While we writers are often tagged with stereotypes that claim we’re weird and eccentric, there is actually a valid reason we’re so different from others. In fact, most creative types are pretty known for eccentricities.
Why We’re Weird
There is a reason writers and artists are always photographed with messy hair, thrown-together outfits, and a spaced-out expression.
…it’s because that’s often the way we really look!
We don’t take the time to bother with our hair and clothes if we’re just going to be at home working all day, and we’re often so involved in our work that the thoughts and ideas are flowing, blocking out thoughts of dressing, getting pretty, and pretty much everything.
So we really do look like that more often than we probably want to admit.
Our thoughts and actions usually reflect our writing, and when we’re completely immersed in our work, the real world sort of ceases to exist.
Why We Have Rituals
Since we live in our own little worlds, we have rituals that help us get into those worlds. It just wouldn’t do to try writing about something serene with our minds in a stressed out state and our kids running amok under our feet with Spongebob blasting in the background.
Our rituals, small and large, help us live our work in a way that no banker or lawyer could possibly understand.
Whether it’s a warm cup of coffee and a comfy chair, or music that lets us really concentrate, we all have an “ideal” work routine that we stick to. To an outsider, it can look like a strange ritual, especially with those of us who have more… um… colorful rituals.
For example, there are writers who think better naked. Others who shave off parts of their hair or have someone hide their clothing, all so that there is no temptation to go outdoors. If they’re stuck inside nude or looking ridiculous, they’ll get more done.
Some of us concentrate better with a clean desk and soft music, others need creative chaos and heavy metal.
A writer’s ritual doesn’t have to be weird, or eccentric, it just has to be something they have or do (nearly every time) to sit down and create.
Categories of Rituals
There are three kinds of rituals…
Preparation Rituals: These are the ones that have to come before writing. They’re either something you do to prepare yourself (meditation, meal, exercise), or they’re to prepare your workspace (clearing your desk, changing the lighting, or going somewhere you can think).
Productive Rituals: The rituals that come in the middle are often the most eccentric… these are the ones that involve your clothes (or lack of them), your music, or your sitting or standing position. Basically anything you must have while you’re writing.
Reward Rituals: Some writers have an incentive program for themselves. They’ll allow themselves a treat (or to leave the house) after so many pages. Or they plan meals and fun things after a certain number of hours writing.
So… how crazy are you? Tell me about it in the comments!