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How to Create a Writing Ritual & Finish Your Book This Year

Getting. Words. Written.

And what I love even more than that is not feeling stressed out when I’m writing those words. After a decade of intense, staggering anxiety, I’ve had quite enough, thank you, and I avoid it as much as possible. I feel so very much compassion and empathy for other writers experiencing the anxiety, frustration, overwhelm, and stress I suffered through and I want to make sure you DON’T feel it.

One of my best tricks for getting words written without the anxiety?

Writing Rituals. 

Yep, these are my secret weapon, and I wanna share them with you today so you can write better, finish your book, and not feel super stressed out doing it. Read on, and then, at the end, let me know what YOU will be making into a ritual!

What are Writing Rituals?

A religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order — Oxford Dictionaries

An act or series of acts done in a particular situation and in the same way each time — Merriam Webster

I use rituals to create habits. Habits are hard. Even ones you truly want to form, and getting them to stick can be frustrating and overwhelming. Even things we want to do—like writing a story that our heart wants to tell—is hard to form into a habit. The world is a busy place and it makes it hard for us to concentrate. We just have to accept that and work within the boundaries we have. Rituals help!

By using rituals, I take away the frustration and the overwhelm, add in a good time, and still end up with a habit that helps me progress towards finishing my books.

Rituals leave you energized and enthusiastic to keep going.

And there’s a long, long tradition of writers having writing rituals—some of them… quite strange!


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How are Writing Rituals different from Systems and Habits?

My first attempt at creating an evening ritual was a good start, but lacked a few of the things I needed to make it “stick”. It combined several different factors (health, beauty, success) but they weren’t the right factors. It took me a while longer before I realized I had to define Areas of Life instead. 

Rituals, systems, and habits are all different things, but they can all work together nicely. Rituals take a little bit from both systems and habits and add a bit of “soul” to both to make something that works like a system and forms a habit over time, but doesn’t make you feel like you feel the day after you tell yourself you’re going to start going to the gym.

Or is that just me?

Because whenever I decide “I’m gonna start working out!!!” I always get this “Ughhh” feeling deep down in my gut. It grabs on tight and makes me dread not only the working out, but the process I know I’ll have to go through in order to form the working out habit…

Habits

…Or… at least it used to! But now, by using rituals, I’ve learned to not hate the process of forming a new habit. 

Rituals make the process of creating a new habit less stressful. They make it not feel like a chore. That, in turns, means that you can train yourself to develop the new habit you want to create without getting that dread feeling in your gut.

When you’re stressing an absent muse, enter rituals and still get words written. Awesome!

Systems

Rituals are also related to systems. Where systems give you a process, or a step-by-step method for getting something done, rituals also do that, but they take it a step further. Rituals provide a WHY. 

As any child will tell you, if you don’t know WHY you’re doing something, there’s no point in doing it. 

“Clean your room.”

“Why?”

“Because it’s dirty.”

“Why does that matter?”

“Because… Hmm. Just clean it!”

Thirty minutes later, you might have convinced your kid to clean her room, but it’s not going to suddenly inspire her to always keep it clean. And that’s how rituals differ from systems.

Systems will clean the room once. Rituals will inspire you to keep it clean from now on.

How can you create your own Writing Ritual?

Writing rituals are routines you create that incorporate 3+ of the 6 Areas of Life as part of the habit you want to form. This makes the habit ‘part of your life’ instead of just something you’re trying to start doing. It takes the stress out (and often incorporates anti-stress activities as part of the ritual) while getting your brain used to doing this new thing you want to make a habit of.

The 6 Areas of Life are:

  1. Mind
  2. Body
  3. Soul/Spirit
  4. Nature
  5. Relationships
  6. Passions

So, one of my rituals this year is designed to help me finish my second novel by this summer. Fiction writing is one of my Passions, so that includes Area #6, but to really make getting into a daily writing habit a ritual, I need to include other areas, too. 

Check Out: Write Better Books FAST with This Method

I’ve chosen to add in elements of Mind (putting on the same calming sounds whenever I write) and Body (stretching before and after each daily writing session). 

You’ll also join my weekly newsletter, where each week, I’ll send you tips, tricks, and inspiration. Unsubscribe anytime.

