Writing rituals

The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
Chantelle.S.
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Writing rituals

Post by Chantelle.S. » July 20th, 2011, 8:32 pm

More often than not, I'll find myself procrastinating either by indulging in forums, or facebook, or fanfiction, before cracking down and actually writing. This can last from minutes to days (to weeks, even). My latest craze of procrastination is to find one of my older novels and submit the first page for critique on this here forum. But even with that I'm procrastinating by making a new thread to see if anyone else has a kind of routine procrastination.
So, that's part of my writing ritual. I procrastinate at differing intensities first and foremost. Then I'll make myself a cup of coffee, setup a little spot in front of our fireplace, and write until the welts on my fingers grow to marble size.

Does anyone else have a writing ritual? Please share :D
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Mike R
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Re: Writing rituals

Post by Mike R » July 20th, 2011, 9:01 pm

My ritual is: get the hell out of the house. I go somewhere usually a coffee shop or the library.

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Sanderling
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Re: Writing rituals

Post by Sanderling » July 20th, 2011, 9:14 pm

That totally sounds like me, Chantelle. Look, in fact, here I am!

Also, I always need to have a freshly-made tea before I can get started. Sometimes, if I get really sucked into writing the story, I forget to drink it and it goes cold; but it needs to be there. ;)
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Re: Writing rituals

Post by washingtonwriter1968 » July 21st, 2011, 1:06 am

Oh! Do I ever know what you mean. More often than not my procrastination ritual involves my writing craft books I have recently bought. I will start to write and then think I should work harder to understand my Character. So instead of writing the actual book I am going on and on about what she did before the actual book and how she felt when this happened and how she feels about what I am writing now in the book. It is silly. I type the book; but hand write the other stuff.

I always have to have my Coffee Mocha of course and no sitting at the desk; curl up in my bed and drink coffee and write so that takes time.
Another issue is OK I need the right music for this.

But my biggest procrastination ritual by far is research. I spend at least 30 minutes to an hour everyday looking up the most detailed stuff Like this....
My Characters favorite Jewelry is a Birthstone bracelet which has every family member's Birthstone on it. This meant I had to give all my MC's family members a birthday. This in turn led me to try to have that birthstone say something about their character. So I ended up doing 3 hours research on what the stones mean so I could give a birthday that would have some meaning! :lol: Then once I realized what I had done,I had almost blown half a day!

And, By the way just to let you know My Writing Fingers have permanent callouses exactly were I hold a pencil or pen from writing so much! :!: :lol:
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CharleeVale
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Re: Writing rituals

Post by CharleeVale » July 21st, 2011, 1:30 am

I just have to make myself DO it. For some reason, starting is the hardest part, once I get a couple sentences, I'm usually good.

I have to have my writing playlist going. I have to have some kind of drinkage. I also am more productive when I'm out of the house. (Now that I've comandeered my father's iPad that he never uses, that's a lot easier!)

I don't know....I don't have a set ritual, but I do have things I do.

I'll think about this and come back.

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DelicatePrincess
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Re: Writing rituals

Post by DelicatePrincess » July 21st, 2011, 3:10 am

Fanfiction is my greatest (and most embarrassing) weakness. First I'm just going to check for updates to my favorite stories before I settle into writing for the night. Then I start looking at other pieces my favorite authors have written. Then I start looking at stories they have recommended. I once went an entire month without writing because I became a fanfic addict (true story).

My nightly ritual involves waiting for everyone and the dog to go to bed, cleaning the house (because a dirty house IS SO DISTRACTING!), cracking open a monster energy drink (or as I call it: my writing juice), followed by surfing all my favorite author/agent/writing blogs (this kills about an hour) and then, possibly, I start to write.

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taylormillgirl
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Re: Writing rituals

Post by taylormillgirl » July 21st, 2011, 7:13 am

The internet is my crutch. Whenever I hit the tiniest stumbling block in my ms, I click that little blue e and go online. God only knows how many thousands of hours I've wasted checking my empty inbox or lurking on forums.

If you're like me, I have one word for you: Freedom. It's a software program (available for Mac and Windows) that will lock you off the web for whatever amount of time you specify. (I usually write in 1 hour increments, then reward myself with checking my email). Anyway, there's a free trial version that gives you 5 uses, then it's only $10 to buy. Best friggin' $10 I've spent in ages.
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Writecastlesinthesky
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Re: Writing rituals

Post by Writecastlesinthesky » July 21st, 2011, 9:29 am

I think I'm behind. Procrastination, what I call my 'meditation phase' of writing, doesn't usually involve online temptations. Maybe I'm not plugged in enough yet. Maybe I'll start a thread of favorite sites so I can collect all ya'lls recommendations. When in my 'meditation phase' I clean the house make grocery lists or start texting friends I suddenly feel guilty for not talking to in however many days, weeks, months.

