On Rituals

The hardest part of writing for me is the start. There are so many beginnings in the process of creating—beginning to move toward my desk and journal, beginning to open my pencil case to find exactly the right pen to use, beginning to set my writing space up the way I like to, beginning to open my journal, beginning to put my pen to paper, beginning to find words and thoughts and ideas. Getting myself to my desk is the hardest part of the battle. I have the ritual, it’s my mind that’s in the way. I try to combat this difficulty of beginning by taking away many of them all together. I have a ritual of stripping away things I view as obstacles in my path toward putting my pen to paper. I plug my laptop into its charger. I stack my journals neatly on top of each other; I take out a single purple pen and line it up neatly with the edge of the journal. I fill my water bottle, place it within easy reach of my right hand. I turn my desk lamp to the exact angle that I like it, so that the light filters out from under its shade without bouncing light off of my computer screen. I push my chair into my desk. I turn the lights off. I go to sleep. When I wake up, hypothetically, I am ready to write. 

            But writing for myself in the morning is somehow exponentially easier than knowing what I write will be read by others. I am crippled by this fear of an audience’s judgement—even if I know it’s someone that loves and cares about me. I am curious how ritual could play a part in minimizing this fear, or how others deal with it.

5 thoughts to “On Rituals”

  1. Micky, I am inspired by your dedication of following such a meticulous ritual that help you ground yourself to be ready to write in the mornings. Conversely, I am a person who needs to finish all of my tasks and set to write when I do not have any pending assignments or when I am bored of doing the same project or assignment for a while. Moreover, I am in the same boat as you are since I never know what to write until I have the many bunch of ideas flowing out of my mind onto paper. I am a person who usually writes during the day, but most importantly, after taking a gap between writing since it helps me read and reflect over what I already have written. What are some of the strategies that you have to get to writing? Does the morning time make you feel focused about the ideas that you have? I am looking forward to knowing you more this semester!

  2. Hey Micky, your ritual is sounds so aesthetically pleasing. I strive to be organized and find organized spaces so comforting but I am not good at organization, so props to you. After describing your ritual, you bring up fear. Specifically, fear of the judgement of audience. This is something I 100% relate too. I am always scared/nervous when I know other will be viewing/reading my work. I worry that they will point out the flaws I see in it, that it won’t be as good as the others. Even now reading your post, I selfishly worry about how my own reads. I think one way to minimize this fear is to bounce ideas off of someone you trust. Before writing, during the process, and after, I like to discuss the ideas/topics I’m addressing with a partner. By talking through it, I am more confident in what I write. Would that be helpful for you?

  3. Hey girl! Great to have you by my side in a writing class once again!

    I can physically see your entire process throughout this post. I am not a pen to paper writer much these days, ending up staring at the screen out of convenience. However, you are really influencing me to start inking those pages to stimulate some new creative thoughts and processes. I want to pose a few questions at you as I read through your blog. You perform in front of many people, doing something you absolutely love and are proud of, can you use this confidence from dance to overcome the fear of audience’s judgment with your writing? Furthermore, how often do you make it to your desk in the morning?


  4. Micky-

    I sympathize with the fear of failure holding you back; I often find that when I begin writing something that is going to be read by someone else, my voice is entirely different than when I am writing just for myself. And the thought of that alone makes me not want to write at all.

    Have you ever thought of including something in your ritual that has *seemingly* nothing to do with writing at all? Like your favorite yoga poses, stretching, cup of tea or coffee, putting your favorite cozy sweater on… these things could bring the you and the joy back into your writing, whether it is for yourself or for others.



  5. Hi Micky,
    It was a little trippy for me reading this because it’s almost exactly like what my attitude towards ritual is – there are all of these tiny steps that have to be followed to make that perfect state for writing, and if they’re all done right and the mood is set, then MAYBE you’ll be able to write, but not necessarily. I usually think of rituals as a safeguard against the folly of Future Me and get all tangled up in the what-ifs of who’s going to read it and what will happen once the writing is no longer just mine, but after reading Tharp I’ve been thinking a lot about how rituals can be simple, and just a kickoff point. This is a complete ramble, but I hope it made some semblance of sense

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