Create a Daily Ritual Guaranteed to Help Words and Ideas Pour Out Onto the Page

Let me start by offering a few general suggestions for developing a successful writing habit. I’ll offer tips for setting yourself up for success as a writer by creating good (and regular) writing practices in future posts.

1. Find (or set up) a writing space. Make this the place you write every day. A writing space doesn’t have to be complicated. A simple desk with a pen/pencil and paper or a laptop will do. Think about:

Claiming space at the dining room table, at a corner desk at the local library, or try converting part of the attic or a spare room into a dedicated place to crank out your daily words.

Tip: Warm, soft light helps set the mood for a productive writing session.

2. Think about adding a few personal touches to your dedicated writing spacepictures of family, friends, pets. I keep a few small treasures (dragons, angels, a magic wand) and a vision board* nearby  — inspirational motivators. Avoid cluttering up your space, but make it your own. Think flowers, lucky gemstones, scented candles…Don’t forget to have nearby small snacks, coffee/tea, water, etc. 

3. A good chair that you will enjoy sitting in for long periods of time is a ‘must.’ It’s hard to exercise creative muscles when your physical body is stiff and sore from lingering too long in a miserable chair.

4. Consider playing soft music in the background. There are direct connections, for example, to teachers playing classical music in the classroom to keep children calm and focused. I play Mozart or Vivaldi in the background when studying or brainstorming. 

Here is an article that further illustrates how certain types of music create an environment conducive to learning. This stuff works great for writers as well. Definitely give it a try.

5. Ask yourself, “When am I most productive?” Are you at your best early in the day? Or are you a night owl? Do you have to work around a day job? Obligations to friends and family? Finding a time when you are most likely to commit to a regular writing schedule is an important part of the process.

Creating a daily writing ritual could involve a series of personalized behaviors that help prime the creative pump.

Example: My current daily writing ritual: Wake-up (9 a.m.), shower, brush teeth, etc. Make a cup of tea and settle in to write a minimum of 1000 words. Because I am home now due to Covid, I set aside the first three hours of the day to write and then – depending on the project I’m working on – another three hours after dinner to do some research and/or editing/proofreading. 

6. No Distractions. Turn off the TV—no social media, texts, calls, etc. Claim your writing space and time as your own and let nothing (except a true emergency*) come between you and your daily word count.

7. Set some writing goals and get to work. I do suggest word-count goals over time-based goals when writing. Start small if you’re beginning. Go for maybe 300 words, then raise your game as you become more comfortable with the process. Write every day. No excuses. Please commit to writing every day, then do it. In no time, you won’t be able to imagine a day without putting pen to paper. 

 

  • Note: No one is allowed to distract me from my writing, and — unless I am truly sick or consciously choose to take a day off to recharge my batteries (it happens), I put words on the page every day.  And while I’m writing, I remind everyone in the house that ‘someone had better be bleeding’ even to consider interrupting. I kid you not!
  • More on vision boards soon. I find that creating — at a minimum — an annual vision board keeps me focused and motivated to stray on track with making things happen personally and professionally.