Rituals of Writing

Every job has a set of tasks that need to be done to complete the job to your satisfaction. You have a goal to accomplish, often with a time frame in mind. You need to have your work tools ready at hand to be used, you need to be at the right location, and you might have to have some help lined up in case you run into any problems. Once you have all this lined up, you are ready to start. Hopefully all will go as you planned and your results will be everything you hoped for.
 thQA9LL7NIFor an author, writing is a job just like any other job. Our tools are just a little different, that’s all. We need our writing medium, be it paper or computer. Pens are always on hand for jotting notes as we compose. Some of us may use more technical items like a voice recorder or even a voice computer program where we can speak our words out loud and they “magically” appear on the screen.
But the most important tool that we need is our imagination. Somehow our thought have to be reigned in and put into some kind of logical order so that we can express them to others. There are some authors out there who can just sit down and start composing coherent thoughts and get their story easily down.
Then there are others, like me, who need to go through a warm up processes.
Some may do a quick bit of exercise to get the juices flowing. Or maybe a spot of peaceful meditation before they pick up their pen. For me, I need to make sure that all of my other day-to-day tasks are either done or out of sight to insure that I am not distracted.

m&m's bowl
I think that if you asked most authors, you would find that there are certain items that they need to have within easy reach to help them with their work. It might be a cup  of hot coffee, or a glass of wine. A plate of healthy snacks might need to be on desk next to them. After all writing can be hard work, and we need to keep up our strength. My must have for writing time is a cup of coffee or a large ice tea (depending on the weather) and a dish of M&Ms (preferably dark chocolate).
Then there is the atmosphere. For some there needs to be quite, no outside distractions.  There are those who write only in a strict office setting in front of a desk, in a comfortable office chair.   Other’s thrive in chaos, and get their best work done amongst the sounds of TV & kids. Most seem to need some kind of background music. My taste run towards new age or instrumentals with nature sounds in the background. I actually do my best writing in my car, parked along the river, or on a towel by the beach.


But not matter what the tools, what the setting, what necessary fortifications, or even what the atmosphere; the author has a job to do.  That job is to create a story that will keep the reader’s attention and give enjoyment for as long as they read along.

I wanna write, I wanna play….


I wanna write, I wanna play…and with a view like this can you blame me?  Can’t you just picture sitting on this dock with a book in hand or possibly a lazy afternoon of fishing?

But it’s not that easy, is it?  Life makes many demands on our time and between the important parts like family and work, it’s sometimes hard to find even a few minutes to yourself.  Extra time to write, or a few minutes of quiet almost seem impossible to find.

That’s why I think I am so lucky.  This view is from an account on my “real” job, and it’s like this all day: either a river view or a beach view!   My mind can wander, allowing me to form ideas, plots and outlines as I work.

I recently starting using the voice memo app on my phone and record as I go; random thoughts that can later be formed into stories, or just erased because they just don’t seem worthy when I play the memo back.

There are so many beautiful parks and beaches in the area where I live and work, so I make it a point to stop for lunch or even a 15 minute break to spend time writing on my ever present laptop or reading before I head home for the day.

Because, you know what happens when I get home? Life happens.  Family members need love and attention, a dog needs to be played with, cats need some cuddling.  And then all the other stuff falls in line demanding to claim even more of my time.

Before I know it, dinner is over, the news is on and I am anxious to get to my laptop.  So here I am, trying to get some writing in for the evening: and the cat walks across the key board, the dog is waiting at the door to go out for a walk, my son is looking for a snack and my husband just smiles at me.

Guess I’ll have to wait to write until everyone else has gone to bed: my writing time starts around 10:30 pm.  Until then…