Writing Rituals: An Invitation to Your Muse


I recently taught a week long online workshop on writer’s block.  I asked the participants to share their writing rituals.  I was surprised (though I probably shouldn't have been) by the number of writers who sit down at their computers to write and first check their email and Facebook.  Responding to your emails and checking Facebook before you write is not a ritual--it is a routine. 

A writing ritual is a type of ceremony or rite.  It helps facilitate the transition between your everyday life and your writing life.  It is a specific set of activities designed to signal your subconscious that this is a special time set aside just for writing.  It is a call to your muse. It might be ringing a bell, putting on soft music, or saying a prayer. It does not have to be elaborate, but it should be something done with intent.

My ritual includes a short meditation and filling my writing coffee cup—my “Do North” coffee cup. So, as I sip my coffee out of my DO North mug, I embrace the action or the Doing of my true North and then I start to write.  It’s simple and quick, but helps me slip into the writer in me.


Do you have a writing ritual or is it a routine?  I’d love to hear how you start your writing sessions.



Mary Jo Guglielmo is writer and intuitive life strategist. She helps clients take the action to live their true north.
For more information check out  www.donorth.biz   

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16 comments:

  1. Mary Jo, I *don't* have a writing ritual -- certainly not anything I do all the time. I do find that starting out by writing in a journal helps me, but I don't do it all the time. I also find washing dishes and the link can unstick my muse.

    I also write silly, rhymed poetry to get myself started.

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    1. I love the idea of beginning with a silly rhyme as a way to get started. It seems like a wonderful invitation to your muse.

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  2. Mary Jo, I'm guilty of checking my mail before I get working. I do it to see if anyone is trying to contact me. Then, I'm hooked. I don't read every mail though - I put them in specific folders to read later.

    I like the idea of having a writing ritual though. I've been procrastinating lately on writing my next book in a series.

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  3. Karen, That's the problem with checking emails or facebook first. It's easy to get hooked and seriously cut into writing time. I find having a ritual also keeps me from doing other things when I sit down to my computer.

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  4. Mary Jo, such good insight. You are so right. When I sit down to write, I sit to write and I designate another time to check emails and handle business. Great post!

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    1. I think it is more important now than ever before, given the number of emails most people receive in a day.

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  5. Mary Jo, thanks for an inspiring idea. I don't have a ritual. I just move from what I was doing to writing. I love the idea of a cup of coffee in a special mug! I have a coffee mug with the words of Isaiah 40:31 on it. This is the foundational verse for my recently published book, "Strength Renewed". Can you believe, I've never used it to drink from! As of today, when I drink coffee out of That Mug, it's time to write!

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    1. That's perfect! And I will be looking up Isaiah 40:31!

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    2. That's Perfect! and I will be checking Isaiah 40:31

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  6. Shirley, I had to look the verse up (I looked in King James version of bible)

    http://kj2000.scripturetext.com/isaiah/40.htm

    31But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

    So now my question: If you read the bible, what version of the bible do y'all prefer, and why?

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  7. Hey, Peggy,

    For years and years I read the King James version, but then moved on the The New World Translation. It's a more modern word version.

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  8. I mainly use the NIV - because that's the Bible I like the most :-) - and because I normally find it to be pretty accurate. However, for Strength Renewed I actually used the KJV,as you've quoted it above, because I wanted the word "wait" upon the Lord.

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  9. Thanks for the responses, guys. I really love the KJV far more than any of the others. Yes, it may not be the most accurate .. but it sounds so lovely.

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  10. I like the idea of starting with a meditation Mary Jo. I don't have any rituals per se, but I do find I work significantly better if I do a little exercise first- either a swim or yoga - both of which I tend to do first thing in the morning.

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    1. I think swimming or yoga are a great idea. If you are going to add a meditation to the start of your writing, make it short. It's better to be consistent with a short one, the occasionally do a long meditation.

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  11. King James for me too--the poetry is resounding. And as for exercise--Pilates.
    Interested in the idea of having a ritual as I'm so hit and miss on my writing days...just a deadline junkie.
    Shall work on this at the weekend. I can see it really makes sense.
    Thanks Mary Jo.

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