We all have our rituals. I always thought it was to keep us grounded--after all, there is this routine we all perform to start or end our day. No matter what kind of day we will encounter--whether it's spectacular, ho-hum or horrendous--we subconsciously carry out this regular ritual. This makes everything seem normal even if it isn't. And, brushing our teeth or washing our faces counts as a daily habit, not a specific ritual.
Some people may begin their day with calisthenics or tai-chi moves while others begin with that first cup of caffeine. Whatever we do heralds the birth of a new day or marks the end of one.
Writing also has its own rituals. Writers need to ward off that uninspiring blank page. If I'm beginning a new project, I have a list of things I must do first: check my email; have an ample supply of pens; make sure I have my just-the-right-size-notepad to jot down random thoughts; have my thesaurus handy and my supply of dark chocolate nearby. It's definitely bad news if I've dived into my chocolate stash before I've committed anything on paper. When a deadline is looming, it's even more important to write something meaningful or thoughtful enough to have someone say, "Hey, that's pretty good. Why didn't I think of that?"
So, the next time you're putting pen to paper or fingers to a keyboard, what did you do to get there? Did you first perform your own ceremony to ensure you stay inspired? It could have been as simple as making a cup of tea or finding that classical jazz station or replenishing that chocolate supply. Whatever you do, I hope it inspires you to write that short piece that makes someone nod their head thoughtfully or coaxes a smile from them. But most of all, it leaves you happy that you wrote your daily best and deserve that chocolate reward!