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Sanderling
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Re: Writing rituals

Post by Sanderling » July 21st, 2011, 10:09 am

CharleeVale wrote:I also am more productive when I'm out of the house. (Now that I've comandeered my father's iPad that he never uses, that's a lot easier!)
Oh, you lucky girl! I wish I could commandeer an iPad off someone. ;) I have a laptop which I tote around everywhere (a whole lot easier to do now than it was with my desktop!); right now, for instance, I'm sitting on our screened-in porch listening to the birds sing in the garden and the crickets chirping in the meadow and the wind blowing through the treetops. Which is a lot nicer than sitting behind a desk someplace. But even the laptop can feel a bit bulky sometimes. Though I think I'd miss having the external keyboard.
taylormillgirl wrote:If you're like me, I have one word for you: Freedom. It's a software program (available for Mac and Windows) that will lock you off the web for whatever amount of time you specify. (I usually write in 1 hour increments, then reward myself with checking my email). Anyway, there's a free trial version that gives you 5 uses, then it's only $10 to buy. Best friggin' $10 I've spent in ages.
I've heard of this, but haven't known anyone who actually used it. Glad to hear it works for you! I've taken to turning off the wireless on my laptop when I need to crack down, but it's still too easy to turn back on again. The trouble with the software, though, would be getting around to turning it on. ;)
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polymath
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Re: Writing rituals

Post by polymath » July 21st, 2011, 10:32 am

My writing rites include recognizing I procrastinate when I'm in doubt. The words aren't coming forth as surely as expected, why? An intuition nags at the back of my mind. It grows into an aesthetic hunch I'm missing something. My plan isn't as well-developed as needed. There's a technique I'm trying for I haven't got ahold of. Things are out of order, or worse, my organizing principle is shy of the mark.

Time for some thought exercises, mental composition, investigation, research, exploring the cloud consciousness for inspiration, getting down to the nitty-gritty and just by Providence rolling up my sleeves and digging in with some old-fashioned elbow grease. Maybe I need a bigger hammer, a coarser grade of sandpaper, a toothpick instead of a jackhammer. Maybe I need to sand off the rough edges to see the finished project in my mind. Maybe I need to research how the old timers solved a construction problem. How the latest greatest solved theirs. Maybe I need to come up with a solution not tried before. Maybe I need to finesse a mountain into moving a nanometer fraction. Maybe I just need a hatchet and a scalpel.

A housewright carpenter acquaintance describes the process thus: Measure with a micrometer, mark with a crayon, cut with a blunt axe, and see if it fits. If it's close, tweak it till it's right enough. If it's off, start over. If it's right on the money, move on to the next task.

One rite I have no control over. I've realized I start off with a goal, write some, intuitively start doing some thing I need to do I am not conscious of doing but recently learned while studying some thing else. Later, I have an ah-hah moment, see what I've done, and then can refine it into its best evolution.

My latest rite focuses on developing methods for surmounting my blind spots. We humans see the faults in others more clearly than in ourselves. So I've taken to putting myself in the perspectives of others so I can see my faults, in life and in writing. What will readers think about this or that? Is it clear enough? Are the gaps close enough together to bridge readily yet artfully engage readers' creative visions and their interests? Is the participation mystique strong enough to take them away from their miserable alpha world existences? And so on.
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washingtonwriter1968
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Re: Writing rituals

Post by washingtonwriter1968 » July 21st, 2011, 11:38 am

My writing rites include recognizing I procrastinate when I'm in doubt. The words aren't coming forth as surely as expected, why? An intuition nags at the back of my mind. It grows into an aesthetic hunch I'm missing something.
You said here in these statements exactly what I was trying to describe. I love the next part because it gives me some hints on where to look.

For instance, I recently got an amazing book called Plot versus Character by Jeff Gerke.

This book is amazing :!: I had stopped writing for two days in order to read and put my MC through the character paces. I am so glad I did it. My writing of my present WIP was done solely on instinct. I am a Plot Driven Writer. I usually skip over a great many details in my characters lives in favor for the face paced story to emerge. As a result I was getting that......
An intuition nags at the back of my mind. It grows into an aesthetic hunch I'm missing something.
My MC was not "3-D" enough is what I ended up realizing, she needed to be developed more. So now, after having chosen to round her out some, I am doing a major rewrite. I have just finished the rewrite on Prelude and Chapter One and I am so happy with the changes.

