Writing Rituals and the Excuses We Make

I don’t know a single writer that doesn’t have some kind of writing ritual. Even I have one, at least when I’m doing my novel writing. I have to have a movie, or music, playing in the background. I can’t listen to funny music or watch comedies, I never get anything done when those are going on in the background.

I think they’re great to have, but I think writers should be careful not to create rituals that become a distraction to their productivity. For me, I know sometimes my ritual ends up becoming a distraction. My room gets messy to the point where I get stressed out and I can’t do anything productive. I’m far from a neat freak, but messy rooms stress me out. Clutter, when it gets out of hand, makes me feel worn out to the point where I don’t want to do anything because I spend more time looking for things than I do doing what I need to be doing.

I try to nip the messiness in the bud, before it has a chance to get out of hand as often as I can.

Unfortunately, my room (incidentally also the largest room in the house) was clearly not meant for two grown adults, and having to sacrifice space so that Lisa has a bed to sleep in when she comes home to visit, makes organization dicey at times. Our basement flooded two months ago, and we’re still moving stuff in and going through what’s left on the porch and garage, so putting anything in any of those places is a no go. I have a whole bunch of packed boxes from when I thought I’d be moving out to California laying around the room, most of which are currently stuffed in my closet for lack of a better place to put them.

The list goes on (it’s quite an impressive list) on why I’m not more neatly organized. I’m good at making excuses, and I’m sure we all have our excuses at one point or another on why we don’t do what we’re supposed to be doing or what we want to be doing.  Sometimes it’s the tension between not wanting to do a lot of work but not wanting to cut corners to accomplish everything we need to accomplish. Other times, it’s pure laziness.

Whatever the reason is, sometimes you have to cut through the excuses, see them as what they are. Excuses often masquerade as legitimate reasons, and some are, but excuses can just as easily be about making yourself feel better about your lack of productivity.

One thought on “Writing Rituals and the Excuses We Make

  1. It’s so funny, I just wrote a blog post about good luck charms in writing and having a space to write. But you’re very right: sometimes, our rituals or good luck practices just serve as methods in procrastination. It’s a hard job we have!


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