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Creativity coach, writing and creative process instructor, speaker, author of Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Write the Way You Want (Penguin/Tarcher 2012) and Dancing in the Dragon's Den (Red Wheel Weiser), Teaching Artist at the Loft Literary Center.

Why Weird Writing Rituals Work

rotten apples canstockphoto14255526 (2)Who’s the weirdest of them all?

Which famous writer(s) wrote in the nude, picked fleas from her cats before writing, or needed to smell rotten apples before he could write?

Find out who had these and other strange ways to get started writing — and why these methods make brain sense — in Why Weird Writing Rituals Work, an article that I’m proud to announce was recently published in the online magazine WOW-Women On Writing.

Please check it out and if you like it, leave a comment here and/or share the article on the social media channel of your choice.

What’s your writing ritual?

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4 Comments on “Why Weird Writing Rituals Work”

  1. Fredi June 24, 2013 at 8:26 pm #

    I tried the ritual thing, but it turned out to be just a big red flag for my brain (Yikes! She wants me to work), which had the opposite effect.

    Now, I only rely on two things to lull my grey matter into writing: 1) don’t worry, it will only last 15 minutes; 2) you don’t have to come up with anything good. My brain falls right into that trap every time and I can write for hours without any kind of “preparation”.

    Seriously, with only these two little pieces of advice I conquered writer’s block. Thanks.


    • rosannebane June 26, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

      Hi Fredi, It’s great to hear the classics are working so well for you. It’s vital to both listen to (and be willing to play with) other writers’ experience and expertise and respect your own experience with what works for you. You’re doing a great job with both. I’m gratified to know that I had a part in your conquest (of writer’s block).


  2. Joel D Canfield June 21, 2013 at 5:47 pm #

    I don’t see a place to leave comments at WOW. I’ll do it here.

    I love the idea of designing a ritual rather than discovering that one already exists. I get to choose.

    Since I rarely drink coffee, except when I’m about to write, that’s in. Coffee and a square of dark chocolate. Then I’ll pick exactly the right 5 instrumentals to get me to the zone. Now I just have to pick out the clothes.

    I wasn’t clear from the article: if I have a pair of “writing jeans” is it best to reserve them only for writing, even when they’re not combined with the rest of the ritual?


    • rosannebane June 24, 2013 at 10:39 am #

      Joel: The more exclusive the elements of the ritual are to the ritual — you eat dark chocolate, drink coffee, listen to those instrumentals and wear those jeans ONLY when you write, the more effective they are.

      Think of it this way, if you eat dark chocolate when you watch TV or when you sit in your garden as well as when you write, then your “chocolate tasting” neurons can trigger any of the three pathways for writing, watching TV or sitting in the garden. BTW This is why chocolate is not part of my writing ritual — I’m not willing to limit my consumption of chocolate to just writing.

      If you create a strong association between wearing a certain pair of jeans and writing, then wear those jeans to a party, you’ll “feel” like writing. If you don’t write at the party, you weaken the association. If you do write at the party, you strengthen the association (wearing these jeans means writing no matter where I am), but you could run the risk of annoying your Best Beloved.


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