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The Ritual of Writing Books (or Trying to Write Books)

The Ritual of Writing Books (or Trying to Write Books) September 27, 2021

I haven’t been writing here lately.

It’s nothing personal, it’s just that…I have nothing to say. Well, I have a lot to say, but this is not the forum. Or maybe it will be once I wrap my head around all of the swirling.

Back to here.

Hey. One of the things I could have said was that I was busy writing the two books I’m contracted to write right now. I could have.

But that would be a lie. I have been THINKING of writing these books.

I just haven’t.

After writing 4 books in the last few years, my brain didn’t break, but it definitely could not imagine doing it again for a minute.

Like the time I ran a marathon and then followed it up with a 10K a few weeks later. The distance was so much shorter than it would have been easy for my body, but my brain was broken from the strain of the previous effort.

To get myself back into the swing of writing, and maybe to support anyone here who might be feeling themselves dragging, I share my ritual of writing.

(Books, that is. Poems are an entirely different beast.)

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The Sacred Container for Words

Like any good spell, I begin with a container to hold the magick. This container can sometimes be super fancy, like a full ritual might be. Or it might be as simple as finding a quiet place to write where I won’t be interrupted by anyone but my cats.

Best places to write? A coffee shop or library.

In a pandemic? Anywhere but where I write for work stuff.

The place is what I consider first.

Then, it’s about time. No, really, it’s about choosing the time. What time is best for me? Well, if I had full control over things, I would only write between 8am and 12pm. Sometimes between 2pm and 4pm.

As you can see, that’s hard with a traditional work schedule. So, I often write my books on weekends so I can clear the decks and crank things out.

Or, I shuffle my work schedule to make space for the book to hurtle into its deadline.

And I turn off the internet. And my phone. And notifications.

Those are treats when I hit certain word counts. Or when my eyes start to dry out and I need a break.

Without a container, I get nothing done. Without a container, it isn’t sacred, this act of writing. It’s not held.

Words need to be held and know they will be held before they will emerge.

For me, anyway.

Intention Setting for Writing

This part might happen with deliberate attention or it might be that I have certain goals for a particular day.

What is my intention for this writing session? Is it to write 2000 words? Is it to research that one thing I think I know, but better double check?

Or is it to wrap up loose ends and notes I’ve left in the manuscript?

And each time I start to get off track, I can bring myself back to the intention.

And if I complete the goal or meet the intention, I can stop.

I often keep going with a new intention.

Other Fun and Yet Oh So Mundane Tips

As I write this, I don’t think of it as being all that difficult. But when I think back to how I learned to write, I get that this is much different. I *had* do those papers in school.

I *get* to do this writing now. I signed up for it. I did the research, wrote the proposal, and signed the contact.

It’s on me now. So how can and will I support me?

  • Instrumental music in large headphones that cancel out background noise
  • Post it note over the time so I don’t keep checking
  • Caffeine, but no sugar unless I’m toward the end of my writing session (I’ll crash too quickly)
  • Water
  • Protein
  • A place to capture related thoughts to come back to later
  • Comfy clothes
  • Pulled back hair
  • Charger for all the things

Sometimes, I’ll create an altar to the book, e.g., I had an altar to Iris during that book and one for Aphrodite during that writing journey.

I have a few books coming up that will require an altar too.

Nothing fancy.

And at the end of when I’ve done what I can do in a day, I give thanks.

I give thanks to whomever was helping and I give thanks to myself for showing up.

After all, I did.

And even after long pauses, I will return.

 

***

About Irisanya Moon
I’m a Witch. I’m a writer. I’m a priestess, teacher, feminist, and initiate in the Reclaiming tradition, as well as death doula. I serve the godds, my community, and the Earth. I’ve called myself a Witch for nearly 20 years, and my life has been infused with magick. I am interested in shifting stories – the ones we tell ourselves and the ones that are told about us. I’m continuously inspired to engage as the storyteller and the story, the words and the spaces between. I am a devotee of Aphrodite, Hecate, the Norns, and Iris. I seek to find love and to inspire love by reminding us we are not alone, while also meeting myself at the crossroads, holding the threads of life, and bringing down messages from the godds. (I've also published some books. You can get them at my website.) You can read more about the author here.
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