How do you start your writing day, with a boring routine or a helpful ritual?
If you’re like me, it probably varies.
Oh, unless I have an early morning meeting or some other unusual event, I tend to do roughly the same things every morning. Get up, feed the cat, unlock the buildings where I live, make coffee, spend a bit of time reading, mediate for 30 minutes, etc. etc. etc.
It’s my attitude that mostly determines my mood which governs my approach to the moment. I want to be in an optimistic, happy frame of mine because it’s way more fun and it makes the writing and coaching go so much better then they do when I’m gloomy or discouraged. I find a helpful ritual or two can make all the difference. Here are some of the helpful rituals I’ve developed over time:
- Years ago I bought this wonderful rug at a garage sale in the most expensive area of town. I bought it because I liked the look. When I got home, it really perked up my living room. Not only that it feels marvelous when I walk on it barefoot. It’s thick and dense. I’m usually without shoes and I’ve made a habit of noticing how good that run feels at least a couple of times a day. Sometimes I’ll just stand there and wiggle my toes in it.
- I water my tomatoes daily and talk with them. They often thank me with that wonderful smell of tomato plant they exude when they’re healthy. I also do some other gardening because it makes me feel good to do it and then to look at it as it grows. Come winter I find something else to do in the garden.
- Not quite a year ago I finally bought myself a good espresso maker, a DeLonghi America, Inc EC685M Dedica Deluxe espresso, Silver. Perfect coffee every time and making a cappuccino from my favorite Cafe Moto coffee is a most supportive helpful ritual! Yes, they ship.
Do you see how this kind of helpful ritual sets me up for several hours of productive writing?
Now, each one of these helpful rituals can also, if I’m not paying attention, become boring routines. I promise you I’ve let it happen that way more than once.
Boring routines are not conducive to good writing. Think about it. If you’re bored or annoyed, or unhappy with the neighbor’s dog, what will your writing be like? Maybe boring routines are best used for a strong opinion piece – which is okay, as long as you are aware of it and choose it.
That awareness and conscious choice is really what let’s you write something that moves the reader, which is what we all want.
Creating helpful ritual
Ritual isn’t hard to create. In one sense ritual is simply a habit of behavior. It’s what you bring to it that makes it count. Awareness, appreciation, gratitude and choice all work to generate the kind of helpful ritual that will make your writing and, really, your whole life easier and more enjoyable. Experiment. Create rituals that lift your spirit and start your creative juices.
Write well, and often,
Image Note: The title is CHRYSANTHEMUM | THE BAMBOO CURTAIN | JAPANESE ZEN. I practice Soto Zen which might be called Cultural Appropriation, maybe with permission. It’s not clear cut.