Just wanted to say; I too get that little feelings of something is wrong, and I too feel like it helps to question if that is why I am procrastinating.
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sheribomb
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Re: Writing rituals

Post by sheribomb » July 21st, 2011, 11:55 am

Oh, man. I can procrastinate on the internet like it's my business. Twitter, Facebook, email, Google+, RSS feeds, blogs, reddit, forums, webcomics, and yes, even fanfiction. When I'm well-behaved, I can keep it to a minimum. Sometimes I'm able to tune out of the internet for days and instead get sucked into a good book or book series (most recently, Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire). Or, I get sucked into marathon TV-watching (or Netflix-watching, since I canceled my cable). All this can result in dark days when no writing gets done.

To combat all these fascinating, distracting things, I set goals and make lists. Currently, my goal is to either write 1,000 words per day or edit one novel chapter per day (depending on which project I'm working on). To keep myself honest, I keep a log where I record what I did, which makes me constantly want to one-up myself. So, a typical entry would be: "Wed, 7/20 - edited chapters 20-22 of TLA". Then, it gets really embarrassing when nothing gets done and I have to make an entry that says, "Thurs, 7/21 - nothing. Played on the internet all day."

My list is called my "Making Things" list, which I think helps me battle one of the biggest struggles creators have, which is fauxcrastination. This is when you're reading excellent articles on writing, or talking about writing, or reading books that are of high literary caliber and are thus very writerly, or something similar. It helps to remind myself that all that stuff is really important and helpful, but it's still not actually making something, which is what I'm trying to do. :)

As far as a ritual goes, I need to get my writing done between waking up and going back to sleep, so I just squeeze it in somewhere! Usually on my laptop, either at my desk, on my couch, or at a coffee shop. Sometimes, I'll write by hand on the bus or subway, or whenever I have a free moment. I don't drive much and it turns out that public transit is a great way for me to squeeze a little extra productivity in when I'm really busy!

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dios4vida
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Re: Writing rituals

Post by dios4vida » July 21st, 2011, 11:59 am

Procrastination should be my middle name! I'm a pro at it.

My rituals start after breakfast and petting the cat. That's when I check my favorite websites (shirt.woot.com and teefury.com cause I love crazy tees, National Geographic Daily Dozen and Photo of the Day because I love beautiful or inspiring photography) then it's (pet the cat) over to the Bransforums! I waste sooo much time around here. For instance it's already almost 9, I've been on here for 45 minutes and haven't done a thing (except pet the cat). Then I (pet the cat) usually open up my WIP and stare at it for a while. (Pet the other cat.) If I'm lucky I'll start writing then. If not, I (pet the cat) start going through my favorite blogs. That'll take forever. (Pet the cat.) Hopefully by then I can actually start writing for real.

Oh, and I usually forget my tea or coffee (depending on my mood) so I have to go make it now. And yep, see that empty spot over there? That's where my tea/coffee is supposed to be. I have to go make myself some tea now.

(Pet the cat on my way.)
taylormillgirl wrote:The internet is my crutch. Whenever I hit the tiniest stumbling block in my ms, I click that little blue e and go online. God only knows how many thousands of hours I've wasted checking my empty inbox or lurking on forums.
This is so me!! It doesn't matter if I checked two minutes ago. I know for a fact that I have no new emails, nothing new has happened on Facebook, and most everyone on the Bransforums is at work so no new posts will have come up. And yet, I'm still checking. It's a compulsion.
Last edited by dios4vida on July 21st, 2011, 12:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Writing rituals

Post by Sommer Leigh » July 21st, 2011, 12:05 pm

I only have one writing ritual and that's to read from the beginning of whatever chapter I'm working on before I start writing new (or the chapter before if I'm starting a new chapter.) It gets my head in the game, I know what the tone was when I last left off, and I end up doing a lot word usage, sentence structure, and grammar editing during this time. It makes editing WAY easier later. Sometimes I read more than one chapter back if I feel like I need to before starting.
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Re: Writing rituals

Post by sheribomb » July 21st, 2011, 12:14 pm

dios4vida wrote:Oh, and I usually forget my tea or coffee (depending on my mood) so I have to go make it now. And I mean literally, I have to go make myself some tea now.

(Pet the cat.)
Ha! I seriously forgot to mention all the time I spend petting the cats! I also forgot that I started making myself a cup of tea half an hour ago and it's been sitting there steeping all this time... Oops! :D

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