Guest bloggers / writing

Rituals I Practice for Writing

I often wish as a blogger I could write emotive narrative that shared more of my internet thinking. It’s something I don’t do well, though I know it’s what reader’s enjoy because they get to know the real person behind the words. Thankfully, my blogger friend, Glynis Jolly from Scripted Maze, is excellent at that and has agreed to guest post for me on the rituals she practices while writing.

I was astounded when Jacqui asked me to do a guest post on her blog. I feel so fortunate to have been given this opportunity. Thank you, Jacqui.

writerRituals I Practice for Writing

Rituals are established or ceremonial procedures, usually connected to something religious in nature. Writing, of course, has nothing to do with religion of itself, although I identify with the steadfastness of the practice of writing as if I was devoting it to a divinity.


The scheduling of my craft is ingrained in me. I did not mean for it to be so but the cosmos had deemed the hours I write and do not write. Some days this pattern of my behavior irk me to no end.

I would love to be able to wake, reaching for my laptop that sits waiting under my bed but I cannot even function properly until I have my morning cup of caffeine, which is not even halfway close to the bedroom. With steam rising from the cup in my hand, I shuffle to the computer room, adjust the pillow at my back as I sit down, and hit the space bar on my keyboard to arouse my PC from sleep. I do this every morning, come rain or come shine.

Even at this point, it is still early and if I could write at this time, I most certainly would. However, my husband has not left for work yet and I am still digging out sleepy from my eyes. Both of these are annoyances I cannot entertain while I write. My husband, as loving and giving as he is, is not a person I want around while I am bleeding out onto the screen. Truth is, I cannot stand anyone around while I struggle with this craft I love so dearly.

In Place

Logic would probably tell you I am feverishly writing by eight-thirty in the morning seeing that husband dear has left for the day. Per contra, I have this need for everything being in its proper place. With a husband who has a major flaw of being messy, this means strolling through the house picking up water bottles, dirty laundry, wrappers, mail, shoes, and the list goes on. I must do this before I try to write anything because the mere thought of all that stuff out of place will haunt me.

I must make the bed before starting my first session of the day. All sides of the sheet and comforter must be even. I stall at writing if my teeth are not brushed and am not dressed for the day. I know some writers work in their PJs, letting everything else in their lives sit until they are finished. I am not one of them. Am I a neat freak? No. It is just not possible anymore but I come as close as I can to that ideal.

Work Station

Jacqui has a room all set up for her writing. To say the least, I am envious of her. Nevertheless, I do have my corner of “the computer room” set up in such a way so I am hopefully the most productive. I have a McDonald’s cup filled with pens sitting next to my daily planner and post-note pad. Three lip balm tubes stand in a row with the Tylenol and a bottle of water. [Do not ask me why I have three lip balms out because there is not an answer.] Marble, one of the cats who bosses me around will knock over one or all of these things occasionally. I must set things right when this happens or all writing is off.

Of course, although I have the water, in order to write, I must have my mug of tea set at my left side. The words swirling in my head require liquid to travel to my fingers onto the keyboard and it must be caffeinated.

These rituals help me set my mind into the frame of writing. It is an organization tactic my consciousness for the task cannot seem to do without. Do you have rituals you follow for your writing sessions?

Bio: Glynis Jolly was born in September of 1954 (you do the math). She’s married and has one son and one stepdaughter. Glynis has lived in Colorado, Crete (Greece), Michigan, and now in Tennessee for the second time with her husband and three cats. She’s always been inspired to write. The act of putting pen to paper or typing on a keyboard makes her feel alive somehow. She has several unfinished works of fiction, hoping that someday she’ll finish one of them and get it published. She started blogging in 2009 and has had five blogs since then. A Scripted Maze is her current blog of three years now.


69 thoughts on “Rituals I Practice for Writing

  1. Pingback: Rituals I Practice for Writing — WordDreams… – Diane P. Proctor

  2. Great to read how other people go about their writing ritual. I must admit, Glynis, I have to change from my pjs into comfy clothes, tidy up the house before I start writing as well. Happy to know I am in good company 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Glynis, I so understand your need for everything to be in order before you can write. I need to have my desk in order in order to focus. How does it get so messy so quickly? Interesting post, Glynis and Jacqui and inspiring comments! .

    Liked by 2 people

    • It is strange to me, Carol, how I must have that empty space on my desk between the screen and the keyboard. Even when I have a book or paper I want to refer to while typing, I always put it to the right side. Without doing this, I feel cramped.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. So good to read about rituals I am a tidy freak and cannot begin artwork or any form of writing before the domestics. I need a certain balance and yes no distractions like husband, kids or phone calls. Just turning up and starting helps on the days I don’t feel the muse is in the room. Thanks for sharing Glynis I love how everyone is different when chasing their goals for the day.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Lovely to read about your writing ritual, Glynis! I totally understand that you need ‘downtime’ once you are on your own and a bit of sorting will achieve this. I’m often the same, although my rituals change according to what type of writing I’m doing. For actual writing I can head straight to my desk, everything left in a mess until later, for editing I want a bit of order around me first, blogging I’m happy to sit and do some with breakfast! I make sure I have a notebook lying around though for ideas which often tend to come late in the evening…I see you’ve moved around quite a bit and even in Crete. I’ve been there many times and made a lot of friends. Whereabouts did you live there? A wonderful guest post and glad Jacqui could host you here!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Interesting–reading your routine, Annika. I think it’s intriguing that you vary, depending upon whether your writing or editing. It makes sense. Thinking about it, I may be the same. Writing is more inspired (which means gotta do it when the ideas arrive) but editing can be more methodical.

