Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Create a ritual

Creating a daily ritual has come up in many of the self-help books I've being looking at this year.

Earlier this year, I shared my morning routine. But a ritual is different. A ritual is a 'series of actions performed according to a prescribed order' (Oxford English Dictionaries).

Sports stars have rituals they partake in before games or events; often superstitions performed to ensure good luck. Apparently, Benjamin Franklin wrote naked for an hour every morning to 'refresh' his mind in the cold air (source).
In 'On Writing' Stephen King divulges his own writing ritual. He dedicates mornings, every morning, to writing. His advice for fellow writers is to set a daily writing goal. He sets himself a word count - 2,000 words, or 10 pages per day. He closes the door to his dedicated writing room, has a quiet atmosphere, and doesn't leave until he reaches his goal (hopefully he does leave when nature calls...).

Lately, I have felt like I need a structure around my evenings to ensure I am productive. Spending all day at work limits the amount of time I have to give my number one hobby; blogging. All I have are my evenings, but the change in weather has made my levels of motivation start to wane come 6pm. I'd rather curl up in bed early with a good book than work on a blog post. So perhaps a Stephen Kind-esque evening ritual will help me?

Last week I started my little blogging productivity ritual and so far, so good. I've gotten more done for my blog in the past week than I did in all of last month. So, here's how I've been making the most of my evenings; it's my evening ritual:

- Eat Dinner and make lunch for the next day
- Check & Update my Journal - Agree a goal to be completed by 9:00pm

- Make a cup of tea
- Close my bedroom door (thanks Stephen!)
- Light a candle, or two!
- Turn off all audio and video/Resist all temptation to watch Netflix in the background
- Sit at my desk
- Write

- Shower
- Sort out outfit for next day
- Quick tidy of room

- BED! where I can watch TV, read and colour-in to my hearts desire. (But no later than 11pm.)

My ritual is totally flexible depending on what I need to get done. Once I close my door, have a quiet room and have my cup of tea in hand I can take blog photos, join in Twitter Chats or work on content to my hearts desire. It's not always about writing.
It's also not something I plan on implementing every single night. I need time to socialise, not to mention the odd evening I have to work. But it's a set-up that works for me. I've even starting using it on weekend afternoons to meet writing deadlines. And it's so easy. Find a space that is comfortable, inspiring and motivating. Set your own goals. They don't have to be as large as 2,000 words, Stephen King did have all day to accomplish that, and you just have an evening.

Whether you are a blogger or a writer, whether you have a work deadline or college assignments, there are many benefits to you creating your own writing ritual.
Rituals consist of actions, and the repetition of actions can trick your brain into associating them with productivity. And by the end of your evening, you'll feel a sense of achievement.

So what are you waiting for? Reclaim your evenings and start your own ritual!

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