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Writing Rituals

Well now! Do I expose my behaviour to the world? Okay, here we go. First, I’m superstitious or maybe ‘ultra-aware’. I’m sensitive to sounds, movement and the energy around me. Some of my friends can write in buses, in cars, in coffee shops and restaurants. That is admirable. I can research or edit in those places. But I can’t dig deep.

For my authentic writing, I prefer my little niche aka/my home office. I crave total quiet and this room is where I feel I’m an author. Over the past four months, my husband fixed up my space. I have new bamboo flooring and the walls are painted a soft green. The colour is called ‘Pleasant Valley’. That works for me. The window overlooks the porch and my garden. Of course, over the years, I’ve acquired essentials such as a white board, bulletin board and bookcases. My art is still waiting to be placed.

I’ve developed some rituals that help me enter my writing world. I adore song lyrics but they are too distracting, so I work in silence. Often I read my work aloud, and that is all the noise I want.

The following ideas are my strategies that I’ve utilized while writing five novels.  I mix and match, depending on my mood, and the chapter I plan to write. I certainly don’t use all of them at once.

So, here are my favourites:

  • I light candles in the entry way as that is the biggest room of our home and I want the vibration to spread out in the house.
  • I set up my diffuser with scents like, Unwind, or Relax.
  • I wear my necklace with a special key. (courtesy of author Ev Bishop at her workshop in Victoria, B.C)
  • I splash on some Agua de Florida, Peruvian Flower Water. I purchased a small bottle a number of years ago in Lima, Peru. It has a number of magical properties and can elevate vibrations. Am I a believer? Sure. It has a unique citrusy scent of bergamot, cloves, cinnamon, lavender, neroli, orange flower and rose. (neroli is an essential oil)
  • Before I start writing, I shut down the media. I cannot arrive at my computer directly from world events.  No, no. The news is too overwhelming and upsetting.
  • I set an ‘intention’ for my writing period. What am I aiming for? What am I trying to accomplish on this specific day? What word count do I want?
  • I set my finishing time. If I don’t create a framework for my writing,  then I can easily slide off task. What does that look like? Well, I can easily gravitate towards tumbling down the rabbit hole of Pinterest or Facebook.

To be honest – sometimes none of these suggestions help. But I still try to show up on the page, even if I feel like I’m trudging through a swamp. Writers write.

I must add that focusing on these rituals, makes me feel like I have the power to create. Something wonderful may emerge. I may invent a ‘New York moment’ as Margie Lawson, writing instructor has coined. That is, a magical phrase that takes my breath away. And maybe the reader will enjoy it as well.  And because I believe that – then it’s win win for me.

Are you ready to share any personal strategies that you’ve invented that help you dive into fresh writing?


  1. Hi Jodie,
    I admire your use of soulful practices to inspire your writing.
    I’ve tried this and that over the last six years, but nothing has really stuck for me other than coffee. Coffee sticks along with the intention to write. If I know I’m going to write, I sit down and the words flow, no matter where I am. That’s not to say they are always good words, because they aren’t. But I don’t judge at first. I just let it rip.
    Thank you for your thoughtful and inspiring post. It made me reflect on my own practice.
    all the best,

    1. Yes – I love to ponder words while enjoying a latte. Consistency seems to make a difference as well. I’m glad it made you think of your own rituals.

  2. Jodie, I love the rituals you describe to set the scene for your writing. I too need silence to write, or nothing more than birdsong. I think I should adopt some of your rituals – especially the intention and finishing time. Otherwise I’m too likely to get distracted, especially if my writing is not going well.
    The one thing I do, always, is write longhand, then my first edit is typing my work into the computer. I find writing longhand liberating. I don’t have to think of typo’s. Need I add that I’m not a ‘clean’ typist? I have a deep response to music, thus the preference for silence but today I heard an amazing piece of music by the Italian classical composer, Ludovico Einaudi. It was called Timelapse and I think I could write to it – such soothing, almost otherworldly strands of sound.

    1. Hi Helena. I tried writing with music as a background, but it always pulled me out of the story. I’m sure a lot of authors require silence.

    2. Hi Helena, Thanks for dropping by. When I attempt poetry, I always write in longhand, and I enjoy the action of the pen moving across the page. That’s great that you find longhand liberating. My handwriting is so bizarre, that for lengthier pieces of writing, I would go nuts. And truly, if you find something that you hear that makes you feel soothed when you write – then try it out.

  3. Hi Jodie,

    I have seen the buddha and the candles. Candelettes? What a tranquil place you have created.
    I’m adopting some of your rituals. They work!
    It’s like stepping from one reality of noise and traffic and chaos into a temple of calm and reason. Maintain!

    1. Hi Sharron, Great to hear that you trying out some of ‘stage setters’ as I like to think of them. Getting prepped for the big adventure of writing. Calm and reason is the way to go!

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