writing rituals?

one thing i’ve always find amusing about writers is that they all seem to have their own pre-writing, during writing, or post writing rituals.

for example: Michael Crichton (of ‘Jurassic park’, ‘time line’ and ect ect fame) always has the same thing to eat when he writes. (i believe it was egg salad for Jurassic Park…but i could be wrong…)

just wondering if anyone else has any rituals.

like myself: i can only write when i’m drinking tea. i have a desktop tea steeper that is constantly brewing and i only stop writing after i have emptied the steeper twice. after writing i urinate (obviously not a ritual, but rather a natural induced reaction to the mass amount of liquid in my system).

anyone else?

I think the only thing I do that can be classed as a ritual is listening to lots of heavy metal music while I write :smiley:

I slaughter a pure white lamb and then walk through it’s blood.

^i have to have music going…but i find that if i listen to my normal choice (dream theater being one of them) i don’t write very well…

At Sebbi:

does that not get expensive overtime?

I, too, want to listen to music while I write. My music choices differ from writing task to writing task. When I write fiction, I tend to use a piece of music as a kind of soundtrack for the scene, and it could be anything from Debussy to the Dropkick Murphys - namely, whatever fits the scene. My legal writing tends to require classical music, and for some reason I gravitate to Beethoven performed by the Cleveland Orchestra. (Check out the version of the 9th Symphony recorded by Telarc, conducted by former Music Director Christoph von Dohnanyi, and you’ll hear what I mean. 8) ) Thank God for whoever thought up the iPod!

There’s one constant: Coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.

Not exactly a ritual, but a necessary routine:

I write a draft, and rewrite it, and edit it and throw it out and retrieved it from the dust bin and revise and edit again. Then, when it’s all finished on the computer screen – always, of late, in Scrivener – I print it out, put the iMac to sleep, take the manuscript down to the dining room table where the only distraction is a back yard full of mud and melting snow, and start hacking away with the pen.

Sorry. No matter how good the technology gets – software and/or hardware – I have to sit down with a printout and read it aloud, listening for and marking the glitches and the goofs and the garbage.

THEN I go back to the office and make a (sort-of) final edit.


^ i can’t edit my own work…i’m challenged that way… if it is a shot story or something i give it to mommy to read over :slight_smile:

ah, the benefits of being young :wink:

I’m with PJS - I have to do at least the final edit on paper. The same is true with some of my research, too.

BTW, has anyone else noticed they have a tendency to print out the material they find on the Internet? So much for a “paperless” society, eh?

Or having kids. My daughter is my current editor/proof reader.

I have different “rituals” depending on what I am working on. A theological rant will be the most chaotic. Something gets me in a roaring tizzy, I stomp around the house fuming about it while my wife smiles and takes a few notes. I finally stop to breath, she hands me the notes and says “go fix it.”

The story for my girl (the editor) requires a bit more structure for me. I see the little girl, realize little girl isn’t so little, go find the big girl, tell her I am scared about XXX, she sits, smiles and starts taking notes as I explain what I am afraid of. I finally stop and take a breath, she hands me the notes and says “go fix it.”

Music isn’t really writing for me it is more like capturing a stream of emotion. But it does have a ritual. Sit down to practice, hit the record button (yes I record scale runs for analysis (I bend strings too much)) then review later. If a kid, the wife, a neighbor or an alien suddenly show up and says something to the affect of “dude!!” then I keep that part. I start explaining what is wrong with it, my wife sits, takes notes and when I finally stop to take a breath she hands me the notes and says “go fix it.”

I love that woman.

Im not surprised! Not only does she dosnort, she also does, Go fix it`into the bargain :smiley:

Take care Mr. Jaysen,


^funny paperless society story: i decided to do my anthropology thesis last year about a our ‘paperless society’. by the end of my research stage, i had printed out 50+ pages from our school printer…oops :slight_smile:

what kind of music do you play Jaysen? you and i will have to swap recordings one day.

and Fluff! i thought that snort comment would only come from Le’D …you shock me. (if your definition and use of ‘snort’ matches my understanding of the term.)

