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Running a marathon and writing a book are, I’ve often thought, very similar. Not that I know much about what it’s like to run a marathon or even half of one (I was the kid who peeled oranges for the track team, what can I say). But both, I’d say, require endurance and a certain type of mental toughness. And they’re both all about the rituals.
I looked up some running rituals to compare them to my writing rituals…
Imagery–For writers, this may involve visualizing The End. Or Ryan Gosling, whatever works better.
Cleanliness rituals–These may fall a bit short for writers on deadline. And may possibly include wearing yoga pants every day and possibly not showering until you type The End.
Caffeine— Essential, if tolerated.
Get a tattoo–(What?) Can the equivalent to this be leaving sticky notes with motivational sayings on them everywhere? Like “Kick Edits’ Butt!” (And if you are a writer, the sticky notes will be grammatically correct, guaranteed!) The sticky note method is definitely less permanent.
Hydrate–Most definitely, as my fellow writer friends say, at wine o’clock.
Good-luck-charm clutching–Rabbit’s feet, four-leaf-clovers, pictures of the beach, your kids, or something slightly more threatening like your kids’ college tuition bills. Some of these aren’t charms, but more good luck is likely to ensue if the bills get paid, right?
Mental skills training–Repeating to yourself I can do this! Oh God, I can’t do this! Keep doing this!
When all else fails–Pull on your (comfy) big girl pants, your most beat-up flannel shirt, and sip from your favorite cup until the job is done.
Have a great week!