A thought about ritual

As one of my first readings in my course, I read a great text about how ritualistic you need to be if you want to succeed – not just for writing, for everything. The piece was written by a dancer who talked about how a visit to the gym every day was something that needed to be done. It wasn’t the actual visiting the gym that was the ritual however, it was the calling of the taxi each morning. It was this particular act that set the ritual moving.

I read the piece and it made me think of myself just a few years back. For the past decade, I’ve been running both inside a gym and outside along the streets. I wouldn’t say that I’m an addict (nor would anyone who saw me trying to squeeze into size 34″ jeans) however, it did remind me of a conversation that I had with my wife a couple of years back.

“Your going to the gym again?” she asked me one time as I was almost out of the door. “That’s the third time this week and it’s only Thursday.”

“Really?” I asked, completely unaware of the fact.

You see, I was visiting the gym so often that it just became second nature to me. I used to wonder if I would go to the gym after work, or if I would go on a certain day. But, after a while, I’d just fallen into a state of consciousness where I didn’t even think about whether I should be going anymore, I just went.

Moving back to the text that I’d read, I can’t help but feel that the author was trying to put in practice a number of steps that you should follow until the point that they become second nature to you. If you can somehow place yourself squarely in such a ritual, then I would think you’d no longer even think about whether you’d have time to write, or not – you’d just do it.

Obviously, you’ll still hit issues with word count and the internal editor (I know I still struggled with times and speed when I visited the gym) but at least you’ll be in the thick of it as opposed to doing something else and just thinking about it.

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