Day 12: The Ritual to Get You Writing

Giveaway Winners: On Dec. 20, I asked you for your word of the year, and offered two stuffies for giveaways. Congratulations to Deb Prewitt of and Marjorie from  Ladies, use the About tab to send me your mailing address and the inner critic stuffie will be on the way!

*     *     *     *    Day 12 slept past the one-minute past midnight auto-post by 18 hours, so today is going to be Day 12 and13:  If you have settled into a rhythm of writing, there is probably a set routine you’ve settled into. That routine is a ritual. Something you do everyday that creates an anticipation of journaling. If you write in the morning, it is the act that transforms you from sleepy-head to journaler.

Tea, coffee, hot water with lemon can all start your ritual.

A ritual doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated. It can involve just you or it can include making tea, watching the dawn, or feeding the cats. But your ritual cannot be casual, something to treat lightly. Your ritual carries you from one state to another–from not journaling to journaling–so focus is necessary.

To shape your ritual, turn your routine into mindful action. Get up, make tea? While the water is heating, notice the increasing heat in the kitchen. Take the tea leaves and breathe deeply the aroma of your tea. Use a cup you love. Heat the cup. None of this is done fast or without notice. Once your tea is brewing, get your journal and pen. Pour a cup of tea, settle into your writing space and begin.

Because writing is a spiritual practice for me, once I’m settled, I say a traditional thank you to the Creator for connecting my soul that wandered the universe at night,  to my body so I could wake up, and that I am ready to listen and worthy to create. Then I begin to write.

There are other steps that come first–I get up in the dark, drink some water while sitting on the edge of the bed, turn off my alarm, get up to go feed the cats. While the cats are doing their elaborate ritual of eating out of each others dishes and patrolling the patio, I sit down and write. I’m a coffee drinker, but it’s too early for coffee.

It’s too dark now to watch the dawn, but as the sun starts to move North and rises earlier, I will change the ritual and sit outside to write. A ritual may not be forever, but it is forever useful in starting your writing practice.

What ritual will you use to start your exploration?

Note: This weekend is Christmas Eve and Christmas. While I generally don’t post on weekends, I always post on Christmas Eve and Christmas for those who are alone and are looking for comfort. The days will continue.

Quinn McDonald is a writer who is exploring journaling with an ink-stained heart.