Today I wanted to share some of my writing rituals. The things that tell my brain that it’s time to be creative. It’s time to get in the flow.
You could try some of these out for yourself!
I find that the routine of doing these writing rituals helps me focus. These things just grew very naturally but now, rather like Palov’s Dogs, my behaviour changes when I set myself up in this way. I’ve conditioned myself, which isn’t to say I can’t write when I don’t have all of the things below, but I perform better when I do.
So what are these writing rituals?
- Incense or a scented candle. If I’m feeling reluctant to start work I will use an incense stick as a timer. I light it, start typing, and I know in 15 minutes or so I can stop. More often than not I don’t stop though, because sometimes it’s just the sitting down and starting that’s the problem. I find the scent helps me block out the fact I’m working from home too, there is always a million other things I could be doing, but if I feel like I’m not at home then I can’t do them can I?! Yes, it’s basically tricking yourself to get the work done.
- Snacks. I have a little dish of pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts and sometimes even fennel seeds beside my laptop. This means I don’t get distracted by hunger because I’ve always something to nibble on. At certain times of the month, this is more likely to be dark chocolate, but I find the nuts and seeds do stave of the hunger pangs for longer.
- Silence or an atmospheric playlist. I prefer total quiet when creative writing, which means the house has to be empty other than myself. If I can’t have quiet, the next best thing is a moody, instrumental playlist or something like A Soft Murmur where you can set your own background noise, hello thunderstorms!
- Earl Grey tea. There’s something again (the smell thing) that takes me away from where I am, perhaps it’s the bergamot.
- Warmth, yes I cannot write if I’m too cold. Big cardigans and scarves come out in winter time, even cosy beanie hats, and this year I’m seriously considering some fingerless gloves!
- Phone on silent and turned over so it is face down. I will sometimes move it out of my eyeline too, otherwise, the temptation is there waiting for the, “just 5 minutes on Instagram” moment. Which as we all know is never five…
How do you stay focused on your work?