"The more you ritualize the beginning of a process, the more likely it becomes that you can slip into the state of deep focus that is required to do great things." (James Clear, Atomic Habits)
We love to go at full speed, flying through life, switching from one thing to the next. When we get stuck, we get frustrated with ourselves. We call it a creative block. We may even give up for a while or seek out new sources of inspiration. The harder we push, the less enjoyable it is to create.
Maybe it's as simple as slowing down and taking those familiar steps, much like getting a good night's sleep. "Sleep is a quiet, relaxing activity, so it doesn't make much sense to try to transition to that directly from something that is quite the opposite. Our bodies don't do well with abrupt changes. Quiet sleep rituals help ease this transition, preparing us mentally and physically for sleep." (Bedtime Routines and Sleep Rituals for Restful Sleep)
When it comes to the creative process, a ritual can be defined however you see fit. Maybe it's a desk only used for one activity, a lighting setup, a type of music, or all of the above. For author Seth Godin, it's all about getting into uniform.
"There's a whole bunch of obligations that go with being a professional that put you on the hook. And for years I've had uniforms at work. I don't usually wear them in public. They change from time to time. The beginning was a lab coat. Lately, I've just been trying the Japanese volunteer fireman hoppy coat because when you put on the uniform, you've just sent yourself a message to your work at your workspace. Do it at the appointed hours. Never, ever miss a deadline." (The Knowledge Project #105: Failing On Our Way to Mastery)
While I have yet to define any distinct rituals for my creative endeavors, I am curious to give it a try, especially after a hectic week where writing hasn't come easy.