pen and paper

Hi Everyone, it’s Judith Couchman. My assignment for this year focuses on blogging about writing: technique; practical pointers, encouragement, and such. I hope this helps you.

If it’s hard to just plop into a chair and start writing—and many of us can’t—a morning ritual could effectively and meaningfully initiate your work day.

A ritual usually is a daily act (or multiple actions) to finish before writing. Once completed, a writer feels ready to work. For example, the productive Jane Austen rose early, played the piano, and fixed her family’s breakfast. After these activities, she settled in the sitting room to write with her mother and sisters sewing nearby. These daily rituals helped Austen complete several enduring novels.

Rituals vary widely, and some even enter the writing process. Novelist Dan Brown of The Da Vinci Code explains, “If I’m not at my desk by sunrise, I feel like I’m missing my most productive hours. … I keep an antique hourglass on my desk and every hour break briefly to do push-ups, sit-ups, and quick stretches. This helps keep the blood, and ideas, flowing.”

Simple writing rituals can involve praying; exercising; lighting a candle; organizing your desk; taking a walk; setting a timer; cleaning up the kitchen; reading Scripture or poetry; wrapping up in a blanket; buying a latte at a coffee shop; or perusing the newspaper.

Whatever the ritual, it says, “No excuses. Now it’s time to write.” ­­

Writing well is not totally a matter of will and self-discipline.Human beings have a need for reassurance and control that simple determination does not provide. Writing rituals help meet these needs.—The National Writing Project

Judith Couchman

Judith Couchman is a CAN member, the writer of 44 traditionally published works, a college professor, and a writing coach. She lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado. You can reach her at or through

dial a quoteIf you’re like most writers, you love a good quote about writing. From the famous or unknown, a writing quote can help you feel less isolated and more “normal” as a writer. The right quote at the right time can unlock creativity, answer a nagging question, and increase productivity.

So why not regularly nurture yourself with wisdom from other writers?

On index cards, print quotes from writers and others who encourage you. If desired, paraphrase the quotes for your writing life. Punch a hole in each card’s upper-left corner and attach all the cards to a ring. Flip through the cards when you need reassurance, pinpointing a quote that applies to your need.

You can also create a card ring of scriptures that address writing, hope, desires, purpose, and other verses to inspire you while working on a project. Or accumulate a combination of quotes from writers and the Bible. If a card especially resonates with you, detach it from the ring and post it near your computer. Memorize it.

Make dialing through the quote ring part of a daily or periodic writing ritual. It’s worth your time. Because you’re worth it.

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