Process and Ritual


So it is well established already that I am a horrible and inconsistent writer. I have a week where I can pop out ten decent posts, then three weeks where I can barely force out any old pile of shit just to fill space. As you can imagine from what you have seen of me on this blog, not much differs in my personal fiction writing life.

I am the sort that loves to plot. Hours and hours writing in notebooks and coming up with different plot threads. If we were going by word count alone I would safely have three novels worth of plot, character development, and random bits of lore from my own little world. All for a single book that has yet to be written.

Now I have agreed with myself not to make excuses or try to find another way around to magically will my story into existence. And in reaffirming that, here is where I think the problem is with me.

Process. The ritual.

The key to writing, assuming you want to be successful, is process and routine. Neither of which I have really tried to establish. I think I even have to admit that I might be one of those naive persons waiting on inspiration and drive to just pop into being. Which if you happen to already be successful and prolific in your writing it is terribly obvious to you that this is what not to do when trying to write.

What has really brought this home to me today is this one thought I had here while waiting on my laundry to finish. Coffee. Coffee and writers are practically synonymous, like poets in tight black clothing in a smoke-filled basement snapping their fingers. The writer is there with his/her coffee and typing merrily away at the next great novel of indiscriminate origin, a classic part of the process.

That part I am familiar with, and during that one week where I blasted this page with post after post of whatever popped into my head, it was in my routine. I would wake up a little earlier in the morning and an hour or so before I had to be into work, I would stop at my local Starbucks and pick up my chai latte and knock out one or two articles. Then I would post what I had written on my breaks at work.

Then I lost it the next week, between the already documented frustration with My Trending Stories and the daily stress of low-income life I was getting up later and later, crunching my limited time so I only had about fifteen minutes in the morning to write. Even though I was still getting my chai and a cheese danish, it was gone.

The thing with the writer and the coffee (or chai) is that it isn’t some magical writing fuel that suddenly makes you ready to tackle the blank page. It isn’t writing mojo. The magic in the coffee is in slowing down enough to line up your mind and your body with what you are about to do.

Taking the time most importantly of all is what makes writing happen. Cut out a chunk of your life every day and just write. Even if it’s for your eyes only in some fun looking journal, maybe especially then.

It doesn’t matter if it’s over tea in the morning, coffee on lunch, or with a microbrew at home after a long day at work. Just sit down and work out your ritual, anything that says to you that you’re ready to sit down and write.

Right now it’s trying to stay awake long enough to finish my laundry and drinking a cool glass of water. Tomorrow hopefully will be over a cup of coffee and with a good hour to sit and work on my story.

What rituals might you folks have out there? I’m open to suggestions and would love to hear from you! Just comment below or find me at


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