Day 12: The Ritual to Get You Writing

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*     *     *     *    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.

15 thoughts on “Day 12: The Ritual to Get You Writing

  1. Quinn although this post is about ritual, I’m struck most by the note you added at the end.
    It helps me understand that the guilt I’m feeling for recently stopping my blog is really about those who I know are home bound and counting on our writing.
    You are so generous, and it encourages others to be the same!
    Happy holidays to you and yours…

    • I read your blog and I can see you suffering over leaving it. But you aren’t really leaving, you are finding a new way. Finding something to do well rather than out of obligation is a great, true gift. What you offer freely is always more than what you offer under duress. Let’s talk soon, redhead!

  2. Quinn,
    I love your approach to your journal writing ritual, especially the part about the cats eating out of each other’s bowls…;). I understand fully the importance of creating a routine–a ritual– for your journaling practice. It can truly be something to look forward to and enhance your day.

    I have chosen your post, Day 12: The Ritual to Get You Writing, for the #JournalChat Pick of the Day on 12/26/11 for all things journaling on Twitter.
    I will post a link on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, my blog and website Refresh with Dawn Herring, and in Refresh Journal, my weekly e-journal:

    You’re welcome to join us for #JournalChat Live every Thursday at 5 EST/2 PST for all things journaling on Twitter; this week our topic is Journaling to Know Yourself.

    Thanks again for sharing your journaling ritual and your suggestions for creating one of our own.

    Be refreshed,
    Dawn Herring
    JournalWriter Freelance
    Host of #JournalChat Live and Links Edition on Twitter

  3. Quinn, thanks so much for all your support and inspiration in this endeavor. I am really enjoying doing a regular journal session. It’s not always a very profound entry, but it feels good to be expressing my thoughts and feelings on a daily basis anyway.

    My morning writing is becoming much more of a habit. Mine also involves feeding the cats while my coffee is brewing. Then I take my coffee into my art room, clear a space on my work surface (if there is a project in progress), and write. I find it a bit more challenging when my husband is home in the morning (like today), but I’m sure he will understand. So off I go now to do my writing with my 2nd cup of coffee.

    Happy holidays to all!!!

    • Each day will not be profound. The more you write, the more you discover about yourself. The more you open yourself up to discovery, the more you discover. It’s a process, not a miracle, but I know it works. That’s why I wanted to go back to it. I need to get back to the good stuff, and it dries up if you don’t write every day.

  4. I mentioned my night time meditation which brought me to the wimb a few days ago. I’ve written a poem about that womb experience, which is posted on my blog today, if anyone is interested to read it.
    This particular meditation and reflection thereafter has unlocked another piece of the puzzle and the mystery which is me for me.
    Happy Christmas to you Quinn, and to all those participating in this experience.
    Its The morning of Christmas Eve here in Ireland. I have a house full of young adults who came to party with my 18 year old son last night. Two sleeping in the kitchen when I got up. Although the house is a mess, and there’s tidying up to be done, it feels “alive”. Such good kids, they care about each other and display it. Hope for the future of mankind.

    • Isn’t it wonderful when you see your kids growing into kind, thoughtful adults? A blessing on you, for sure. I’m so glad your own puzzle is falling into place. It’s been a rich year so far for you!

  5. Quinn it is so kind of you to think of the lonely ones! Due to bad weather, my Saturday leaving has been postponed until Sunday. My tribe has scattered for Christmas, but luckily I have my church family to fall back on! Otherwise I might be freaking out about being lonely!

  6. A great lesson in mindfulness here. I know that I need to more in tune with the mindfulness of ritual. I do have a bit of ritual every evening before writing, and that has helped me. Thanks for keeping us all on track Quinn.

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