Hot Topic Tuesday: Rituals

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?


Pam Harris said...

Not sure if I really have any writing rituals. It's weird, but I'm usually inspired the most at work--so I have to squeeze in a few minutes at the day job to get some writing in. Oh, and I always have to have lotion around. Yes, it sounds a little gross--but my hands tend to get really dry when I'm typing up a storm. :)

Sarah Darer Littman said...

I can't write with music, particularly music with words. I'll only listen to music my characters would listen to in the car (while driving carpools, which I do ALOT) to get me in their heads.

My major writing ritual is that for each new project I start, I spend like an hour at Sephora choosing a new scent. Then I only where that scent the whole time I'm working on that book. If I go back to editing the previous book, I switch back to that book's scent. There's something very powerful about scent for me.

Of course, the people at Sephora think I'm insane...but that's another story!

Melissa Sarno said...

Eeeks. I don't have any writing rituals. Maybe I need to be more disciplined. I can't listen to any music when I write. I find it too distracting. I do tend to read the last 10 pages before I begin writing but that's about it.
Oh, I love Peanut Butter Puffins too!

Micol Ostow said...

Ooh, I love this topic! I don't have too many rituals, but since I'm a NYC-dweller, I have to create an "office" out of a corner of my bedroom. My file cabinets, bookshelf, desk, and a cozy reading chair take up their own space, and I'm quite strict about only working in the "office" (ie: the bed, the living room couch, etc., are all off limits during working hours). It gives me some structure.

Claire Dawn said...

I don't do rituals. I kinda hate routine, so everything's different all the time.

brandimziegler said...

I listen to music and read a few pages before jumping in. Most of the time anyway.

Steph said...

I drink coffee out of the same mug every morning. Usually while checking my email, Facebook, and Twitter.

That's assuming I'm not running out the door trying to not miss the bus to campus for class. Which I'm probably doing if I have a morning class. Can I count that as a ritual? =)

Adeeva Afsheen said...

Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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