Get Focused with a Writing Ritual

4 writing rituals to boost your confidence and focus

Recently, when talking to one of my clients, I was asked if I knew anything about creating writing rituals. I love talking about writing habits, but I’d never really thought about writing rituals before. The question intrigued me and I decided to look into it.
When we think about rituals, the obvious ones that spring to mind are around love (weddings), death (funerals), birth (christenings), as well as many others related to different aspects of religion.
Rituals provide structure and meaning during life’s most significant moments; they can strengthen bonds, celebrate milestones, create shared memories, help us process grief, and honour the deceased.
In other areas of life, you may have heard stories about sports people creating quirky rituals. For example, tennis player, Serena Williams, ties her shoelaces in a specific way, and bounces the ball 5 times before her first serve in every tournament that she competes in. These rituals create a sense of familiarity and boost her confidence and performance.
There’s research that shows how rituals help reduce anxiety, improve focus, and create a sense of control in uncertain situations.

Where does all this fit in with writing?

Lots of aspects of writing could benefit from a ritual. For example, many of us procrastinate around sitting down to write – maybe we are worried that we’re wasting our time, or fear we aren’t good enough.
A carefully crafted ritual could help us to feel more in control of the uncertainty of the blank page, reduce anxiety around fear of rejection and generally improve our focus. 
A ritual might help us to manage our emotions when we inevitably get rejected; and finally, a ritual might help us to tap into our feelings of joy whenever we have some success.
So let’s have a look at what these rituals might look like.

Writing rituals to help start your writing session

Let’s say you want to kick off your day with some writing, but time after time you have trouble knuckling down. What fun and meaningful ritual might you create?

Here are 2 examples of writing rituals:

  • Make yourself a hot drink. Then, slowly stir your tea or coffee and say the following words:

“With each sip, I embrace clarity, creativity, and calm”.

 And that is the trigger for you to start writing.

Or, you could:

  • Make a ritual of turning off your phone, or turning it to silent, (or blocking the internet with an internet blocker like Freedom), and say the following words:

“As I disconnect from the world, I connect deeper with my creativity and inner voice”.

And then you immediately open your document and start to write.

Writing rituals when you are writing at the end of the day

Perhaps you’ve been working all day at your day job, and you want to write in the evening, but you feel exhausted. You’ve just got home and you have an hour before dinner to write, start by choosing one of the following: –

  • Brew a calming tea
  • Listen to a meaningful song
  • Light a scented candle
  • Or do some yoga stretches

Then, sit quietly for a few moments, reflecting on the day.

  • Open a dedicated notebook and jot down three things you’re grateful for from the day.
  • Close your notebook and say these words:

“As I close the door on the day’s work, I open my heart to the stories within me”.

Then you open your laptop and start your writing session. It doesn’t have to be long. Even 10 minutes is a useful amount of time. The key is to link it to your ritual.

Writing ritual for ending your writing session

To mark the end of your writing session, consider having a brief moment of gratitude or reflection. You could even incorporate the ‘Namaste’ ritual, like the one that is used at the end of yoga practise.

  • Put your hands together, bow your head and say ‘namaste’ as a sign of appreciation and respect. Think of it as giving thanks to your laptop, notebook, pen, hands, imagination – anything that you’re grateful for and that has helped you with your writing session.

Alternatively, consider another simple ritual, like this:

  • Close your notebook or shut down your computer, while saying:

“I seal today’s creativity with gratitude and look forward to tomorrow’s inspiration”.

You’re acknowledging the progress made, no matter how small.  

  • Then, take a deep breath, and slowly exhale, ready to get on with the rest of your day.

Writing ritual to help you handle rejection

As writers, if you’re sharing your work with other people and putting yourself out there, there’s going to be some rejection along the way. And if you want to be published and sell your work, there’s likely to be a lot of rejection to handle.

If you’ve missed out on a major opportunity, it’s kind of like grieving. So that means, treating yourself gently. Creating a ritual around rejection could make it easier to bear.

How about trying this:

  • Either print out the rejection – or write it on a piece of paper (e.g. – write down “Rejected from BBC Scripted Open Call”)
  • Blow on the paper then tear it up, or even burn it in your fireplace, or somewhere safe, and say the following words:

“I honour my courage for stepping into the arena. I am now ready for my next chapter”.

Writing ritual to remind you to celebrate success  

Most of us tend to dwell far more on all the things that go wrong, and forget to notice the things that have gone right.

But if we create a ritual around success, that will help us to notice our successes more, which will consequently, boost our happiness. And that in turn will motivate us to continue writing.

Here’s an idea for a success ritual:

  • Create a ‘Success Jar’ or box

This could be a glass storage jar that you keep on your bookshelf, somewhere where you can see it. Write down your success on a piece of coloured paper. This might be something tangible like winning a competition, or being shortlisted or longlisted, or getting an agent, publisher, or producer, having work published or produced.

But it could also be someone asking to read your work, after you got in touch, or any nice feedback or encouragement that you have received from anyone who has read your work.

Things like writing every day for a week or completing a short story will count as a success. Even just 10 minutes of writing, is a success if you find it hard to sit down and write.  

  • Then fold up the paper and put it in the jar, saying the following words:

“I celebrate my achievements and welcome the abundance of success”.

  • From time to time review the contents of the jar if you feel in the need of motivation or encouragement.

I hope you find these ideas for writing rituals helpful. Feel free to create your own writing rituals, or change the wording to my mantras so that they feel more true to you.

Which one idea will you try this week?

I’d love to hear how you get on. Get in touch and let me know.

Free Resources

Do sign up for my newsletter, if you haven’t already. You’ll also receive a free course, which is perfect for kickstarting a writing routine.

Check out my monthly Meetup group, which is a great place to ask questions and meet other friendly writers. It happens online, the 2nd Tuesday of every month.

1:1 Coaching

If you’re struggling to reach a goal – 

  • I can help with accountability – think of me as your ‘writing boss’!
  • I can support you with your networking or marketing goals.
  • If you’re struggling with self-doubt or a block, I can help with that too.
  • If you want to test out your idea, or need a fresh pair of eyes on your work in progress, I’d love to support you.

My focus is helping ambitious writers who are struggling to sit down and write (or sit down and sell their writing) – maybe because of self-doubt, a block – or simply good old-fashioned procrastination.

You’ll come away from my coaching calls feeling excited to have a goal and a writing routine, enjoying the process, and empowered to try out lots of new marketing ideas.

To find out more, check out my website.

Or book a call and ask me anything.

Katy Segrove, Writing Coach

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *