Thursday, February 5, 2009
Rituals: I Haz Dem
Do you ever feel that if you do a certain thing in a certain way, everything will be right with the world? The impulse to place or order things is a common one for writers. Most of them I know have rituals, big or small, that they perform on a regular basis - some without even realizing it.
I have mine. Whenever I'm writing, whether it's freelance or fiction, I must open MS Word first, and then my browser, so that Word is the first tab on my taskbar. And I must have a browser window open while I'm writing - whether I'm constantly checking my e-mail, listening to my YouTube playlist, or ignoring the Internet completely. If I'm eager to check my e-mail before I start writing, I will close my browser before I open Word so that the windows are in their proper places.
I also have a little game that I play with myself when I'm doing magazine work. Each of the ads I write has a file name, and we have a template that the ads must be pasted into before we send it into production. After I've pasted the text from my original document into the template, and I have two Word documents open on the screen, I hover the mouse over the original file in the taskbar so the file name pops up in the mouseover box - and then I try to type the file name (which is a series of random letters and numbers) into the template document before the mouseover box disappears. I usually make it, and I get a little burst of satisfaction even though it serves absolutely no purpose.
Another tic of mine: when I finish writing a novel, I must drink hazelnut coffee. If I don't have any in the house, and I'm nearly done with the last chapter, I will stop writing and drive to the store to get some so that I'm ready when it's finished.
What are some of your writing rituals? If you don't think you have any, pay close attention the next time you're writing. I'll bet you do!