I always tried to not get too dependent on rituals or tools for the writing. I thought it would become a problem that it would stop me from writing if my surroundings happened to be not perfectly aligned to my rituals. But I recently decided to let a bit of a ritual slip in, small things like sitting down on that one chair and taking a sip of tea before putting the fingers to the keyboard. It helps, as long as it’s not restricting me.
Habits can be good and healthy. Some habits can hold us back. People tend to cling to what they believe works. This is why athletes and actors (and others, of course) can sometimes generate elaborate rituals before a game or performance. It’s based on the idea that duplicating a set of circumstances will duplicate the outcome.
Healthy habits include writing consistently, perhaps keeping a journal, and maintaining commitment to writing. Unhealthy habits can become rituals or fetishes that hold us back. For example, requiring a specific pair of slippers or environment to write is a constraint, not an element of process. What if you lose the slippers? What if you’re on deadline and the preferred environment isn’t available?
Experimenting with different elements of process and periodically examining our habits is a…
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