Writing Rituals and Environments

I’m just curious to know what (if any) writing rituals other writers have.  I don’t exactly have any rituals of my own, although I do like to drink a cup of tea while I write, especially on a rainy day.  Occasionally I’ll listen to music without lyrics when writing with pen and paper, but most of the time I write without music.  That’s partly because I use voice-activated software when I write on the computer but also because of the fact that I prefer a relatively quiet environment when writing.

How about you?

Do you like listening to music when you write?  Or does consuming chocolate help you get the words down?

Is there a particular time of day or night when you feel the most creative or a particular place where you work best?



  1. July 24, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    Chocolate always helps.

    I like to listen to music but it can’t be right in my ears/coming from my computer. It needs to be background noise. Once I get into what I’m writing, I tune it out completely.

    Most days I draft on paper first but sometimes the computer first is the only option.


    • Sarah L Fox said,

      July 24, 2012 at 5:25 pm

      Thanks for commenting, Katie! Sometimes I have stretches that last for weeks where the words will only come if I write on paper first. Other times, only if I use the computer. Paper works best for me most of the time though! And you can’t go wrong with chocolate! 😉

  2. July 24, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Coffee! Actually, with writing, I’m probably going to be thrown into writer’s jail for saying this … I play a game or two of Free Cell on the computer before starting! Why? Well, because it gives my brain the transition it needs from real life to imaginary. I can then start writing almost immediately.

    I can’t have music playing when I write, I get too caught up in the music. It has to be quiet OR somewhere where the noise is just background noise….fades out in my mind. :))

    Glad to see a new blog post from you!

    • Sarah L Fox said,

      July 24, 2012 at 5:37 pm

      Thanks, Jo-Anne! Nothing wrong with a few games of Free Cell, especially if the game helps to put you in writing mode! 🙂

  3. Derek McPhee said,

    July 24, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    I’d have to say that my ritual includes a few things, it does, however, depend on what time of day I’m writing. If I’m writing at night (without a time limit, meaning I can write from dusk until dawn) I need a stiff martini. I like writing chaotically (usually putting notes on napkins). Those notes are then solidified into a more “text”-like document at coffee shops. Review and editing is done at home on the sofa with coffee.


    • Sarah L Fox said,

      July 24, 2012 at 6:53 pm

      Thanks for stopping by, Derek! I love editing on the couch at home, although with tea rather than coffee. 😉

  4. Janna Noelle said,

    July 24, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    I write at night after supper right up until about an hour before bed. I definitely need music, but it has to be music I’ve very familiar with, or else I’ll be distracted by it. Over the past five months, the newest part of my routine has been unplugging my modem before I start writing. It’s done great things for my concentration.

    • Sarah L Fox said,

      July 24, 2012 at 7:05 pm

      I can see how unplugging your modem would be helpful… some days I let myself get too distracted by Twitter, etc. Thanks for commenting! 🙂

  5. Ruth Ellen Parlour said,

    July 25, 2012 at 1:56 am

    I like to write first thing on a morning, in my pyjamas on the couch! I can bash out a scene or two before breakfast. Always straight onto my laptop. I can’t listen to the radio, it has to be quiet easy listening music and I love a cup of tea! 🙂

  6. Kevin Basil said,

    July 25, 2012 at 11:47 am

    I am not particularly picky about where I write, as long as there’s a table to set my laptop on and it’s quiet so I can think. I never write on paper for the simple fact that it slows me down. My mind works way faster than my hand could ever write. Sometimes I listen to music, but it all depends on what scene I’m working on and if music will help or interfere. I never listen to music when editing and rewriting because I like to read aloud in order see the flow better.

    • Sarah L Fox said,

      July 25, 2012 at 12:04 pm

      I know what you mean about your mind working faster than your hand can write — that happens to me sometimes too. When it does, I’m extra grateful for voice-activated software because I can talk much faster than I can write or type! 🙂

  7. Maryellen Brady said,

    July 26, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    I usually start my day writing long hand on the front porch with a cup of tea. Being in the woods with all the birdsong feeds the creativity for me. As the day progresses, I end up somewhere in the house on the laptop. But the best writing days begin on the porch as the sun comes up:)

    Great question!!

  8. Nicole L. Bates said,

    July 27, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    My preferred ritual is get up early, make double strength green tea with honey, and write in silence until everyone else wakes up. What usually happens is that I make my tea, write one sentence, someone wakes up, I make breakfast, write a little, entertain, run errands, write a little… 🙂

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