Writing: A Manual for Making it a Ritual

April 12, 2021

Sometimes the process of getting ready to write something takes longer than the actual process of writing. Below are some tips from personal experience that will help you get the work done while enjoying the process. 

by Maria Zakaryan, Alumni Scholarship Recipient and MA student in the Department of International Relations

You have a burning deadline. Your document has only your name and surname on it. You have procrastinated with your work till the last minutes and, yet, even the burning deadline is not motivating enough to finally start typing. In the end you finish your essay but what have you got from it other than stress and a sleepless night? Sounds familiar? Been there, done that. Things changed when I started looking at writing as a ritual. Here are some tips to look at writing not as an obligation but as a source of pleasure. 

1. Pleasure for the Mind 

It is all about perspectives! Think about it: why would you find writing hard—even if it is a heavily academic piece? Isn’t it wonderful to have the opportunity to splash your thoughts and ideas into a single project? Isn’t it wonderful that someone else (even if it is only one person) will read your words and gain new perspectives? You are giving a part of yourself while writing. View it as a tool of self-expression and self-discovery, not as pure obligation. 

2. Pleasure for the Eyes 

If you think you only look at your screen while writing, you are wrong: most of the time you can also notice your surroundings. Pay attention to what is around your workplace. I am not going to convince you to make it perfectly tidy — chaos may bring creativity too. Make sure to find the environment that inspires you to spend the next hours sitting there. For example, I prefer candles and flowers, my close friend prefers cups of tea and coffee — your choice. 

3. Pleasure for the Ears 

Sometimes the sound of the keyboard can be irritating. This is why some external noise can help distract you from the thought that you are typing for hours. It is important to find the background noise (or the absence of it) that increases your productivity. During the lockdown I used to play café sounds as background noise as I work better in public spaces. My roommate used to listen to musicals while writing, claiming that it was giving her a “double education.” It varies, but it always works! 

4. Pleasure for the Soul 

I know how it feels to go over the six stages of grief until you arrive to your workplace to finally start writing. Before reaching your device, you have to understand one thing: procrastination never helped. No writer was inspired by scrolling through their feed or making extra food. Instead, going for a short walk or a short conversation with a friend may help you refresh your mind and start writing. The issue is that we have gone through this process so many times that it may start to seem boring. However, every time the screen sees a new you—wiser, smarter, more experienced. Why not get the work done? 

The life of a student is all about writing, writing, and writing. Since it constitutes the majority of our days why should we not make it a ritual and enjoy the process?