The Benefits of Writing Rituals

The Benefits of Writing Rituals

I’m sure you have all heard the phrase, “creatures of habit.”  The Cambridge Dictionary defines the phrase as the following:

“someone who always wants to do the same things in the same way”

There are some very good evolutionary reasons for this: good habits save us time and mental energy. They help us in negotiating the world, freeing our minds to invent things like fire and computers.  On the flip-side, however, our hardwired ability to form habits also makes us vulnerable to picking up self-destructive patterns, too; things like smoking, or drinking, or becoming addicted to checking our email over and over.  For the last three months when I sit down to write, I myself have had to fight the urge to pour myself a 44oz. cup of soda or grab candy bars two at a time while sitting at my writing desk. Habits can be both good and bad.

Writers are people who tend to be disciples of habit. I can’t say that I know one, single writer who does not utilize some pattern or ritual as they write. Writing rituals are personal habits, which generally make no practical sense to writing, but that people routinely perform when they are faced with a writing task. These habits are typically related to the time one writes, or the environment in which one writes, and/or one’s behavior while writing.

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6 Elements to Becoming a More Productive Writer

 

It’s hard to be a writer. I find that writers, myself included, are in a constant state of personal disappointment over their writing. For some strange reason, we writers – both new and veteran alike – have this misguided belief that anything and everything we write should be outstanding, worthy of a bestseller.

But because perfection is unattainable, we constantly seem to be engaged in a battle of self-doubt. We often sabotage our writing by doing things contrary to our goals and then feeling despair that the words are not perfect in the first draft.

Let me ask you – is there ANYTHING in your life that you were good at right off the bat? Were you an expert pianist the first time you sat at the keys? Could you run a marathon without ever having spent one second training or conditioning? Well if this is you Rainman, then don’t waste anymore of your super-human time reading any further. You’ve got Jeopardy to win. But, for the other 99.9% of you out there, the problem with your writing is not that you have no aptitude for it, but that you are probably approaching it incorrectly.

What follows are six elements that I have discovered which will help you to become a bit more productive the next time you sit down to write.

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