Writing Methods: Rituals
Sometimes it’s hard to get into the right mindset to write. That’s where rituals come in.
How Will a Ritual Help?
For anyone who has taken a Psych 101 course, you may have heard of classical conditioning. That is, associating one unrelated stimulus with something else. But what does this have to do with writing or rituals?
If you do the same thing over and over before you write, you can trick your brain into the right mindset. Doing the same ritual and teaches your brain to associate it with writing. Ritual will make it easier to snap into writing mode and allow you to get into a flow more easily.
Kinds of Rituals
There are lots of kinds of rituals you can try. They can be certain smells, certain foods, putting on a particular genre of music or a certain piece of clothing, or a variety of other rituals. The trick here is to only use these when you are about to write, and not at other times.
Tastes and Smells
These are some of the strongest senses and will be the most effective in getting you into the writing mindset quickly.
Always have the same beverage before you write. Light a certain scented candle. Eat the same food, like a candy bar or other type of snack. Put on the same perfume before you write. Use a specific scent in an essential oil diffuser, but be careful if you have pets. Certain essential oils can be toxic to our furry friends.
Play a certain genre of music when you write. Do you have a writing playlist to get you in the mood? Make one. Or put on a certain show or movie you’ve seen a hundred times on low to get you in the writing mood. See the environment article in this series for more tips on finding the right sound for your background noise.
Wear the same piece of clothing before you write. This could be a silly hat, a certain dress, a shirt, a pair of pants, shoes, slippers, or socks. Have something tactile you can touch before you write like silly putty, a stress ball, or a swash of fabric that feels good, like silk. Paint your nails before you write or hide under a blanket. Write with pen and paper. Wear a certain piece of jewelry. Exercise, take a shower, brush your teeth, or get out of bed before you write.
Use a certain lamp or light color when you write. Read about the writing craft for fifteen minutes before you write. Have a mood board for your project hanging above your desk. Write in the same room or environment. Use a timer to write and sprint against yourself to get in the writing mood. Write at the same time of day.
There are a variety of rituals you can use. These are only some ideas. If you think of any more, share them in the comments.