My Writing Ritual- Or Lack Thereof

During my Gateway class I had a lot of trouble coming up with ideas for my experiments. For my final project I ended up writing a collection of poems rather than sticking to one topic. If I could go back, I would challenge myself to dig deeper into one subject rather than skip around.

I think a big problem I have that ultimately affects my writing is that my brain tends to go 100 mph without many breaks in between. I find it hard to sit and focus on one thing for a long period of time without getting distracted, getting bored of what I am working on, or second guessing everything I do. One day I might be able to get myself together to work on an assignment, but I always need to give myself extra days just in case I am not able to perform how I would like right away.

This being said, I don’t think that having a busy mind makes me a bad writer, in fact it often makes it easier for me to come up with ideas, but sticking to an idea is more of the issue. This is why I do not currently have a routine that I go through when I am going to write because I never know when I am going to get that sudden burst of energy and excitement for what I am doing.

I prefer the kind of writing that I do informally whether that be journaling or writing in the notes on my phone because at least at the moment I wrote it, it was relevant and important to me and there is no demand for me go back and fix that writing so that it fits into someone else’s expectations. I think my writing is more interesting when I do it at the time I am passionate about something. That being said, after the Tharp reading, I think I am going to try and slow down by doing my writing earlier in the day before I get distracted by life events. No promises that I will always stick to it, but I will certainly try.

4 thoughts to “My Writing Ritual- Or Lack Thereof”

  1. Jana, first off I think you are such an incredibly creative and talented writer. I find your writing honest and reflective, it’s humble and insightful. Taking T’s class with you last year is such a great memory for me! Anyway, I feel like I almost wrote this post of yours because I can relate to everything you say. My brain also goes at 100 mph and I second guess so much of what I think that it’s hard to commit to what I am writing for more than a brief period of time. You said you prefer writing notes in your phone or journaling because that type of writing lets you write what is relevant to you and it doesn’t matter it if “fits into someone else’s expectations.” This point stood out to me, I think you and I would both benefit from approaching all of our writing endeavors this way. Try to throw all our worries and fears out the window and just go with what our gut is telling us! Having a mantra can help with this, something to repeat to yourself before you write, something that works for you. For me, my mantra is, “I am creative, I am worthy, I am a writer.” Words are powerful, this we know, so why don’t we use that power to help ourselves as writers? Let’s give it a try! I believe in you!

  2. Jana, I think that your struggles sound similar to the same ones I have. In a world that doesn’t seem to stop moving, our minds do the same. Sometimes I feel as though I barely have the time to write. To make matters worse, when I am able to find the time it seems as though my brain decides to run the other direction – I can never focus on just my writing.

    While this is frustrating, I believe there is a greater fear at hand. What if it is bad? Perhaps our minds can’t settle down because we don’t give ourselves time to fully accept an idea. It is scary to devote time to something that, ultimately, might not work. That being said, I think that this community provides an infinite amount of support specifically for this problem.

    In my gateway course, we would always start with a free-write. I’d write about mundane things, my mourning routines, my favorite meals, and my daily to-do lists. The thing is, without the pressure of a grade or a deadline, my mind was clear. The writing came easily.

    So, my advice to you is to be confident! Try exploring all of your ideas by quickly jotting down ideas and briefly writing about them. I think that this will help you determine what comes easily, establish what you ‘re interested in, and see which of your ideas are truly working.

  3. As someone who also gets easily distracted, I know you have a difficult, but rewarding challenge ahead for yourself. You can’t force creativity, so it makes sense that the type of writing that you enjoy like jotting down notes and journaling produces the best work. You write that out as a problem, but I consider this a strength that you can build on. Longer or more detailed work doesn’t necessarily mean better work, and I think being able to aggregate all of your thoughts here and there could lead to something totally awesome. I second Ingrid, that you should be writing for yourself and not for others. For me, I second guess because of what might sound “objectively” better to a reader. But sometimes being stuck in that uncomfortable state and running with it is the best training. I am excited to see the creativity that comes from writing with bursts of energy and excitement!

  4. Hey Jana, I totally feel the same way about rituals. Especially with a busy mind that runs in every which direction, it can’t always be easy to just sit down and crank out a project, even if it is something you’re passionate about! I have the same problem often, even with narrowing things down and picking one topic.

    Is there anything in particular — outside of finding something you’re passionate about — that really helps you write? For me, it’s getting out of the house to do work. I used to have a “spot” (Starbucks in the Union, RIP) that really helped me just buckle down and focus. Maybe if you had one spot you knew you could really focus, that would help you refrain from getting distracted? I know that almost seems to take away from the reality of “free writing” because maybe it makes it seem or feel too structured, but even if you were to just go somewhere for a couple hours, that might help at least get you in a place to where you can add on to your pieces without it feeling like an uphill battle too much.

    Hopefully this helps a little bit — can’t wait to work with you more this semester! 🙂

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