      Liked by 1 person

    • This is the first time I have come across someone who has been to Crete since I left there. This is thrilling for me because I miss it so much. My husband and I lived in a small compound between Gouves and New Gouves inland from the road that runs between Heraklion and St. Nicholas. When my husband was not on duty at the base, oftentimes we were at New Gouves at one of the ice cream shops.

      Maybe I should try writing while eating breakfast.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Great post, Glynis and Jacqui. For me, getting into the right headspace for writing is kind of like preparing for sleep each night: You fulfil the preliminary rituals (changing into your PJs, brushing your teeth, climbing into bed), and the systematic completion of those stages somehow facilitates a properly receptive mindset to allow you to be ushered into dreamland. Certainly being disrupted from my work is akin to being awoken from a dream: I am momentarily groggy, irritable, and disoriented.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Good analogy, Sean. So what’s your routine? I have to say, your upcoming book sounds wonderful–a police detective working with violent gangbangers. Are they the ‘things that go bump in the night’?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I wake up, walk the dog, take my wife to the train station, work out for about ninety minutes (all writers should have a gym membership!), return home to shower, then sift through my e-mails and social media. Typically I’ll have an early lunch (before noon), and only then do I hunker down to get into my writing (which is the one thing I simply can’t do on an empty stomach). Even though I start late in the day, since I’ve adopted the “Kitchen Timer” method — designating a couple of inviolable writing hours in the course of a day — I get a lot more done in way less time.

        No, in the case of Escape from Rikers Island, the “things that go bump in the night” are the 14,000 inmates in New York’s 415-acre detention center, all of whom succumb to some sort of plague or pathogen that effectively turns them into zombies! The protagonist — a Gang Squad detective — and the dozen gangbangers he put away are spared from infection in the confines of the jail’s maximum-security ward, but they can’t stay put for long. So, they’re forced to put aside their differences — temporarily — in the mutual interest of survival. Of course, the escape doesn’t go as planned, and each setback they face only exacerbates the tension simmering between them. So, if you mashed a Stephen King horror thriller with a Richard Price policier, it might look like my book! The horror element really just allowed me license to explore some of the sociopolitical realities affecting New York at present, but in the framework of a heightened-suspense narrative.

        I like monsters — what can I say? — and having come of age on the streets of NYC, most of my stories incorporate an hefty dose of New York esoterica (like, in this case, Rikers Island). I’m currently finishing revisions now, and eager to see this one published…

        Liked by 1 person

    • I know exactly what you mean, Sean. When the phone rings, it jostles me out of my focus. And having the answering machine pick it up does not help because it was the sound of the phone that distracted me. It can take a while to get my head back into that place where I can write again.

      Liked by 2 people

      • It’s frustrating, isn’t it, Glynis? I try, to the extent that I can, to impose a media “blackout” for two or three hourlong periods a day to avoid unwanted disruption of that pleasant dreamstate! You have to demand respect — even from technology (like our ever-pinging smartphones) — in order to get it.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. I really love your honesty with your rituals. I honestly hadn’t thought about what i need to do before. Well…it begins with a sleepy eye rubbing walk down the stairs to the kitchen at 4 am where I quickly start my Keurig. I need a fast cup of coffee then I scan various writing books with prompts as well as a few of my favorite books to get my mind in the writing mode. Excellent post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am glad you liked this post, Erika. I have never tried using prompt early in the day. Often my brain is already working on something before I sit down at the keyboard. I just need to let it ferment a little.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I enjoy hearing about what other writers do when they write. We all have these rituals that are our own way of making sure the little things don’t distract us. I too need to have lip balm nearby–and Kleenex! I can’t function without Kleenex. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Jacqui, thanks for inviting Glynis to your site. It’s a great way to gain insight to another person’s writing style.

    Glynis, I really enjoyed reading this article. This sentence made me grin: “The words swirling in my head require liquid to travel to my fingers onto the keyboard and it must be caffeinated.” But the words are in your head first, and that’s what’s most important.

    I’m too lazy to have any writing rituals, certainly nothing interesting enough to report.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I’ve always found that I need space, both physical and mental, to help me get into and stay in a writing mode. The little rituals I have help me focus and push aside the mental clutter and just get to work. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Interesting. I used to think that ideas can strike a any time and, consequently, I should be able to write at any time. It has not turned out o be so in practice. Ideas to come at any time. However, converting them into something relevant takes time and effort. Hence, a process is required. When I sit down to write, I try to clear away my mailbox and other digital cobwebs before I get anywhere near a rhythm.

    Liked by 2 people

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