Challenge Journals: Writing Rituals and Confidence?

After reading Twyla Tharp’s chapter on Rituals, I began to think about all of the rituals in my life. As I shared with Julie, my day always starts off with a glass of warm, lemon water. Before I run, I stretch out my quadriceps for 45 seconds, each. I have always thought that these mindless actions were just a part of my life, but I now realize that they’re rituals, and I now realize why I do them.

I have long struggled with confidence. I don’t think many people would believe me when I say that, as I am usually one of the loudest people in the room at all times. I attribute that to my uncanny ability to “fake it till I make it” – I will forever be a believer in that phrase. This lack of confidence, however, has transferred over to my writing, as well. I’ve been blogging under a password protected website for over 4 months… I clearly have something to say but am so nervous to say it. And that’s what I’m nervous about for this course, this project, this Capstone. What if people don’t like what I say? What if they think that I’m wrong? What if I don’t make sense? What if..?

Now let’s take a step back to rituals and talk about one of my favorites. Before a career ending injury during my junior year of high school, I played basketball religiously. One of my favorite things to do: shoot free throws. Why? It was monotonous for sure, but I knew one thing when I stepped up to the line- if I dribbled the ball twice with my right hand, spun it around, and took a deep breath before shooting…that ball was going into the basket, and I was going to get 1 more point next to my name in the stat book. A ritual that gave me confidence… could that transfer to writing?

I hope so, and I guess I’ll found out this semester. As Tharp mentioned, getting in the cab started her routine, just as dribbling the ball twice started mine. These rituals instilled confidence, and the rest was second nature. I’m hoping my writing rituals will start to do the same. As I mentioned, I attribute a lot to smells, so maybe I’ll start associating a vanilla cupcake candle with confidence.

If anyone has any other advice for instilling confidence in my writing, please do share! 🙂

2 thoughts to “Challenge Journals: Writing Rituals and Confidence?”

  1. Hi Casey, I love the example of the free-throw ritual in your post. Having a ritual that allows you to feel confident and relaxed at the same time is critical, so I’m glad to hear you’re thinking about that. From my own experience, I’ve become more confident in my writing through, at times, sharing certain pieces with those closest to me. Of course I’ve never shared every piece of writing, and I’m pretty selective about the ones that I do share, but I’ve discovered that allowing my family and close friends to experience my writing for themselves has consistently boosted my confidence in my writing and allowed me to feel more positive about my abilities in general.

  2. Hi Casey,

    Thanks for sharing your blog post! I think your writing challenge is one that many people experience, and I definitely agree with what Connor has already written.

    One thing you might consider is having a set amount of times to “step out of your comfort zone.” That could be once a week, once a month–basically ,whatever you want it to be! That way, once you have shared your writing once, you don’t feel tempted to go back to what is familiar; at the same time, you can still control how much and what you are sharing. You could make it gradually a little more difficult (like sharing first with a close friend, and then a classmate).

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