The other day I read an interesting post on Scientific American that postulated that rituals make one a better writer. Apparently science has shown that having a ritual before eating (for example, breaking a Kit Kat bar into the four sticks) improves the experience. A broken-up Kit Kat bar is tastier than one eaten whole. This is a sentiment I can get behind–eating a piece of cake from a plate is way better than doing it standing next to the counter at midnight.* **
The same goes for writing. Before I sit down to write, I like to grab a drink and a snack, surf the web for about a half-hour, and then start at a pre-determined time. I write for around 45 minutes, take a break, and go for another round. This applies if I’m at home, at a writing retreat, or at a coffee shop. While I don’t know if having a ritual will improve your writing, it will improve the experience, which makes it more likely you’ll do it again. And Butt in Chair is what it’s all about.
* I assume. I’ve never eaten food standing up in the kitchen in the middle of the night.
** I’m also a liar when it comes to making my eating habits appear healthier than they are. I shouldn’t be trusted.