Ask any author. Writing is hard. And every author develops their own process or ritual for keeping their butt in the chair and typing a word, then another until there’s a sentence and then another sentence.
Some authors’ rituals include rising early, grabbing tea or coffee, disappearing into an office with the dog or cat and writing for a set number of hours or until a set number of words are on the page.
My ritual is more loosey-goosey but it repeats during the day and sometimes into the night. I get up when I get up. I don’t have a cat or a dog. I start with a mug or two of very strong black coffee and read the paper edition of The New York Times.
Before, during and after my writing session which could be one hour or twelve depending on how it’s going, I do puzzles. I believe they relax me and get my brain in word mode
What’s a Five Letter Word that Means…
Right before I sit down to write I do the Mini crossword in the paper. It’s only five letters across and five down but solving it gives me confidence that, yes, I know words. I am a writer.
How Many Words Can You Create…
Then I turn on my computer and work on the Spelling Bee, a jumble of seven letters with the goal of making as many words from the letters as you can. The tricky thing is that only words that contain a specified letter are acceptable. When I’m stumped I put it aside and begin to write. But I’ll come back to it over the course of the day when I take breaks or I get stuck on writing. The thing I love about Spelling Bee is that it grades you according to how many words you make. I usually achieve Genius status, the highest, but sometimes I’m only Amazing. In either case, it confirms that I can conjure words from random letters, sentences from random words and paragraphs from random sentences. I’m a writer after all, so I say to myself.
Guess This Five Letter Word…
Sometime during the day, I tackle Wordle. It’s a challenge to identify the five letter word of the day in the six or less guesses allowed but I almost always succeed. Figuring it out requires logic. Writing requires logic. I am logical. Thus, I am a writer.
Guess These Four Five Letter Words…
Quordle is similar to Wordle but harder because you get only nine tries to guess four words at once. I do this one late at night, after I’ve done everything else. Most nights I solve it. Using logic, one word, then another. Yessiree, I am a hotshot wordsmith. A writer.
Sometimes I wonder if I’d be more productive if I didn’t spend so much time on puzzles but I think doing them stretches my brain and focuses it on words which of course is the objective in writing. One word, then another…
So authors and readers, what’s your ritual?
Catherine is the author of four NYPD Detective Chiara Corelli mysteries–A Matter of Blood, The Blood Runs Cold, A Message in Blood and Legacy in the Blood.
In addition to the four Corelli mysteries Catherine has written four romances and The Disappearance of Lindy James, general fiction.
When not writing, Catherine is either cooking or reading. She lives in the New York City with her wife.