I do not have any daily writing rituals, though I do find that after lunch I will grab my pen, and whatever notebook that has struck my fancy for the time being, and go off to do whatever needs to be done in the hopes that inspiration will strike. It rarely does as I hang laundry, water something, do dreaded vacuuming, or hand washing my delicates. It’s most predictably the afternoon that I have my notebook and I’m lost or feeling lost if I don’t have the opportunity to jot something down. Rarely does anything ever go in the notebook du jour, but I feel more opportunistic if it is there.
My one writing habit that has become and is predictable for almost five months now is writing every Saturday morning with a group of ladies, or just one, depending on who shows up at the library. I only write for about a half an hour, but I feel most productive with that short period of time. I know it will be completely uninterrupted and I can scribble as fast as I want and not have to worry about anyone calling for me. The ideas that get churned out in those brief thirty minutes leave me amazed, though I rarely write something that connects to anything else. In the five months I have started a lot of story ideas, and some have gone on to occupy two or three Saturdays, but then they get set by the wayside or forgotten.
I’m reading this book from the library about artists and their lives and what kind of made them create. Daily Rituals by Mason Currey, takes a look at artists of all walks; sculptors, composers, painters, filmographers, and yes, writers. From Mozart to P.G. Wodehouse. These artists have interesting and unique rituals that helped them through the day. And the recurring theme seems to be plenty of caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes, and even amphetamines for several. Lack of sleep, plenty of walks, and yes, someone else to do the laundry. (I seriously want someone else to do the laundry and cleaning and cooking. How can I create when I have life to do that takes up more time than it should? Where is Sven!????
That being said, the book is insightful. Clearly I’m not as crazy as I thought I was, because some of these people are. Granted, normal is all relative, but there is weird, then there is just stark raving mad. I jest, some, because I actually can understand the plight of some of these writers and artists. I like to write late at night when the world is asleep. I carry notebooks with me wherever I go. I jot down things on random scraps of paper that clutter up my space and I’m so organized that right at this moment, I’ve lost one of my favorite fountain pens and I don’t even know where to start. Clutter and mayhem are somewhat a prerequisite for being artistic…. depending of course on whether or not you have OCD or not. I have my moments, but they tend to range from making sure the copper pots are shiny (who cares if there is a pile of dishes) to getting that one spot off of the wall. Don’t ask, I don’t get it.
Rituals can either make or break a writer I think. I think it all depends on the person in question. I don’t thrive on rituals, other than maybe having at least 2 cups of coffee in the morning. But I have to be flexible. I have learned to take the moments I can get them…. like right now on a Sunday I’m writing in a very weird place but it’s quiet and I cannot be bothered. I won’t tell you where it is.
But I’m learning my rituals are to take time when I can. Maybe if I ever make it as a writer I can create my own weird ritual, but for now I’ll leave it to the pros.
I do recommend Daily Rituals by Mason Currey. The book is fascinating and you can read little blips here and there. Like short stories. Check it out. As an artist, I don’t think you will be disappointed.