View Full Version : Do You Have a Writing Ritual?

08-12-2008, 08:57 PM
I can write almost anywhere at any time. I do know that some people have certain things they need to have before they feel comfortable writing. Does anyone here have a writing ritual? If so, how does that ritual help you? If not, have you trained yourself to write whatever the situation?

08-12-2008, 11:05 PM
I have habits, but I wouldn't call them ritual. When I use pen and paper I do like to use my favorite pen. I'm not sure if that counts.

08-13-2008, 05:21 AM
I don't really have a specific ritual, however i have some quirks that are slightly outside the box.

First i don't like writing with pen and paper, i can type much faster then i can write, and even when typing i often have trouble keeping up with my thought process. So i almost never write, if i have a computer available. The only time i will write is when i am trying to have a lot of organic thoughts that are short and quick to write, that i want to be able to look over and add to on the go.

Secondly, i prefer to write on a laptop, i prefer the feel of the keyboard and tend to actually type quicker due to less resistance of the keys. I am not quite sure why i developed this quirk but it is something that works for me so i am not going to stop now.

Lastly, i find that i need to get the inspiration to write, i cannot sit down at anytime and force myself to come up with a topic and write about it. I need to come up with the topic and then start writing about it. This is why sometimes i will make a lot of short responses to posts, and sometimes you will get longer stories in reply, it depends how the other posts inspire what i have to say on the topic.

Steve B
08-13-2008, 06:56 AM
Pen and paper have long been history for me. It's embarassing how bad and slow my handwriting has gotten over the years - not to mention the degradation of my spelling.

I tend to try to capture my thoughts as quickly as possible - then re-write, re-write, and re-write some more. If I'm smart - just when I think it's completely done - I'll come back to it a couple days later and re-write it again. Also, I tend to write best when I first wake up in the morning.

08-13-2008, 07:46 AM
I feel almost incapable of writing anything unless I make it a mental conversation. For the words to flow (ie. something more than a mere list of ideas), there has to be someone else on the receiving end, even if I have to imagine that soneone. I think this serves to make my writing more conversational, which I like.

Being a member of Toastmasters International and gearing my thoughts for speech-making, my pre-writing, thinking stage usually begins in my mind as, "Thank you, Mr.Toastmaster..." And this usually takes place walking around a tree in my backyard on, what I call, the dog's race track!

Yes, that probably counts as a ritual!

08-13-2008, 08:21 AM
I always find it interesting to learn how other people go about creating a written piece.

I'm like Joel in that I tend to think faster than I can write by hand. I almost always use a computer now, as I type much faster than I can write. I can't remember the last time I wrote something other than a thank you note by hand.

08-13-2008, 01:40 PM
It's interesting how many people find typing easier than pen and paper. I do too and for the same reason. It's quicker. My mind still goes faster than I can type, but I generally type faster than I write by hand. However I do want to offer some support for our old friends, pen and paper.

While it might be easier to type on your keyboard, it's unlikely you can take your keyboard everywhere. Sometimes pen and paper might be all you have to record thoughts. I carry around a Moleskine notebook with me most places I go so as to not lose thoughts and ideas.

You can improve the speed at which you write if you practice. One of the reasons most of us type faster is because we type more often. Not the only reason, but the point is if you write more the speed of your writing increases.

There's a very different physical action to typing and writing. Typing is banging on keys. Writing is more flowing. The difference in physical actions can subtly alter your thinking producing a difference in what you end up with.

With pen and paper I'll sometimes be recording thoughts at a slower pace, but at times that's desired. It gives me an opportunity to picture what I'm thinking more. I'll often add sketches when writing by hand which opens up new possibilities in the ideas you record.

I'm with all of you that when I'm writing something for publication, typing is a lot faster and since for me it's going to end up online most of the time anyway it's going to get typed at some point, but I'd encourage people to grab pen and paper from time to time as well.

08-13-2008, 09:59 PM
I edit as I write, and I'm trying hard to break the habit. I've stopped writing on paper too. Now I only use paper for taking notes.

Can't say I have any rituals, however.

08-13-2008, 11:11 PM
Sometimes it's hard not to edit while writing. I did a lot of free writing in the past to help me break the habit to a degree, but it's still tough not to want to go back and fix things as you're writing.

Dan Furman
08-14-2008, 12:57 AM
I never edit until I'm done with something. Then I usually walk away for awhile (and maybe leave it overnight.) Then I edit once. That's almost always all it takes.

As far as a ritual... IMHO, that's more for creative writing / fiction. Not that what I do isn't creative (it certainly is), but I don't have time to get inspired, etc. :) If someone needs something, I have to be able to do it.

Kristine - how can I get my sig like yours? It yells at me after three lines...

08-14-2008, 01:28 AM
Dan's sigs are set to only allow three lines with a maximum amount of characters. I think it's set at 1,000. Technically we should make Kristine cut down the number of lines to three as well.

It's limited because at some point too many lines of a signature is really just too much. We want to let people promote their sites, but there's a limit to how much promotion we want to allow. On many sites where the sig length is unlimited it attracts people who just want to list as many links as possible and then start making useless posts just to pump the sig. Some forums stopped allowing links in sigs completely for this reason, but we thought 3 lines was a reasonable compromise.

Images in signatures have also been turned off since it's usually accompanied by more spam than good. I realize most of the people here aren't the type to abuse things, but we want to keep it that way and measures like these make our forum a little less desirable for spammers.

Dan Furman
08-14-2008, 01:31 AM
Thanks - wasn't sure if you had to have a certain amount of posts or whatnot.

Totally get the reasoning why - it can get silly.

08-14-2008, 01:40 AM
Yeah it wasn't you. The system is just set not to allow it. You can probably fit what you want into the three lines I would think.

08-14-2008, 09:13 AM
Ah! The privileges of being an insider! :D

Three lines is good, though, but don't use any fancy fonts like I have. The system will then only let you have two lines. (Not complaining - I like my two lines with fancy font better than three plain lines.)

08-14-2008, 09:47 AM
I got my signature down to two lines now. I guess I'll have to add a couple more blogs before it goes up to three.

08-14-2008, 11:03 AM
I got my signature down to two lines now. I guess I'll have to add a couple more blogs before it goes up to three.Actually, Kristine, you are using three lines - the space line counts, I think. At least I found it did when I was juggling with my signature. I just mention it for anyone who might be wondering why their 3 lines with a space is booted by the system.

And as one of the powers-that-be, I see no harm in you having a little privilege. There's probably precious little compensation for the work you are doing for us.

08-14-2008, 11:39 AM
I think Frederick is right and the space counts as a line. I know 3 lines is a little limiting, but I also know we can all fit what we need to in there.

08-14-2008, 12:18 PM
O.k., so I'm at my maximum. I guess if I need more space, I can always delete the blank line.