5 Steps to Design Your Pre-Writing Ritual by Kirsten McNeill
Being a writer is a huge part of your identity. You love brainstorming plot ideas, creating characters, and talking to anyone who will listen about all the books you’re going to write… one day.
But not right now because every time you sit down to write your mind goes blank.
The moment you implemented your first pre-writing ritual, everything changed.
You felt motivated to write, in the zone, and all the overwhelm disappeared.
With a routine that gets you prepared for your writing session, you will make progress on your manuscript much faster.
So, if you find yourself…
- Constantly worrying about what to write
- Wondering how to actually start writing
- Struggling to get yourself in the writing mindset
- Waiting for inspiration to hit you before you start
…a pre-writing ritual is the key.
Step 1 – Gather Your Tools of the Trade
Whether you type on a laptop or put pen to paper, get your tools set up in a comfortable place.
You may already have a designated office space to write, in which case, give yourself a gold star.
You’re ahead of the game.
Right now, my setup is having my laptop on the kitchen table.
One day, I want my own office with a big L-shaped desk with room for multiple screens.
Step 2 – Complete an Activity to Clear Your Mind
Life gets chaotic and jumping into the writing mood can be challenging. It’s best to take a moment to relax, block out all the responsibilities and stresses of the day, and become a cool little cucumber.
Take a minute for some deep breaths or put on music and sway to the beat, focusing on every gorgeous note of the melody.
Choose one simple activity that makes you feel like you’re wrapped in a warm hug.
Step 3 – Hail Your Emotional Support Pet or Item
My dog is not a cuddler.
She prefers to provide support while napping in whatever room I am not.
Luckily, some of you have lap dogs (or other pets) who would rather go hungry than leave you out of their sight.
Bring them in for a snuggle to help your space feel that much more comfortable.
I have a little wooden elephant pen holder that I always have near when I write.
I’ve known other writers to have crystals with them or another important item.
This helps if you don’t have a pet or your writing space is outside of the home and you can’t bring your furry friend along.
Step 4 – Check-in with Yourself
- Is your mood going to affect what you write today?
- Will you need to tap into your anger even though you’re having a good day?
- Or is it the opposite and you’re supposed to write a love scene while riding the high of resentment?
Take a few minutes to see how you’re feeling.
Write a journal entry or a few bullet points to get it out of your head. Are there any fears and doubts that are coming out?
“I’m not good enough.”
“My writing will suck.”
Say what’s coming to mind out loud or write it down.
The more you can filter out all the negative energy that could affect you, the better your writing session will be.
I like to write positive mantras to myself every morning, regardless of if I write or not.
That shifts me out of the negative energy and helps me start fresh without holding onto the past.
This step can take as long as you need it to.
If you’re on a time crunch, stick to the Rule of 3.
Write down 3 negative thoughts or feelings, then 3 positive statements about yourself.
Choose one or all positive statements to repeat on paper or out loud and allow the words to pour over every part of you.
Step 5 – Set an Intention
To make the most of your writing session, know the purpose of it before you start to save time and give you a goal to focus on if you get sidetracked.
There are so many ways you can approach writing a book.
You don’t have to start from chapter one or create an entire character bible first.
Even write the last chapter before you’ve written anything else!
What’s going to give you the most progress in this session?
What do you have the most ideas for?
What are you most excited about focusing on?
- Write the scene that’s been rolling through your mind for days, even if you don’t know where it fits yet.
- Practice character dialogue or using all 5 senses in your descriptions. (writing a book doesn’t just mean writing the chapters from beginning to end).
- Do some research for a historical setting or a medical procedure you need to learn more about.
Choose one goal for the session, one focus, and that will take off the pressure and overwhelm of figuring out what to do.
You could even plan ahead and write a schedule for yourself.
A flexible schedule though, because you never know what life will throw at you.
My intention usually involves a set word count goal or completing a chapter (I typically write shorter chapters).
Do what will feel best for you in your progress forward.
Now you know exactly what you have to do to prepare your mind and have a valuable writing session.
Writing a book is a long process.
If only we could have clones to help us write and publish faster, but what fun would that really be?
You’re a creative soul who loves to take your readers on wild adventures with your characters and expansive worlds.
Writing is not about perfection, it’s about the joy of literature and imagination.
Have fun with your process and never forget that you are a worthy writer.
ABOUT KIRSTEN MCNEILL
Kirsten McNeill is a Confidence & Writing Lifestyle Coach, Book Editor, and Self-Published Writer. Her mission with Worthy Writers Editing is to bring sunflower sunshine to the creative world connecting writers to the confidence and passion they desire to help them publish and share their stories.
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