Writing is about so much more than simply putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. It’s about tapping into the creative part of yourself—call it your muse, your soul or, for those less spiritually inclined, your right brain. Maybe it’s even about inviting in, or invoking, something Higher—call it God—to join you as you work.
That’s why it’s so important to create a sacred writing space, one that feels extra-ordinary, spiritual, and peaceful, so you can settle into that creative place easily and effortlessly each time you sit down to write. Your writing space should become a vortex of creative energy, just like a church, synagogue or mosque is a vortex of spiritual energy. When you enter the centuries-old places of worship in Europe or Israel, for instance, you can feel the energy of so many people who previously have worshipped there. It’s as if their prayers and rituals were absorbed into the walls and floors. So you need only walk in to tap into that energy, to be whisked into your own connection with Something Higher.
That’s what you want to have happen in your writing space. You want to enter it and feel connected to your creativity or the source of that creativity.
Writers Need Rituals
Rituals help develop that type of experience. When you perform over and over again a writing ritual, this not only lends energy to the space in which you do so—your sacred writing space—but also creates the type of vortex I described above. Over time, you need only enter your sacred writing space, perform your ritual and you will feel connected, tapped in, transported to the place you need to go to feel creative and able to write effectively. Eventually, you won’t even need the ritual. Just entering the space will be enough.
All sorts of people use rituals. Athletes, dancers, actors, and speakers have them. They use them regularly to help them get “into the space” they need to perform or do what they need to do even if they aren’t at home or in the place where they normally work or work out. Many of them also want to feel “guided” in some way by a Higher Power. They may always wear the same clothes when they warm up, listen to the same music, say the same prayers, or go through the same motions. Doing so gets them to that “place” where they feel they can do their best at whatever they do.
Create a Writing Ritual
It’s not hard to develop a writing ritual. Once you have created a sacred writing space, think about the actions you find meaningful and spiritual that might help you feel connected or tapped into your creative source. These might come from your religious practice or some type of spiritual tradition you enjoy. Or, if you aren’t a spiritual or religious person, think about what types of things you like doing prior to writing that make you most creative, like meditating, exercising, listening to music, reading something inspiring, writing down goals, or reciting affirmations.
Next, create a series of two to five actions you will perform prior to each writing period. I limit these to five so the ritual doesn’t become too long and become a way to avoid writing.
Here’s my writing ritual:
- I go upstairs to my mediation room for 15 minutes and meditate. I write down the inspiration or messages that come to me.
- I go down to my office and smudge myself in Native American tradition using sage or incense. I say a prayer asking that my energy be cleared of negativity and ties to anything that might drag me down and that I start the day fresh.
- I light two votive candles. When I light the first one, I set my intention for the day’s work. When I light the second one, I ask my guides and guardian angels to join me, support me and generally help me do my work. I also invite God to join me. I pray to have the words, the insight, the knowledge, the wisdom necessary to serve those for whom I write and to whom I speak.
- Light a stick of incense (if I haven’t already in step 2), as the priests did in the ancient temple in Jerusalem.
- Pick a card from two different decks I have on my desk, Louise Hay’s “Power Thought Cards” and Esther and Jerry Hicks “Ask and It is Given Cards,” to receive a message from the day. Sometimes I also read a bit from one of my many books on Kabbalah.
Then I begin to work.
Sometimes I don’t find time for step 1. And sometimes I skip step 5 because of time constraints. But the other three steps I do almost every day. Generally, I can do those middle steps in about five minutes or less. If I do all five steps, it could take me 25 to 30 minutes.
Small Rituals to Change Your Energy
Sometimes you need a ritual midway through writing. For instance, maybe you feel stuck part at some point. Consider changing your energy with a walk in nature, a run or bike ride, some time with your pet, a brief meditation, a 10-minute yoga session, or by listening to an inspirational podcast or watching an inspirational video (it can be about writing or publishing).
Get up from your desk, shake off the old energy and invite in some new energy. Then return to your sacred writing space. You can repeat your earlier ritual if you like, or even some part of it. I sometimes re-smudge, hit a chime, light new candles later in the day and set a new intention or restate the earlier one. I ask for support from above again. Then, I sit down to write, and I usually feel that creative connection return.
Do these small rituals often enough and they, too, will become so habitual that after a while they will reconnect you to your creative source immediately.
I’d love to hear about your writing ritual, if you have one. Tell me about it in a comment.
Frances Caballo says
I love this post, Nina. I used to meditate daily and I know I need to return to that practice and this post provides some of the encouragement that I need. I must say that in a way I’m not surprised by your ritual. You come across as a deep, intentional, and focused writer. Kudos to you for creating the atmosphere you need to accomplish your creative work.
Nina Amir says
Thanks, Frances. There have been times when the ritual has fallen by the wayside…it’s easy to get too busy, but as I said in another comment, when I stick to the ritual I find my writing has more depth and meaning. And I feel my work is more meaning-full and spirit-full.
I walk into my home office, turn on the computer, and write.
Papa said it best: “Writing is easy, you just sit down at your typewriter and bleed.”
Nina Amir says
For some,that is enough, Paul. And I admit that many a day, that is enough for me. But the ritual makes my writing richer, deeper, and makes it more meaningful.