Writing Rituals for Fun and Sanity

August 14, 2018

“There is a comfort in rituals, and rituals provide a framework for stability when you are trying to find answers.”
~ Deborah Norville

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I think most humans crave ritual or at least routine. Here’s how I use ritual to give myself control where there is little or none.

Submission Ritual

Every time my agent sends something out on submission, I do the same thing:

  1. Using different colored Sharpies, I write each editor’s name and his/her publishing house on a slip of paper. As I do so, I express gratitude for their time and attention.
  2. I set each slip of paper in my largest Tibetan singing bowl (see post image), making sure I can see each one.
  3. I repeat my thank you’s to each editor for their time, attention, and careful consideration of my submission.
  4. I repeat the Shakti Gawain “mantra” or prayer I mentioned in my July 31 post about getting your hopes up: “This or something better now manifests for me in totally satisfying and harmonious ways, for the highest good of all concerned.”

I love this prayer because it reminds me that there are other people who are part of this process, this project. Is this project going to be in the best interest of the editor, the copyeditor, the illustrator, the assistant, the marketing director, etc, etc. There are a whole host of people who will be part of bringing this book to fruition and I want to recognize and honor each one of them.

It also helps if I get a pass. Maybe my project just wasn’t going to lift up and further one of those people and another project is better for them. So be it.

I performed this ritual recenlty for a chapter book series proposal that went out on submission. And yes, I’m getting my hopes up and enjoying the feelings of excitement!

Writing Ritual

I’ve fallen out of my writing ritual of late, but I really like it and feel like it sends a signal to my brain—“Time to be creative!” Here’s the ritual that I’ve committed to once again:

  1. Play my Tibetan singing bowls. This may mean randomly playing any or all three or it may mean putting the big one on my head and tapping it. No matter what, my goal is to listen to the sounds. Only listen. This helps transition my mind from anything I was doing or thinking about before to my writing.
  2. Light a candle.
  3. Put on instrumental music. I play an album on a device or as a CD because it stops when it’s finished. Unless I’m deep into writing, I will use this as a stretch and movement break and sometimes for an “I’m stuck” break.

Both of these rituals provide a way to acknowledge others and my own writing process as well as giving me a semblance of control (especially the submission one) over what often feels out of my control in this business.

Would love to hear if anyone else has rituals they use!

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