Writing Rituals: Pre-Work Rituals for Writers

Man walking away on an empty desolate raod

The hardest part of writing work — or any kind of work — is getting started. This is where procrastination happens. It can take a lot of effort to move past the initial resistance when it comes to tackling challenging work, even if you find it rewarding.

What if you could overcome that resistance by distracting your brain with something easy, pleasant, and approachable? And what if that very distraction led you to naturally and comfortably settle into work? That’s what a pre-work ritual can accomplish.

In Part 1, we explored ritual in a broad sense: what it means, how it can serve you, and how to create it. Here in Part 2, we dig deeper to explore specific rituals that can help you transition to a productive headspace. These rituals will energize you and prepare you to get work done.

Mason Currey, editor of the book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work, presents a comforting and alluring look at a variety of daily schedules and quirky habits of famous creatives: the book never provides any recommendation or prescription, but as you read you get the notion that if you mimic their behavior, you may produce something great.

Finding the similarities between the habits of many different artists can be revealing. You can adopt the common elements that great writers have used to spur themselves to sit down and write. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.

Take a Walk

When is the last time you went for a good old-fashioned walk?

Some of the world’s most creative people took daily walks, and credited it as the source of their inspiration: Darwin, Beethoven, Mahler, Britten, Kierkegaard, Satie, and Tchaikovsky, among others. It’s said that Immanuel Kant’s neighbors could set their clocks by his 3:30 p.m. walk.

Tchaikovsky took a 45-minute walk in the morning, and a 2-hour walk after lunch, never cutting either one short if he could help it.

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This article is part of the Writing Rituals series.

Series Table of Contents:

  1. Writing Rituals: How Writers Can Use Rituals to Create Intention
  2. Writing Rituals: Pre-Work Rituals for Writers (This Article)
  3. Writing Rituals: Managing Life Outside Work
  4. Writing Rituals: Getting Inspired
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Kitty Navias

As a freelance and fiction writer, blogger, musician, photographer, self-development and journaling coach, and co-host of the Anywhereist Podcast, Kitty Navias calls herself a “kit of all trades.” This year, she’s starting a new series on ADHD Productivity. Find out more at kittynavias.com.

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