A few months ago I had the privilege of taking an online writing course taught by Bruce Holland Rogers. He's a fantastic instructor, by the way, so if you ever have the opportunity to pick his brain or take one of his classes, do it. After the course was over, I found myself wanting more, so I picked up a copy of Word Work. I think it's geared more towards the beginning writer rather than towards someone who's been at it for a while, but I found some gems in the book, and it certainly got me thinking.
Anyhow, one of the chapters is on rituals. What do you do to ease yourself into writing for the day? Most of us lead busy lives and have a finite time for writing. I, for example, write during my son's naps and sometimes at night (but only if my brain isn't fried or if I have a deadline and have no choice), so I don't have the luxury of taking an hour-long walk or surfing the Internet or any number of other things to ease slowly into that mindset. I need to sit at the desk and GO. And I accidentally discovered how to make that nearly instantaneous switch while I was pregnant.
My husband and I took a hypnosis birthing class. When I mention hypnosis, some people instantly think of stage tricks or that scene in Office Space where the main character is hypnotized and then remains in that state when the hypnotist has a heart attack in the middle of the session. Hypnosis is not like that, by the way. Anyway, I'm an anxious person, and I wanted--and needed--something non-medicinal to help me keep calm during pregnancy and the birth. As part of the homework for the class, I had to practice my hypnosis trigger at least three times a day. One of those times happened to be just before I sat down to write. I'd spend maybe three to five minutes in a hypnotic state, then come out of it and start writing, and after a while, I discovered that instead of needing fifteen or thirty or so minutes to get into the groove (which used to be the norm for me), I was slipping right into the mental place I needed to be. My productivity went way up, which was great, because I was trying to finish a novel before my son was born. Talk about a deadline!
At this point I sometimes still practice hypnosis before writing, but it's not necessary anymore. I did it so often that I suppose I trained myself to be ready to write the moment I open the laptop.
I'd love to hear about the rituals that others have, whether it's a pre-writing ritual or another kind.