Writers’ Rituals

A writing journey, every time is a new episode in refracting back to life, yet interestingly, the writers have specific habits, behaviours or routines that they cherish as being useful kickstarts. The rituals may vary from writing in diaries and recording video clips while moving, to making sketches and/ or involve complex behaviours such as thumb chewing to getting the smell of rain fallen soil as a trigger. They also turn ON and write better at specific times of the day. Sometimes we are not aware of our comfort zones. Realizing ones comfort zones and difficult writing habits can always serve as an efficent writing management tool.

Athar Tahir finds nature compelling and from a Cotton Tree to the Lahore Canal, every object of nature triggers his poetic mood. Monsoon is an empirical season for the poets of Pakistan and India. For Monsoon shall be seen with its full weight in Sudeep Sen‘s Ero Text as well as in Tahir’s The Gift of Possession. Monsoon  appears as a full section in Tahir’s 2015 published, The Last Cup of Tea.

Alex Garland finds it easier to write before bedtime, he considers that it somehow relates him to his night dreams. He declares,  “I hold that there is some kind of proximity between the late night writing and dreams.” Michèle Roberts says she writers ideas, diary entries and scribbles about everything, freeing her mind, in the early stage of novel writing.

Monique Roffey when wrote Sun Dog found harnessing her conscious more while writing as soon as she would wake up, even before going to the washroom, kept writing this way for about two years.

Writing at bed time suits me the best, for it gives many ideas that came during the day, specially useful for character sketch or complex character development, it also serves as a catharsis to some level. Then I write best while sitting on my study. I take notes and make audio clips whereever I go. That enriches the detailing process in my novel writing. Though in the short stories, we are taught to cut out all details that do not contribute to the reader’s understanding of the characters etc, yet what is to be known is that seasoned  writer does not really cut off all the details. Instead what they do is that they employ the technique of ‘Show, Not Tell’.

While working on my piece of work, what does not fit in is using facebook along with writing. Its been tried a hundred times by me, and finally I acknowledged it being a poison to the creative mood of writing. But sometimes during a long writing specially when we are researching on a particular aspect, one tends to get bored. At that moment, the Satan of FB  calls us by stimulating the urge to see the red flashes of messages, friend request and notifications. Yes, and that very moment, one should get up, do a few stretching exercises, gulp three water sips, open the doors and walk outsides, on roofs, in basements and then come back and restart the work. This is a tried and tested way to a complete ficiton piece. Secondly writing first time in the morning like Roffey also isn’t my favourite. I am one of those who wakeup for breakfasts. And I always have so much to do for as long as the sunshines on our part of the land, that it best suits me to write at bedtime. And the best place for me to write is on my table where I can see both my loves, the green plants and books. The featured image of this blog is also from my table, so this is what I see, every time I pull my neck out of the laptop.

Another significant feature for the writers is the silence. In Tahir’s poetry the keen reader not only finds meanings in the words but also in the pauses, the cuts, the line ends and the continuation to the next lines. Silence thus seems a sacred ritual to him. Some writers write in  complete silence, while there are others that would utilise a busy bazar to hasten the pace of getting new ideas. So many voices coming from all directions, any one of them may trigger a best seller theme.

Intially, one may not understand what they enjoy more while writing. But a conscious effort of knowing thee self will open doors of self knowledge to them. Writing will become more than just a hobby, and that is when it will become a part of you.

Writing rituals vary from person to person, and there is no right or wrong way of writing. The thumb rule is that what suits you best is the best. One should enjoy the process of self realization. It will help them to work more efficiently.

FootNote: The interviews of Alex Garland, Monique Roffey and Michele Roberts are a part of their audio interview that I had heard during a writing workshop.



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