people have rituals before they go to school or work. Every morning, I read Metafilter over breakfast – almost always, Peanut Butter Puffins – check my email, Facebook and Twitter, then start writing. I’ll bet a lot of you have that particular breakfast or hot beverage, that specific radio station, that sequence of websites to check before you get going.
There are shower rituals: the products we use in the order we use them. Bedtime rituals. Meal rituals, exercise rituals, date rituals, sports rituals. Sometimes there’s an element of superstition to them, like kissing lucky objects or reciting mantras.
Some rituals are sort of bizarre. In high school, one of my friends would douse herself in body spray every time we went out. This girl was seriously a walking miasma of Pearberry or Night-Blooming Jasmine or whatever she was into at the time. Even then, I knew it was the ritual she loved even more than the reek.
As long as your rituals don’t consume you, there’s definitely something comforting about them. Knowing exactly what you like, and doing it just for yourself, like clockwork.
Then again, the best part of rituals can be the times you break them!
What are your rituals?