Challenge Journal: Rituals; or, Flick still sucks at titles.

Apologies in advance for being hopelessly unoriginal, but I genuinely feel like my one of my biggest (if not definitely my biggest) challenge as a writer is starting my piece. But this problem is pretty specific to more creative writing. I find academic papers easier to write – there’s a structure and very explicit goals and instructions that are laid out to be followed. Great. Boring, but easy enough to do as you’re told. Then we look at the fun writing. The personal narratives, the gateway and capstone writing, the creative pieces. The ones where you have all sorts of freedom to do whatever the hell you want. No rules!!!! So, where the hell do you start?

In class today, we discussed rituals. I’d be lying if I said I had a writing ritual. The closest thing I have to a ritual is something that I actually briefly wrote about in a Gateway “How I Write” assignment. The piece detailed how I fill my head with self-doubt and proceed to throw myself on my bedroom floor and roll around for a while until I peel myself up and decide to at least attempt to write something. Even now, I stand by my rolling-on-the-floor time. While it’s important to have confidence in yourself, I like to acknowledge the self-doubt that I have. It’s always going to be there, so maybe rolling on the floor is my way of confronting those fears, which then allows me to move on and exist apart from them. Or maybe I’m just reading waaay too deep into a childish practice. Wouldn’t rule out either possibility.

How do you start writing? I assume most people are more disciplined than I am and perhaps have better/more effective rituals. What gets you going? Is it dependant on your rituals or can you just dive head first into a piece? Tell me ur secrets.

One thought to “Challenge Journal: Rituals; or, Flick still sucks at titles.”

  1. Hi Flick! It’s interesting that you find academic papers easier to start, because it’s just the opposite for me. Something about writing in academic, professional jargon makes the entire essay appear daunting and, in turn, makes starting the essay even harder. Personal and creative essays seem more doable because I know I don’t have to rely on a strict vocabulary — I can be silly and strange if I choose. I really like your rolling on the floor ritual (and have admittedly tried that myself before). To help me get started, I like to brainstorm and come up with an outline. This semester I am going to try doing an unrelated short writing exercise before I begin writing for class to help get me in the groove. What are some other interesting techniques you’ve heard of or seen people do to kick-start the essay-writing process?

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