Hello readers! Today is the first day of my self-imposed NaNoWriMo blog challenge for the July camp of 2018. If you follow my blog for topics other than writing, don’t worry. I will be posting about minimalism and travel throughout the month. However, for today’s first post I want to focus on the pre-writing ritual. Personally. I don’t have a pre-writing ritual that I do every day. I do have a pre-NaNoWriMo ritual.
For those of you competing in NaNoWriMo this time around, you may have already started, or you may be procrastinating, or you might be taking part in your pre-writing ritual as you read this. Whatever the case may be, I would love for you to share what your ritual is in the comments below.
What is a Pre-Writing Ritual?
As human beings we can be very superstitious. By nature, we are ritualistic. Perhaps we wear the same socks or racing flats for every cross-country race? Maybe there’s lucky underwear involved or a lucky hat we wear when we sit down to write our academic essays? I for one have never had a pre-writing ritual. However, with NaNoWriMo it’s a different story. Being that NaNoWriMo is a whole month and I try to focus most of my spare energy towards it, I don’t like to spend a lot of time paying bills, cleaning and cooking. You know those daily chores that tend to add up?
I have a pre-NaNoWriMo ritual. Whether you started your NaNoWriMo challenge today, are waiting until tonight or next weekend, it’s still not too late to complete your ritual.
My ritual usually lasts the whole day. Luckily this month’s challenge started on a Sunday. I was on the NaNoWriMo forums yesterday and saw some other writers talking about their pre-writing rituals and what they did to get ready for the month ahead.
Suggestions from Others
Some of the ideas I got from other writers included logging out of Netflix and Hulu, Facebook, and other social media accounts. Some of you may think what’s the big deal? If you wanna get on, just log back in… So many of those programs and social media platforms keep us logged in so we forget our password. Manually logging back to succumb to hours of procrastination and wasted time becomes a chore when you’ve forgotten your password. Fail too many times and your account becomes locked. That turns into logging into your email before the “reset” link expires… it’s not worth that much trouble to not write. And trust me, writers spend a lot of time avoiding writing. (Non-writers don’t understand that).
Other writers that have large families participate in a 30 day meal preps. I feel like this one is a little bit easier for the winter months because it’s easier to make casseroles, chili, stews and thicker, heavier meals in bulk and then freeze them for the month. Summertime is a little bit different. Usually we don’t eat as heavy. We rely more on fresh fruits and raw vegetables – things to keep us hydrated and cool which may pose to be a bit of a challenge for a meal prep. If you’re looking for ideas I’ve put a few links below to some 30 day meal preps.
30-Day Meal Prep Links:
My Pre-Writing Ritual
Those are just a few suggestions that I received from the forums. Though they don’t really apply to me, you have to know what works best for you. We’re all a little different. Some of us are better at saying no to distractions than others. As a minimalist, I have removed a lot of distractions from my life. But there are still certain things I need to take care of for the month. While I know that there will be times laundry will pile up, I try to keep it at a minimum as best as I can.
Yesterday was Saturday and my day was filled with cleaning the apartment. We have a small two bedroom apartment and as mentioned before no children or pets so I’d like to think it stays orderly. Below is a list of things and tasks that I completed that you may want to take a look at to help you determine what needs to be done in your household before you commit a month of your life to writing 50,000 words or more.
1. Wash, dry, put away as much laundry as possible.
As always, minimalism helps because we don’t have that many clothes. Take the time to put fresh sheets on the bed and clean all of your dirty laundry.
2. The dishes…
I’m terrible about letting dishes pile up in the sink or not emptying the dishwasher once it’s done cycling through. And I get fussed at for it… It’s not in my nature. The kitchen really isn’t my area, I usually let him do the work. However, I contribute to the mess and I know that I can’t really concentrate when I know that there’s clutter somewhere. It drives me nuts. Run the dishwasher through once or twice, put all of the clean dishes, away scrub the countertops and the floor, and empty the trash.
3. Buy groceries and clean your fridge.
I’m not talking about junk food. Of course, buying healthy food can be frustrating because it goes bad before you can eat it all. I’m used to going to the grocery store 2 to 3 times a week to get fresh produce. Perhaps for this month switch it up a little bit. Buy a lot of frozen fruit and vegetables instead. It’s the next best thing to fresh. I rely heavily on home-made protein shakes for meals during the NaNo months. So frozen fruits are a must in the house!
4. Wipe down all services and vacuum.
There’s something about an uncluttered room or home that just brings peace of mind. Albert Einstein famously said, “if a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”
I’ve never liked this quote. As a minimalist, I like things empty, neat and sorted. I feel like I can’t be creative or think straight if there’s clutter and disorder. Maybe clutter and disorder works for some people? Obviously it worked for Einstein. But I know me and I know that doesn’t work for me. If you have others in the household with you, have them help.
5. Take the trash out and clean vehicles.
By now this list is probably sounding more like your mother’s list of chores than a pre-writing ritual. I’m not talking about giving your car a wash though. I’m talking about the inside, which can also be a hording place for clutter. Some of us spend a lot of time in our cars driving back and forth on long commutes to work. Or stuck in traffic. Do yourself a favor clean out your car.
6. Pay your bills for the month.
The last thing you need is repeated phone calls or text messages from your credit card company saying, “Hey your payment is late!” It’s very easy to lose track of what day it is during NaNoWriMo. If you can afford it, pay everything a month ahead of time. Don’t just consider any credit card bills, take into account rent/mortgage, property tax, vehicle registration, utilities, memberships, insurance, etc.
7. Clean out the medicine cabinet in the bathroom.
Things accumulate over time. It’s only natural. But sometimes that medicine cabinet doesn’t really get looked at too closely. Before long, all sorts of creams, ointments, serums, different size bandages, and medicines stack up. Look under your sinks as well. Throw stuff out!
My pre-writing /pre-nano ritual is basically to do a huge, massive and thorough spring clean on the home. I’d love to know more about how every one else handles their pre-writing time. Perhaps it involves reading a blog post or wearing a funny hat? Please share in the comments below!
NaNo Challenge for the day:
Use the word PENUMBRA in today’s writing session. [It means “a half-shadow”]
Cover Art created with Canva.
Regina Bethory is a fiction author. She graduated from Christopher Newport University with a Bachelor’s in Directing and Play Writing and from Newport News Shipbuilding’s Apprentice School as a Test Electrician. She also has a degree in Funeral Services. As an avid minimalist and traveler, she enjoys spending her time learning new things, seeking new experiences and de-cluttering. When she is not writing, she can often be found in comic book stores and early morning matinees.