Better Writing: Make Your Writing Session More Productive with a Startup Ritual

Sep 29, 2020 | Better Writing

Most of my clients write their books while they’re also working full-time. They have families and other social relationships and things that they like to do for fun. It’s hard to squeeze writing time into their already-crammed schedules.

They must get the most from every writing session. A startup ritual helps them do that.

The Objective of Every Writing Session

Your goal should be to get the most from your limited time. You’re taking time from other things. You could be working, or resting, or spending time with family or engaging in a hobby. But you’re not. You want to write a book, so you’ve set aside time to do that.

A startup ritual helps you transition from the world of the rest of your life into the writing world. It should also position you to be productive.

Your Writing Space

Make you switch into a mindset where the place you are is your writing place. It’s not your office anymore, or the back bedroom, or a hotel room. It’s your writing space.

Next, eliminate distractions. Shut off your phone. Shut off anything with a screen that doesn’t relate to your writing work. If you’re distracted by the desire to jump on the internet, consider using a computer that can’t connect to the net.

Develop Your Own Ritual

Once you’ve claimed your space, it’s time for your startup ritual. Every writer will have something slightly different. There isn’t a right way or a wrong way to do this. There are only ways that work for you and ways that don’t. Here are some things that my clients and other writers I know have done.

Several incorporate physical activity. One fellow did pushups. Another writer danced a little. Many people do some form of meditation. One client of mine had a special keepsake that she made sure was with her when she started to write. Whatever you do, there should be a clear ending point to the ritual. That’s when you start writing.

My Ritual

Here’s my ritual. There are many others like it and many more not like it, but this one is mine.

I start with meditation to clear my head. This is simple mindfulness meditation for about two minutes.

I make sure that I’ve closed off all the distractions that I can. Since my writing space is in my home, I’ll tell anyone else who’s there that I’m about to start writing.

I’ll put on the appropriate writing playlist. I’ve developed different playlists for different kinds of writing and editing.

I already know what I’m going to write first. That was how I finished my last writing session. Even so, I read the last few paragraphs that I wrote the time before. Then I begin.


Your writing time is precious. Get the most you can from it.

Shut off distractions. All distractions.

Develop a ritual to get you into the writing world and to make you productive.

Your ritual will be unique, but you can get ideas from what other writers do.

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