I have a few rituals whenever I write. They change, based on where I am and my state of mind, but I’ve got some fairly stable ones. They’re not superstitions, but rituals-slash-procrastination cycles.
On a writing day, I’ll drag myself out of bed late. Sometime between 11am and 1pm. I start my writing day by nipping out to the local convenience story to grab a 591ml of Cherry Coke and some kind of snack. Then, I spend a few hours checking my email, checking websites, cleaning my room, calling my friends, tweeting obsessively and doing whatever else I can think of that isn’t writing. Then, I spend a couple of hours working on a project so far down on my priorities list that it may as well not be on it.
Then, in the evening, once I’ve expended all my energy and can’t fight it any more… I write. My Cherry Coke is long depleted by this point, and typically my snack is as well, so I’ll grab an Amp or Monster energy drink and slowly sip it as I prepare myself for a night’s writing. I’ll have a shower, purely for recreational purposes, which will usually give me all the ideas and inspiration I’ll need for the night.
On a good night, that will power me to write until 5 or 6am, by which time I’ll ideally have done about a week’s worth of writing. On a bad night I’ll pump out a page or two, sigh, and go to sleep before the energy drink’s worn off, promising a mean hangover the next day.
It’s a terribly ineffective system. And yet, without it, unless some magic seed sparks inside me, I cannot write. I can’t focus on the task at hand, no matter how hard I try.
The funny thing? This is an improvement from my old systems, in high school and early university, where I’d only have a small burst every week or two. Now, I can burn through 20 pages in a night, if not more. Hopefully I’ll work on shortening my procrastination prep as I develop as a writer, though, because the amount of time wasted feels a bit insane.
How about you? What are your writerly habits?