Challenge Blog One: Rituals

I never considered myself to be a woman of ritual. On time, particular, and possibly OCD? Maybe. But the act of arranging materials just right on the table or grabbing the perfect snack before I actually start a paper are moments that have usually felt more routine. However, rituals are routines that have become special and essential. Sometimes they can be positive, but in today’s case I will talk about my ritual of writing at home and how it has been problematic.

Last semester, I wrote just about every paper at my dining room table. I love being home. I enjoy my roommates’ chit-chat and the smell of everyone’s cooking. It’s warm and inviting. Since we all enjoy doing homework at the table together, it has also always felt like a great work environment. However, I was pretty disappointed with one paper I wrote last semester for American Culture in The Sixties. The whole process took place in my bedroom and at that dining room table. I interviewed my grandfather sitting in bed and did late night research downstairs. The overall product was messy and the analysis was sadly quite thin. Not all of my writing assignments ended up that way, but this particular project could have been better had I considered moving outside of my comfort zone.

My new goal is to combat my home-body attitude. It was clearly a challenge for me and I want to make sure I end my last semester of college with some great writing. With that being said, I will make treks to cool coffee shops and comfortable study areas when I need to start a new paper. This will hopefully get creative juices flowing, give me a new setting with different sounds and smells, and maybe it will be a fun ritual that I didn’t know I needed.


One thought to “Challenge Blog One: Rituals”

  1. Amanda — I have the opposite problem where I can never get anything done if I am at home trying to write something. It’s funny how, despite our original preferences, we both landed on needing to “expand” and “travel” more to establish a new ritual. There’s this book I read a number of years ago entitled “The War of Art” – it’s an…interesting read (I certainly don’t agree with some of the viewpoints that the author outlines), but one thing has stuck with me: the idea of the resistance. In summary, the author defines “the resistance” as any distractions, fears, prejudices, and self imposed limitations that keep us from investing in our creative work. The book offers many options for combatting the resistance, and one of the options is creating and maintaining a productive space. I feel like, if we travel to a place that has already been labeled as a “productive space” – like a library – then there’s a better chance that we will be able to take on the resistance head on.

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