Lately I've been thinking about beginning rituals. Stephen King talks about his in On Writing. Josh Waitzkin has a whole chapter about them in The Art of Learning. A beginning ritual is series of acts to get your brain and body ready to perform. Runners stretch first. A pilot will go through a series of preflight checks. Basketball players have a very personal routine before each free throw. Athletes, musicians, actors, surgeons...they all have a beginning ritual.
“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” -Stephen King
Sitting down to 'work' is tough. I don't know what to draw/paint/write/etc. I don't know where to start. I get distracted. There's seemingly more important things to do. I sit there and stare at the blank page. A beginning ritual can help. It's a place to begin. It creates momentum.
I'm still working on my beginning ritual. I find something that might work for a week or so and then I fall out of the routine. As my schedule changes with the start of summer, many of the old routines are in transition. I'm getting up earlier and the kids are beginning to sleep later (hooray!) Now is a good time to get a handle on my beginning ritual.