I’ve invited a group of top-notch writers to share their writing tips with you this summer. Look for a new bit of learned experience each Tuesday.
Will Alexander: I find writing rituals tremendously helpful—even when those rituals are also ridiculously silly. If you light a candle, listen to music that sounds like your protagonist’s personal anthem, and/or throw your own solo dance party right before you start writing, then your brain will begin to recognize the candle, the music, and/or the dancing as a kind of ceremony that says I am about to do something that matters.
Just because I’m using the words “ritual” and “ceremony” doesn’t mean that you have to take any of this seriously. It might even work better if you don’t take it seriously, because pre-writing silliness like solo dance parties can also create a vaccine against embarrassment. By accepting manageable doses of foolishness you will strengthen your own immunity to self-criticism, which will make it easier to write whatever it is that you need to write.
Don’t forget about that ceremonial candle, though. Please don’t set your cat or your manuscript on fire.
Please visit William Alexander’s website, so you can enjoy his fantasy and science fiction novels, including Goblin Secrets, winner of the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.