Writing rituals

As I’ve mentioned, I’m going back to basics with my writing and have joined a writing course. It’s an on-line MOOC, massive open on-line course, run by the Open University and really it is for people just starting to write. I feel as if I’m getting a little stale with my writing, so for me it is a refresher! I mentioned the other day about writer’s block, fortunately I don’t have it, but at the moment it’s like walking barefoot across a very pebbly beach – although over the last few days, I’ve found some smooth sand and am back to writing more fluently/fluidly (?) – back to writing!!

We’re thinking about writing rituals at the moment on the course – and I have to say to start with that the term ‘ritual’ really puts me off – it’s not the idea, it’s the word –  ritual seem prescriptive and proscriptive to me,

Ritual – a religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order

I just don’t like that word, I feel it would put off a lot of people who are just beginning to write. The intention is  that people should try to make writing as straight forward and positive as possible. So how else could it be explained? Suggest choosing a comfortable place to write, a place where they won’t be interrupted or distracted, where they can concentrate and feel relaxed. Suggest they should prepare themselves if necessary by not being hungry or thirsty, and having a drink to hand if they need. Comment that maybe they need music playing, maybe they need a window open, maybe they need to be in daylight, or in darkness writing in the light of a lamp. Maybe they have a particular chair or desk where they like to work. Maybe they like to be in private or in a busy place.

Sorting out how and where you write isn’t a ritual… not in my opinion!

So what do I do? I go to the computer, I sit down, I write. Maybe I have a coffee or a tea with me, maybe I don’t. Maybe it’s day or maybe it’s night. Maybe the house is quiet, maybe it’s noisy with someone on the phone, someone watching something, someone listening to music, children playing outside at the school next door, dustcarts emptying bins, seagull…. If I’m elsewhere, on a train, in a café, waiting for something somewhere, I write as I can.

I hope the course doesn’t make people feel as if  they have to do things in a particular way or to develop a ‘ritual’ in order to be able to write… I hope this doesn’t put up a barrier for people trying it for the first time!

Here’s a link to the course – we’re on the third out of eight weeks so it’s not too late to join!


… and here is a link to my books:



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