Ritual of Writing
How do writers come up with what they eventually create? There definitely is a process. You might say the writing process actually becomes a ritual of writing? Most people would say it all starts with an idea. Ideas though come and go; they change and continually flow into new ideas. Most times the idea you start with in your mind isn’t the idea that you end up with on paper. No, I think writing is more than just a process of putting ideas into words on paper. Writing is a process, a mechanism a writer uses to filter, catalog and explain how the writer views the world he or she lives in. Good writers create their own writing ritual.
Some might say that a writer’s main goal is to write something so it is seen by others. I would argue that the writer cares more about the ritual of writing itself. Through writing, the writer attempts to make sense out of his or her existence. The process of writing gives the writer meaning. Then you might ask what are the elements of this ritual? Well I write; I may not be the best writer, but I hope I’m not the worst writer either. So, maybe I can share the ritual that I use when I write.
1. I start each day the same way. A consistent start helps set the proper mechanics in motion to begin the daily writing process. A consistent start leads to a consistent ability to write. For most people like myself, it starts with a cup of coffee, for a few less daring souls it starts with a can of pop. Next it’s important to write using the same location. Writing at the same time each day is also important, if you can afford that luxury.
2. Ideas have to come from somewhere. A spark maybe from something you hear or read about. The best ideas are those born out of memories mixed with new information, a personal touch to real life events. An outside source gives a spark to existing thoughts, that can start a flame of words inside you.
3. Don’t limit your interaction with the world. You aren’t the center of ideas. You come up with ideas and write because you are given ideas from the world around you. Seek out those new and interesting topics.
4. Creating connections between ideas. All around us are bits of information; websites, news feeds, magazine and newspaper articles; friends and relatives talk to us about what concerns them; we overhear conversations at the grocery store or at a restaurant. Be open; listen to what is going on around you. Ideas are the building blocks to forming written concepts, but more detailed information is always needed to connect them.
5. Free your mind. Continually change up what your senses come in contact with. New sounds from the outdoors can trigger ideas; cooking in your kitchen can trigger an idea, watching an old movie or a new movie can put new thought twists on old memories. Let your senses take you to new ideas and new streams of thought.
6. Never forget you’re an observer. Reflect on the little, the simple things around you; the peeling paint on a fence; the distant voices of children playing; the shape of a passing cloud. Be willing to let your mind wander along simple streams of thought. Allowing your mind to move along connected but unrelated chains of thought helps train your mind to develop topics into more complex written words.
7. Develop a demanding form of style in your writing. Create and continue to develop your own style of writing. You must define your own art of writing. It must be something that you own. You must set your own standards and expectations.
8. The topic you write about must inspire you. Whether you pick the topic or it is given to you, find a way to get the topic to inspire you. Find something that motivates you to write about that topic.
9. Find satisfaction in completing what you have written. Know when to finish crafting what you write. Being happy and content with what is written is part of the writing process. Find satisfaction in the process as well as the product that is created. The satisfaction may be short lived, but it is necessary to savor; it is one of the main rewards of writing. If you don’t find satisfaction in your work, you won’t develop a thick skin to deflect critics nor a strong sense of appreciation for your own writing abilities.
10. In the end the act of writing is what matters most for the writer. What keeps the writer writing is the inner drive, the need to keep writing. By understanding this, the writer should take steps to fine tune and improve the process to improve as a writer.
The ritual of writing is a set of skills that a writer constantly hones. A true writer needs to be receptive to outside ideas, wants to create and most of all can create inner passion through writing. In the end the need to write isn’t as much about creating a product as it is about the ritual of writing.