Writing Rituals

I usually write either early in the morning, with a hot cup of coffee at my side, or after exercising.  I have to kick the cats out of the room, turn on the fan, empty the litter box, and light a scented candle.  I might start with a poem or just a list of words and phrases on a page in Word.  My goal is simple: to fill the page.

Sometimes, a scan of topics in the paper or on the Internet allows me to garner some ideas.  However, I have to set a timer or I’ll lose myself in the Web.

It’s best if the house is empty, but I’m sure to tell my boyfriend if I don’t want to be distracted.  When I write, I almost fall into a trance, and I get really moody if I’m interrupted.  That’s why I send the cats out of the room.  (However, I’m not cruel.  They can come in if they need water or to use the litter box, of course.)

I’ve tried writing in coffee shops, but in general that doesn’t go well for me unless I’m writing about what I see in the coffee shop or it’s otherwise a source of inspiration.  I get really distracted by the grinding of beans, annoying music, and distracting people.  These are situations I might normally find funny, such as guys macking on girls, but when I’m writing, I’m serious.

I write for a solid three hours, and then I stop.  I usually get hungry at that point, and my coffee and water cups are dry.  After writing, I feel exhausted and elated.  I have DONE something!  I have a word count to show for my labor!  I have drained myself on the page!  And I am exhausted.

Where do you write?  What’s your ritual?

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About Em-dash Lady

Em-dash Lady enjoys creative writing most of all, but her interests include art forms from music to writing to visual art to indie films and so forth. She's especially interested in how the art forms influence each other and blend together. She's a creative writing teacher and writer who mostly writes memoir and poetry about her favorite activity, watching TV. I would say I'm kidding, but I'm not. Naps are also her favorite. Too many favorites to count! Enjoy following Em-dash Lady as she figures out how she fits in the ever-evolving world of art.
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4 Responses to Writing Rituals

  1. davidmcgowan says:

    During the week it’s hard for me to find much time to write as I work two jobs and am not home from 7.30am until after 6pm. I’ve had a lot of stuff to do for the release of my debut novel (which is next Tuesday), So that’s kept me busy of an evening too. But at the weekends I like to get up early and enjoy the peace and quiet, sit at my desk in my study at about 8am and write til about noon. I get lots of research time without compromising the time I also have to write. I love the weekends!

    • I understand about being busy, and, by the way, congrats on the debut of your novel! I’m a morning person, but I juggle this conflict: spend my more awake hours bright-eyed at the office or in front of the computer? For the sake of my livelihood at this point in my life, I choose the office. Because of that, I’ve had to be flexible in veering from my preferred writing times (except on weekends, as you said). Happy writing!

  2. Ira Wright says:

    Ms. Carson, I see we have some of the same rituals. I need complete silence in the house are my mind gets vey distracted. I don’t have to kick my dog out, I have a chair that sits right next to me and she hops in the chair and nap the entire time I’m in my computer room working.

    I’m not a real coffee person, but my Internet went out one day and I went up the street to the coffee house thinking I could get my assignments done there. Boy was I wrong, there was extremely too many distraction.

    • Oh, I get distracted so easily (too easily)! I used to use software called WriteRoom that hid the Internet and all other applications from me, making its word processor the only thing I could see. I didn’t love the WP, so I stopped using it, but the concept was great, and I’m sure there’s similar software out there.

      When I’m lucky, the cats will curl up on a chair, but, being cats, they prefer to be right in front of the monitor with their paws on my wrists. While this is cute, it’s not very conducive to getting work done.

      I totally agree with you about coffee shops. Once, I was the only patron in one, but the owners had brought in their baby, who was screaming. I felt like I couldn’t win and ended up laughing about the experience.

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