This is kind of a common question, but it's good to revisit it once in a while. The best thing is to steal other people's rituals. So what are your best rituals for writing? How do you get into it?

My two new rituals (as of June) are to make lists and to use a timer. Both are magic and the output increases.

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Never thought about this as a ritual, but you're quite right.  I never let a day pass without visiting the last sentence I wrote.  Usually it means that I at least remind myself where I am in the novel, even if I don't have time to continue just then.  I also walk every morning.  At that time, I plot the story forward.  Early on, experience showed that interrupting a novel or story could spell its death.

That's a great way to do it. I used to do the same thing in the car, but thankfully now the commute's shorter. I wonder how that's affected my life.


I'm certainly going to stean the last sentence trick. I think Hemingway did a version of that.

I used to have a lot of rituals but now only have one: Spring into action when the toddler falls asleep! (Or else take a nap with him.)

Ha, that's great. And I bet that sticks with your for the rest of your life -- being able to write in the small spaces in between.

Like Ingrid, I never thought of this as a ritual, but I do like to read yesterday's work before starting on new stuff today. Only in drafts, though. Once I'm editing, I jump right in. 

Now that you got me thinking about it, I do have what I guess is a ritual for a final draft. 

Day One: Read Chapter 1. That's all. Just read it.

Day Two: Edit Chapter 1, read Chapter 2.

Day Three: Line edit on paper Chapter 1 (absolute last time I'll look at it), edit Chapter 2, read Chapter 3

Day Four: Line edit on paper Chapter 2, edit Chapter 3, read Chapter 4

And on and on until I'm done. Then, and only then, do I type THE END, because by then--after the draft, several edits, and this process--I am usually well and truly sick of it.

That last sentence is so true.  I edit each chapters as I go, several times.  That means my final edit is faster than Dana's.  (At least I hope so:  I'll soon start on another)

Great ritual for revision!! I really like the process of only reading it. That's a good, effective technique.


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