The Poetry Question

Discovering the Relevance of Words

QOTD: What is your writing ritual?

Julius Caesar described with disgust the rituals of the druids, which according to him involved human sacrifices in the form of stuffing victims into a giant wicker statue of a man and lighting it on fire. And he never even saw ‘The Wicker Man’, which is pretty great if you like watching Nicolas Cage lose his shit.

Caesar himself, however, came from a culture steeped in secret ritual and mystery cults. Upon returning to Rome, he celebrated a Triumph, the highest honor that could be bestowed on a Roman and itself a giant ritual parade.

I had a point here.

Humans have a tendency to ritualize the things they see as important, whether that is appeasing the gods or honoring the generals. And if you’re with us on this poetic journey through the internet, I’m guessing one of the things that is important to you is writing.

Before I begin to write, I do a few things. I get something to drink, I lock my door, and I put a record on. A record, not because I’m trying to be super cool and retro, but because an album side lasts about 20 minutes, and that’s about how long I want the music to play. Once I really get going, the room goes quiet and I gain focus.

What is your writing ritual? Does it in any way involve the burning of Gallish prisoners? Let us know.

About Doran Simmons

I'm a writer and a camper and a keeper of fish. I was trained as a flight instructor and work day jobs and write nonsense for public consumption (hopefully).

13 comments on “QOTD: What is your writing ritual?

  1. Christopher Margolin
    May 7, 2013

    I have a few different ways that I go about my writing. If I’m writing a story, then I begin that piece inside an email. It feels less forced for me to do it that way. I enjoy writing in a crowded place where I feel less likely to be comfortable looking around – I suffer from some social anxiety if I’m not drinking, or taking my meds, or both. I listen to hip-hop beats, typically Blockhead, or Dan the Automater. If not hip-hop, the Miles Davis.

  2. dereklubangakene
    May 7, 2013

    This is my writing ritual.
    6:00 — Wake up. And continue with what I was writing the day before.
    8:00 — Do some yoga (If I can manage it), Shower, Breakfast.
    9:00 — Read, edit, write some poetry.
    11:00 — Pick up from where I left at 8:00 a.m
    15:00 — Do some sketches (helps me relax)
    16:00 — Read other books.
    18:00 — Run.
    19:00 — Transcribe what I wrote during the day into the word processor. (Yeah, I like to write long hand.)
    22:00 — Read some more.

    • Doran Simmons
      May 7, 2013

      Thanks for the reply! I’m trying to write longhand more myself. My problem is as I get excited about an idea I write too fast and my handwriting becomes indecipherable. Keep writing.

      • dereklubangakene
        May 7, 2013

        Yeah, I struggle with that too. When in full gear its hard to worry about thinks as fickle as legibility, you just want to get it out as fast as you can.

    • J. Gabriel Allan
      May 7, 2013

      Stephen King wrote all 600+ pages of Dreamcatcher longhand prior to typing; he credits it with helping him recuperate after his car accident.

  3. Sky Sairyou
    May 7, 2013

    I haven’t really established a ritual yet. I just find some free time, close the door, set my phone to silent, open OmmWriter and put my headphone on, to block any noise out—especially my son crying. :p

    P.S. I love your logo!

    • Doran Simmons
      May 7, 2013

      Thanks for reading! As long as you keep at it, the ritual will come. Check out our daily writing prompts if need a push.

    • Christopher Margolin
      May 7, 2013

      Thanks on the logo. A good friend of mine put that together for us. It will make a fantastic tattoo as well.

  4. J. Gabriel Allan
    May 7, 2013

    Lack of habit is, in itself, a ritual.

  5. kiwiskan
    May 7, 2013

    Not really a ritual – just throw my poor husband out of the office!

  6. Carole Chase
    May 7, 2013

    So much of the writing I do these days is for clients or for the newspaper, and the only conditions I need to get my writing done, in those capacities, is a quiet house and a looming deadline.

    The free write I did here today is the first thing approaching creative writing I’ve done in nearly a year… That’s really sad, now that I think about it. I struggle as a creative writer because of my own insecurities about being good or not… I worry that I’m not very good, so a lot of times I don’t bother. Perhaps this website can help me to write creatively again, or even establish a routine.

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