Writing rituals and totems

Long ago, writer’s evoked muses, spirits of creativity, to help them write, paint, sculpt, sing, or even share comedy. In fact, a genius was once considered outside of the self and considered an element/spirit of the Divine that touched a person so they could do great things.

In Chris Bly’s book, No Plot? No Problem, he also mentioned the superstitious methodology of evoking creativity by donning special hats, shirts, or carrying out personal rituals. It makes sense to me.

Totems are also spirits (or sacred emblems) that denote clan or family, but also assist the person as a guide.

Adopting your own unique writing ritual is both personal and evolving. Over time, one ritual’s impact may fade and you’ll have to develop another. You may need to use a trial-and-error method to see what works best for you.

  • Wearing a favorite shirt, hat, or jewelry might help. I wear a necklace to remind me of my own inner muses.
  • Light a candle or incense. Scent and change in light can set the brain to creativity.
  • Play music. Sometimes I also start a background sound such as Rainmood.com before I start writing.
  • Say a prayer or mantra. You don’t need to pray to God, unless you want to. Simply speaking the words out loud that you will be writing and creating can evoke creativity.

Feel free to share your own rituals in your comments. I’d love to hear what other writers do.

Who, What, When, and Where of Writing Rituals

10 Best Writing Rituals

Building Writing Confidence


One Reply to “Writing rituals and totems”

  1. I wear a piece of Native American jewelry, play a meditation CD or Stuart Weber CD (he’s a classical guitarist), prepare a cup of mango tea and sit down to write.

    I made a medicine stick after a Vision Quest last August. Each silk bag contains something special to remind me of what I learned. I always hold it in the morning facing the sun and thank God and all that is around me for filling me with inspiration for the day.


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