Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog–Writing Rituals

July is here! Which means it’s time for another trip with the traveling blog (I hope you’re packed and ready to go).

Zoe posed this month’s question:

What are your writing rituals? (You know, those quirky things you just GOTTA do before you can sit down and write?)

For me, it really depends what setting I’m in. If I’m heading to the bookstore, then I have to get a Dunkin Donuts iced coffee and a bagel (OR a Starbucks frapp if I don’t make a DD run). If I’m home, then I have to situate the pillows just so on the couch so I can sit with my laptop on my lap, but have my legs stretched out.

Music is a must. I have several playlists and albums on my iPod and iPhone. The type of music I listen to varies from movie soundtracks, to New Age, to Alternative Rock, to classical. I also frequent my “stations” on Pandora (Three Days Grace and Evanescence are the main two I listen to). Music energizes me and helps me focus. Without it, fatigue overtakes me and distraction stagnates any efforts at progress.

Once I actually get the Word document open, I like to review the last few pages (or maybe a chapter, cuz I tend to write short chapters–5 to 10 pages) or “fix” something that’s been bugging me since the last time I wrote.

What’s interesting–well, it’s interesting to me, anyway–is that when I write, I envision the scene in front of me, picturing the characters, the setting, the weather, and everybody’s movements. I pay attention to sounds, smells, even taste (even if I don’t comment on them).

The tricky part for me is being mindful about description. It seems clear to me, but then I forget a reader might not picture the same thing I do. Yeah. So as I write this post, I realize I need to enhance my writing with part of my ritual. I need to detail the scenes better, capture ALL the senses, and incorporate some tunes, man!!!

Be sure to join us for the rest of the month as Lydia takes over the driver’s seat next week, followed by Danyelle, then Zoe takes us home.

Before you go, what rituals to you do before you write? What happens if you don’t do your ritual? (I know for me it’s like working out without a warm-up first. It shocks my brain and makes the whole experience a LOT less satisfying.)


7 comments on “Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog–Writing Rituals

  1. Lydia Kang says:

    Nice! It’s so cool to see what you do when you write! We have a lot in common, though!

  2. Danyelle says:

    Very interesting. 🙂 I like how you point out that just diving in is like working without the warm up. Have your rituals evolved over time?

    • I started out by handwriting the first draft. Turns out I type faster than I write, so I gave that up a long time ago! Music has been around since the beginning–I used tunes to study too, so I’m used to having noise and actually focus more with it than without it.

  3. Mayowa says:

    I can’t do without my music either. My main quirk is that I write best when I am sitting at my favorite table in the local Starbucks. It’s very strange (and sometimes annoying) but it just doesnt feel as good anywhere else.

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. Yanno, I used to HAVE to write in a completely silent house. Now, however, I do find that music, stereo’d in to my ears via a cushy set of noise-canceling earphone cans, is AWESOME for shutting me away in the world of the novel. Great post!! (And I LOVE the idea of writing while reclined!!)

  5. Indigo says:

    For me some kind of energy drink is crucial (Monster, Rockstar). Otherwise I’m flagging. Most of the time, I’m so invested in the story I forget to eat. Keeping a breakfast bar near the computer reminds me to eat.

    Oh, and without fail I MUST take something out of the freezer for dinner. Otherwise it’s take-out again. Once I sit down I’m in the zone and forget I’m supposed to even fix food for the significant other. (Hugs)Indigo

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