Shame on you young fellah!..shame :open_mouth:
Snort, in this context, alludes to a delightful habit of Mrs. Jaysen,s when she laughs. She emits a snort
I trust that clears up any misunderstanding. And let us have no more references to substance abuse. Well have that dirty old reprobate, Le D coming back, thinking its his birthday, and we can all do without that, thank you very much!!
Do take care

i wasn’t talk about substance abuse! i was talking about…um…you know…when mommy loves daddy…umm…blushes

Well, playing is a relative term. I have been hacking away for the better part of 20 years. Started with a trombone, moved through the brass section, and am now up to guitars, drums, keys, and vocals. Regular one man show, except I don’t do it for show. Stylistically I am all over. I am not much of a classical stylist (working on that) but I get tired of the rock, pop, metal, country, contemporary (aka crap) that everyone wants to hear. Still looking for “the” voice for me.

Over answering the question, I play mostly faith themed music. While I am taking some time to rest, I have been a regular fixture on local church stages for nearly 15 years. Nothing solo, always the backup guy. Someday I hope that I will get my “message” together and make a stab at changing the world. Hence the “go fix it” directive from Mrs. Scriv has been a critical addition to my tool set for message development (I preach on occasion as well as working on a collection of thoughts), personal work (the story for little girl), and music (amazing for collecting snippets of inspired poetry and polishing into lyrics).

Mommy loves daddy, but we don’t discuss that in public. The kids wish we wouldn’t discuss it in private either!

:smiley: :blush:

thats cool. i’ve been playing guitar since i was 6. i studied classical but mainly play alternative/ acoustic rock. my girlfriend and i jam some tunes (she plays piano and we both sing) but as for that i’m currently bandless right now…sigh oh well…more time for my writing i assume.

i would love to hear your stuff… maybe we could provide the entertainment one night aboard the good ship Scrivener! :mrgreen:

Oh yes! But, it’s worth every penny…

…i’ll take your word for it…

reminds self never to talk to sebbi again


oh hell my ritual you say?

Hmm well it starts with the IDEA and that is formed when least expected, sometimes while driving down the road and no paper is available, other times while you are waiting in line at places like the DMV and you think of a murder scene, or you wake up with that idea right there and of course it fades as you doing the morning ritual of using the bathroom. After the idea is somewhat snagged it may either pour out in a keybard frenzy or it might be mulled over in my mind over periods of time, refined and taylored like a good drink. Then once the idea has been mulled over enough I take the laptop to the bedroom and strip down to my fornication clothes and climb under the sheets waiting to see if I require more practice at baby making (need all the practice I can get, still ain’t made no baby. I think storks fear pigeons for some reason).

So when my wife crawls into bed the TV comes on in its blaring announcement of some craptastic reality show or some Lifetime (Crytime) b movie drama about some poor soul that spends their life regurgitating in fear of gaining weight or some abusive parent that just needs their tail whipped. At times when the “AMerical Idol” comes on I get to listen to poor redentations of music best left to the original artists. I practice patience and love and tune these distractions out as I start to gain focus.

That is when the 5 dogs and the really fat cat decide to all get on the bed and do the puppy dog eye look of much needed attention. This leads to petting which of course signals these dastardly creatures of love and forgiveness to start to bite, claw and play, getting riled up and excited which then leads to having to let the dogs out to "calm down and chase butterflies while they leave me morning surprises (lawn bombs) across the yard for later study. Then they must start to announcing that they are the cream of the crop to every single animal within twenty square miles, causing such a ruckus that of course I must get up and let them back inside where they try to play again.

Once they settle down and little room is left on the bed I lay on my stomach to commence writing and the tinniest dog (toy poodle about 3 pounds) crawls up on my right shoulder and sighs her contement at being so loved.

Once all this settling in has occurred I commence to write sometimes a little sometimes a lot, all the while surrounded by those I love most as I lay atop my fornication throne in a sea of contentment and peace.

Thursdays are a different story…

My ritual:

  1. Arse on couch;
  2. Laptop on lap;
  3. Libation [coffee, tea, wine, or hooch] on the side-table;
  4. Music to inspire atmosphere [classical, usually, and sometimes soundtracks];
  5. The usual plea to my Muse to go easy on me – I can type only so fast;
  6. Hit them keys.

A bit simplistic, but it works for me. :smiley:

I, too, keep a classical guitar at the ready – it’s the only kind of fretting I enjoy.