When we were asked in class to think about our writing ritual(s), past and present, I was grasping for ideas. At the time, I didn’t fully understand the definition of a ritual in that context. After some class discussion, I gained some clarity. The term ritual is not just reserved for religious or spiritual experiences, as I earlier thought. A ritual is all about intentionality, purpose, and the motivation behind the act or situation. So, what is a writing ritual for me?
My first thought is that before I sit down to write a paper, I need to brainstorm ideas. I don’t want to go into writing a new piece without any idea of what’s going to come of it. But then, I remember that in certain scenarios, particularly when a deadline creeps up seemingly out of nowhere, I prefer writing without thinking about what I’m writing. This is something that was emphasized and encouraged in the Gateway course. Those are two separate ways of starting the writing process, so neither really feels like a ritual.
Uhh, do I like writing in a certain place or atmosphere? Yes! I do. I think I’ve finally found a ritual: I usually write a paper at the kitchen table with a harsh light beating down on me. No, wait, I also like writing when I’m sitting in bed, like I’m doing right now, with low lighting and a snack.
The longer I think about it, the more I believe that I don’t have any rituals when I write, and I’m okay with that. It doesn’t mean I’m writing the wrong way, or the right way. It’s just my way.