Writing Rituals

Edits are chugging along on my novella.  Not as fast as I would like, but that is life with a toddler.  I was thinking today about how when I was a younger writer, I had certain rituals that I always liked to do.  First, as part of my character breakdown, I would sketch out each outfit that the main characters would wear for the entire book.  Then, I would spend hours creating the perfect playlist.  When I finally sat down to write (weeks later), I would go in a separate room from my husband, light a scented candle, start my playlist going, keep a steady supply of hot coffee by my side, and set to work.  And I realized that for all my rituals, not a whole lot of work was ever produced because if I didn’t have time to make things “just so”, I didn’t bother writing at all.

Nowadays, I still like to write to music, but I don’t make specific playlists for each work because I don’t have the luxury to do so.  Instead, I put on ambient music with no lyrics or foreign lyrics (to avoid directly influencing my writing) so that my subconscious can float above the sound.  And I still like to have something to drink in hand, whether it be coffee or tea or a tall glass of cold local cream-on-top milk.  When I’m creating art, I usually prefer a glass of wine or a beer.  And I’m more likely to put something mindless on T.V. when I’ve already planned a project out and am just working with my hands.  But beyond that, I no longer have a need to set the space or create the “perfect” creative environment.  Because if I keep waiting for “perfect”, I’ll never finish any of my projects.

Do you feel that you have rituals that help or hinder your creative process?  Do you cling to anything as a way to tell yourself you “can’t” instead of clearing out of your own head so you “can”?

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