Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Humans, they say, are creatures of habit. For me, that’s very true.

Every weekday morning, I smack the snooze button the same number of times before climbing out of bed. I move through all the steps of getting ready for work--showering and dressing, eating breakfast and brushing teeth--with one eye on the clock and split-second timing. I drive to work by the same route each day and even park in the same spot in the parking area.

You’ll have to agree, won’t you, that I’m a creature of habit?

But someone asked me something recently that got my habit-loving, routine-riddled mind working.

The conversation goes something like this:

“So, what are your writing rituals?” she asks.

“Huh?” (My brilliant response.)

“What do you do to get yourself going when it’s time to write? How do you invoke the Muse?” She sends me a dirty look. “As I said before, what are your writing rituals?”

(No response from me at all this time.)

Her foot’s tapping the floor. “Do you light a candle? Burn incense? Play certain music? Drink three-quarters of a cup of coffee and eat two-point-five cookies after you turn on the computer?” Her face is turning quite red now. “Do you use blue ink on yellow notepads exclusively? Wear your oldest bathrobe and fuzzy slippers while you’re editing? Do you knock three times on the doorframe before entering your writing space?”

“Uhh... Umm...” (I’m floundering, can you tell?) “Well...does writing e-mail count?”

She looks down her nose at me, and I want to sink into the floor.

I am so ashamed.

I am so not worthy.

Habit-acquiring creature that I am, how can I not have rituals???

All I know now is, I’ve got to get some! And naturally, I’m turning to you all for help, which is becoming another habit of mine, isn’t it? LOL

Reading about the rituals you’ve developed--related to writing or simply to life in general--might be the trigger I need to come up with a few of my own.

And that will give me an entire list of things to say the next time someone asks, “What are your writing rituals?”

So, please...feed my new habit!

All my best to you,



Barbara White Daille


Robin Kaye said...

Hi Barbara~

I wish I could help you out here. I've always been the crazy busy person who writes in bits and spurts. I don't have time for rituals. The only thing that works for me is to get my butt in the chair or in my case, get my feet on the treadmill and work--it also helps if I don't play solitaire and avoid my email.

Barbara White Daille said...

Hi, Robin,

I'm with you--getting my butt in the chair is what's worked for me.

I managed to wean myself of the solitaire habit a few years ago. But I'll be interested to see what rituals people share.

Thanks for stopping by.


shelley galloway said...

Hi Barbara,

Rituals? Hmm. I always check email and play solitaire. (good for you for breaking that habit!)
Oh, and I always write in my office~that's probably the main ritual. I don't decorate, read, hang out or do much of anything in this room except for write. That helps the most. Well, that and lots of deadlines!

good topic!


Barbara White Daille said...


Breaking the solitaire habit was tough--I once even took the game off my computer entirely. But then I panicked and put it back. LOL

I'm pretty much like you, only writing and doing e-mail in my office. (I'm assuming you do your e-mail there on the computer, too.)

As for lots of deadlines, I *always* do better with them. Am hoping for lots more soon. ;-)

Thanks for posting!


Edie said...

I'm not alone! I'm with the right people. I'm the same as all of you. (Only instead of solitaire, I play online Hangman. I tell myself it's sharpening my brain.)

I'm going to change this, though. Next week, I'm getting up at 6am and I want to spend two hours on my writing instead of bits and pieces. Only then will I check out my internet. I'm determined to make that work.

Carol said...

Everyday is differenet depending on my schedule. A normal day though is to check e-mail, then shut the program down. Same with YaHoo IM. Both time consuming and ms achievement robbers. So now, I pull up the ms first thing, a reminder of why I logged on the computer. Spend no more than 15-30 minutes in the morning on e-mails, etc., then get back into writing. Not much of a ritual, more eliminating writing time grabbers. Oh, I do fill a coffee cup and make sure my toes are warm.

Barbara White Daille said...

Whoo-hoo, Edie!! That sounds like a plan! And I know you can do it. You be sure and let me know how it goes, okay? ;-)

As for Hangman, I think that definitely is good for your brain cells.

Solitaire...? Hmm...eye-hand coordination, maybe? LOL


Barbara White Daille said...

Carol, sounds like you've got the right idea--I'm glad it's working so well for you!

And you're so brave to shut down those programs. LOL


Mary Marvella said...

Huh? Well, uh ..... Before I started working with a group blog as the mama, I wrote on command, my own command. That was also before I started racking up the rejections.

Hmmmmm, I think I need new commands. Could I have a time management problem?

Barbara White Daille said...



I won't say yes or no, so often happens...maybe mama needs some time of her own! Ya think? LOL


Amy Atwell said...

Does slugging down a cup of coffee count?

Barbara White Daille said...

Amy - I say, if you do it regularly...and not decaf... (groan) Okay, that was bad! It's late. I'm tired....

Seriously, if you tend to slug down that coffee every time you head to the computer, then yes, I'd say it counts. ;-)