If ever I had a ritual, it would be sitting down in front of a blank sheet, thinking really hard for five minutes, and then deciding that I haven’t done enough research or world-building to possibly be able to start writing yet. My ritual is letting this fear fuel further procrastination. And I would say this is a ritual, not just because I have to write this post about a writing ritual of my own, but because this fear is essential to the core of me. This has to do with knowing vs. not knowing, and just how much knowing is required to write knowledgeably about a topic. I tend to answer that question on the side of needing to know every damn thing. Which, when I’m not trying to write, I realize is one of the most preposterous things I’ve ever thought.
I know that I won’t know everything about the thing I’m writing until I learn that information through the act of writing. Writing is, for me, the best form of active learning (followed closely by drawing), so why am I so hesitant to apply this practice outside of everyday note-taking? For something like a research essay, a simple enough way to combat this fear would be to start every session with fact-checking my thesis and outline. This would be a good practice for both my anxiety and building my references. For everything else, I strongly feel like I might need to rewire my brain.
My studio professor this semester is a big fan of “getting out the ugly” in our drawings, so that we can push through to something more thoughtful, beautiful, and nuanced. Without the initial push, I’m going to be doing my body and health a disservice by franticly floundering for words the night before, because procrastination will make me its bitch. It really will. So I think a good ritual would be to “shitty first draft” everything I’m having trouble with. New mantra: “Get out the ugly jist of it; refine later.”