Get some focus.
Create your opus.

This free Writing Ritual Creator will not only track your word count, it’ll help you build the foundation you need to write your book.

Like all habits, Rituals also need the 3 R’s:

  1. Reminder – something to trigger you to remember to do the habit
  2. Routine – doing it at the same time or in the same order every time
  3. Reward – something that motivates you to actually do it

So my Reminder is to do it first thing in the morning, before I check email or any other items; my Routine is 5,000 words every Saturday and Sunday; and my Reward is the relaxation I’ll get from my stretching sessions. 

Your Reminders, Routines, and Rewards can all be different—and when you’re just starting out with Rituals (or any habits), you should do it every day instead of just weekends. But I’m old hat at this and can do weekends by now. 😉 You may also find that you need different rewards than I do, which is fine. But try not to make it food rewards. You’ll end up regretting that. 

What’s the first thing you’re going to do with a brand new Writing Ritual? Let me know below!

Let’s change some lives,

Holly's sign-off signature

Holly

PS — 🩵 When it feels right, here are 3 ways I can help you turn the page:

  1. Get excited for a new (super affordable) write-your-book, subscriber-only newsletter. Want to write your book this year? Want to change the world with it? Join the waitlist for Impact Ink. (nonfiction) and Imagination Ink. (fiction) and be first to know (plus get an exclusive discount) when these two brand-new, subscriber-only newsletters launch.

    Think: bite-sized, actionable letters from me each week that will get you back to writing your book and doing it right this time. Click here to join the waitlist. They’re both launching in April and waitlist folks will get an exclusive early-access discount. You’ll be able to choose the fiction one (Imagination Ink.) or the nonfiction one (Impact Ink.). Let’s write better books together!
  2. One-to-One Book Coaching. I have a vision of changing the world one book at a time, by teaching world-changers to create a book in a gentler, more effective way. A way that takes both you and your reader on a profound journey. I see a future where we build trust in our words, worlds, and work with our books, and where the world becomes a better place because of the books we write. My commitment is to bring to life books—fiction and nonfiction—founded on integrity. I’ll bring the map, and you’ll take us on the journey. If you’re ready to change the world with your book, your quest awaits. Apply for a free discovery call here. It takes 3 minutes.
  3. Listen to the Podcast. Relaunching Spring 2024: The Real Heroine’s Journey: a podcast for people changing the world with their worlds. Listen on AppleSpotify, or Everywhere Else.

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Holly Ostrout is a book coach with a vision of changing the world one book at a time, by teaching big-idea entrepreneurs, coaches, speakers, and authors to create a book in a gentler, more effective way. A way that takes both you and your reader on a profound journey.
Holly Ostrout

Hi I’m Holly. If you’re going to change the world with your book, fiction or nonfiction, I can help you do it.

I'm a book coach for high-achieving, creative coaches, consultants, service providers, speakers, and authors who want to build a sustainable business around their book—whether that’s fiction or nonfiction.

I help you share your wisdom, ideas, and gifts by writing & publishing a life-changing book that helps you streamline your business, bring in more money, and change more lives.

I believe books are the most important human invention. And yours can change the world.

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Joyful, Easy Writing Can Be Yours​

Find that magical zone when the words flow like honey + everything you want to say comes across in perfect harmony. Write your book joyfully + easily with this Writing Ritual Tracker & keep the flow with my helpful newsletter.

Joyful, Easy Writing Can Be Yours

Holly Ostrout's Writing Ritual Creator. You can change the world with a book, but you've got to write it first. This Writing Ritual Creator will help you do just that.

Find that magical zone when the words flow like honey + everything you want to say comes across in perfect harmony. Write your book joyfully + easily with this Writing Ritual Tracker & keep the flow with my helpful newsletter.

Holly Ostrout's Writing Ritual Creator. You can change the world with a book, but you've got to write it first. This Writing Ritual Creator will help you do just that.
Before you go...

If You Want to Change the World with Your Book, You've Got to Write It.

Find that magical zone when the words flow like honey + everything you want to say comes across in perfect harmony. Write your book joyfully + easily with this Writing Ritual Creator & keep the flow with my helpful newsletter.