I Guess These Are Rituals

I’ve never really thought about rituals before, and I’m still not sure if I fully buy it, but after thinking about it for a while, I realized there are some little things I do often that hold more significance than I thought in the moment. As I shared in class, in everyday life doing my eyebrows is a ritual signifying that I’m going to take my day seriously. But writing practices? I’m not a consistent or disciplined writer. Would I have rituals?

After much thought, my conclusion is that I don’t have one good, helpful ritual, but rather several little ones that I seem to do on accident. The first is a highly problematic one–procrastination. Once I get to writing, I swear I enjoy it–but for some reason, I have the hardest time getting myself to sit down and start writing. Almost without fail, I procrastinate my writing until pressure to finish by a deadline motivates me. Perhaps I do this because I know how big of a commitment it is to start writing. I’m the type of worker that requires a lot of time before falling into the space where I’m deeply engrossed in the work. It takes a lot of mental energy to get into that space, so I think I tend to push it off.

However, once I do finally sit down to start writing, I make sure to have water and take a big gulp. I didn’t think about this as a ritual because I just drink a lot of water, but I drink water before doing anything of importance, so I suppose it counts for writing as well. The cold water clears my mouth, head, and heart, calming my anxiety down. And if I fill my water bottle, that’s even more indication that I will be spending some time doing this thing that might cause stress.

Another tendency I have is preparing document aesthetics. Microsoft Word is buggy on my computer, so I start all my writing on Apple Pages, which has very distinct pre-set formats. I go through fonts, spacing, and more, half to continue procrastinating the hard part of writing content and half because I’m always concerned with aesthetics. I now consider this a ritual because doing this helps me write more–a visually appealing document motivates me to add words to the page.

The final tendency I can think of occurs when I’m having trouble focusing. While the location doesn’t usually affect me too much, I don’t like too quiet or too loud. With either, I like to put in some earphones and search for a keyboard typing video on Youtube. This probably seems oddly specific, but the earphones block out distracting sounds of my surroundings, while the keyboard typing adds the perfect amount of white noise. But in this example, the ritual is the choice of keyboard sounds–I could choose anything else, but the keyboard signifies that I am working on something serious.

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