Do you have a pre-writing ritual?! If so, do tell! I am in desperate need of a new pre-writing ritual. Let me explain my current ritual and you’ll understand why…

First, I say to myself, Hey, why don’t I do some writing? And then I follow it up by doing something else—like balancing the check book, rearranging the furniture, scouring medical records for my son’s blood type…yes, I’ve done them all. And none of them involve writing (unless you count writing in my check book ledger as writing). So you can see the problem here, right? It’s clear I will do anything BUT write—even though once I get going I love it—so I need a new pre-writing ritual, preferably one that will get me in the mood. And so I posed the question to those of my coworkers who habitually write.

What pre-writing rituals do they use to get inspired?

Victoria Denault, Marketing Manager and author:
“I like to go for a hike first thing in the morning. It’s only about an hour of the day and it clears my head of non-writing clutter. I have a writing playlist and I listen to that on my iPod and spend the hike thinking about my characters and plotting. Sometimes I even stop and jot stuff down in the notebook app on my phone – dialogue or scene description that comes to me on the hike. When I get back from the hike I make a quick bite to eat and a coffee and jump right into the writing, focused and ready. I wake up at 8am and am usually writing by 11am.”





Phoebe Lim, Creative Writing (Online) Advisor and aspiring TV writer:
“I am so easily distracted, I have to isolate myself from anything or anyone that will pull me away from my train of thought. I drive to my favorite coffee shop with my absolute essentials: notebook, colored pens, blank sheets of paper (for visuals), and my wallet. No phone. I only take my laptop when I have my idea fleshed and ready to punch out. I order a drink, sit at my usual table, and then jump right in to my writing.”



Jeff Bonnett, Screenwriting Program Advisor and screenwriter:
“I walk to get coffee, toss ideas around in my head, come back, sit down, and ride out the caffeine buzz until 3 or 4 hours later… by that point I’m just like a kid getting tired of playing with the same lumps of play-doh and I have to step away.”





Nutschell Windsor, Creative Writing (Online) Program Representative and children’s book author:
“I usually make a cup of hot tea, put on some instrumental music (because lyrics tend to distract me) and then I write. Also, when the blank page daunts me, I just start typing random letters and gibberish—the simple act of typing helps creative juices flow.”






Chae Ko: Screenwriting Program Representative and aspiring screenwriter:
“My ritual is to dive right in. It forces me to swim right away and not get distracted by my own drowning thoughts of writing insecurities.”

Well, it’s easy to see how my coworkers are writing more than I am—they have what works for them established! I especially like how each is unique to each person—for instance, Victoria hikes first whereas Chae jumps right in. Regardless of the “lead in,” the main difference between my coworkers and me is that regardless of the ritual, the last step is WRITING!





What’s your pre-writing ritual? Please share in the comments below!

Carla Janas is the Assistant to the Director. Contact her directly at or 310-267-4888.

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