Writing Rituals To Get In The Mood

Updated: Mar 22

You’ve heard the advice: don’t wait for the inspiration to strike. You’ve got to make an appointment, show up, and then she’ll be sure to join you. Stephen King sums it up:

“Your job is to make sure the muse knows where you're going to be every day from nine 'til noon. or seven 'til three. If he does know, I assure you that sooner or later he'll start showing up.”

And maybe you’ve listened to the advice. You blocked out regular writing time, hung the do not disturb sign, and committed to showing up. And so, you sit in front of your keyboard or notebook, wait. King is right -- the muse will start to show up, but is there anything you can do to set the mood, to make the muse feel more comfortable?

Here are some tips on getting into the writing mood:

  1. Call on your senses. Light a special scented candle or incense every day at the beginning of your writing time. Once you start to associate the particular scent with writing, it will be easier and easier to get the words flowing. It will also bring a sense of the sacred to the routine.

  2. Get into the groove. Whether you’re at home and can blast your own music, or working in a public place and rely on your trusty earbuds, turning on the right music can unlock inspiration. Make a playlist that evokes the mood of your story or poems, that reminds you of a time that you felt especially creative, or just makes you feel good.

  3. Location, location, location. If you’re working on several writing projects at once, or just juggling everyday life with your novel, it can help to designate a specific location for writing. Just as people suffering from insomnia are advised to use the bedroom for sleep and sex exclusively, writers can build an automatic association between their writing spot and the act of writing.

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