Writing Routines: Rituals to Get Started
While my academic writing is often all over the place, I have also developed several ideas to put myself in writing mode.
The rituals can be introduced independently or combined, but I believe that in order for them to work and be detected as a signal for ‘yuhu, writing time has come’ even on bad days, consistency is key (see tip number 3 here). Most of them are really short (1 or 2 minutes), but some others may take longer, as I have learnt to trust myself, and to see this moment as my preparation phase instead of procrastination (yes, the thoughts you have about it make a difference).
Rituals to get started may include:
- starting a playlist (always the same one, so that the first song puts you in writing mode; in a writing workshop I gave we collectively experienced it as a very powerful experience, as the repetition of the same song functioned as a hint)
- lighting a candle (this one works really well for me for some reason)
- grounding yourself with a few breaths or a very short meditation (not my thing to be honest, but I’m sure it may help many of you!)
- taking a picture of your room / the library / the café / the train you’re working in: I really enjoy doing that, as I get a small collection of all the places where I wrote: here and there, but also ici et là ou là 🙂
- decluttering your desk and/or your desktop (I looove doing this, but for me this is rather a closing ritual to end the day)
- writing a few words that will accompany you for the day (your writing goal, an inspirational quote, an affirmation… I work well with ‘You can do this!’ or ‘One step at the time’)
- preparing yourself a beverage (and committing to not standing up before you’ve drunk it)
- launching any app that will help you track your progress (Forrest, Pomodoro) (I personally do not do well *at all* when putting myself under pressure and ‘measuring my productivity’, so just check if/how that works for you)
- journaling on your piece of writing, especially by answering the following question: ‘What for?’, or: ‘Why does my writing matter today?’ (see here for journaling prompts)