Sunday, October 30, 2016

Rituals by Diane Burton

Are there certain things you always do or don’t do? Like not wearing white until Memorial Day or after Labor Day. Hey, who cares anymore? What about putting up the Christmas tree before Thanksgiving? Dress in costume for Halloween?

One of mine is not to turn on the furnace until November. Broke that one this week when Hubs looked at the thermostat and said, “It’s 60 degrees in here.” Until then, we’d been layering up—a sweater, sweatshirt, long pants, socks, wrapping up in an ultra-soft throw. Gray skies and rain had a lot to do with turning on the furnace besides the inside temp.

In the spring, I don’t turn on the air conditioning until I’m sweating. Hubs tolerates heat better than I do (while I can put up with more cold). Besides, you can only take off so much. We have great cross-ventilation and ceiling fans so I can wait on the AC, hopefully until June. My rationale with the furnace/AC thing is economics. As newlyweds, we saved wherever we could until we could buy our first house. I guess my Great Depression-era parents had a lot to do with my penny pinching. Waste not, want not was Mom's mantra. All those years of saving are now paying off in retirement.

Another of my rituals is reading before I go to sleep. Before I started writing, I used to read everywhere and any time. It's different now. I have too many stories to write to take the time to read. Still, I love to read, even if it's only a few pages at night.

Grabbing a cup of coffee in the morning before I begin writing is more habit than ritual. Does the caffeine help? Maybe it wakes up my Muse. She’s a lazy thing in the morning. But when she’s in the zone, so am I. Funny how that works.

One of my new rituals—done under protest—was prescribed by my physical therapist. Get up and move every hour. In theory, this is good. Sitting too long stiffens the joints and muscles. It also interrupts my Muse, who then takes off and goofs around. Like my old dogs, she doesn’t come when called. Obviously, my therapist is not a writer. He doesn’t realize how long it takes to get back in the groove. Is he satisfied if I get up, go to the bathroom, grab another cup of coffee,  then get back to work? Of course not. He wants me to do exercises! That’s guaranteed to make the Muse disappear for hours. But I guess if I want to walk without pain, I’ll have to adhere to this new ritual.

How about you? Any rituals?

Diane Burton writes science fiction romance, romantic suspense, and mysteries. She's currently working on the 3rd book in her Alex O'Hara mystery series,The Case of the Meddling Mama. Diane blogs here on the 30th of each month, with Paranormal Romantics on the 13th, and on her own blog on Mondays.


Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

I hear you on the exercising interrupting the flow of words. I walk out our driveway to get the mail. Isn't that enough? I putz around the house in brief spurts. But longer spells than that away from the keyboard and my Muse takes a nap. Of course, there is the coffee...the same thing for breakfast...okay...and lunch. But I am not in a rut, mind you. It's called efficiency. LOL

Brenda Whiteside said...

Oh yes, Diane, I have my rituals too. I decorate for Christmas the weekend after Thanksgiving. It started when I worked a day job and since it was a long weekend it gave me the time to decorate. As far as moving while writing...I have set the alarm on my phone for one half-way through the morning and half-way through the afternoon. Now I just have to stop hitting the ignore icon!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Happy Halloween to you, too! My problem is, I'm most productive from 7-10 as a writer, but that's also when I can/should take a 30 minute brisk walk outdoors, which, as you know, from beginning to end, steals an hour. Here in Sedona, where we're staying for another five weeks, I'm learning how to find good writing time in the afternoons and evenings. There's a basket swing facing all the red mountains, and in the evenings when the sun's gone down, I take my computer out there to write. Point is, I'm trying to teach myself new rituals...and enjoying it!

Patricia Kiyono said...

I have a few holiday rituals. One is turkey vegetable soup, made with the Thanksgiving turkey carcass. Another is my homemade felt stockings for the kids and grandkids each Christmas. As far as writing, I have trouble getting my muse to come when called, too. Sometimes, she needs to be awakened, and a nice brisk walks helps to do that!

Leah St. James said...

I'm a creature of habit, so I have many daily routines--get up, exercise, read email, post promo, go to work. (Somehow I need to get WRITING back into the mix.)

Holiday rituals are more fun and mostly involve food. I make a big ham every Christmas Eve, and when we're done eating, I use the leftover ham for a ham-and-cheese strata for Christmas Day. New Year's Day is always home-made start the year off on a high note. :-)

Like you, we used to follow a November/June schedule for the heat/AC, but since moving to this part of the South, where it fluctuates like crazy from day to day, we've had to just rely in temperature. It's hard!

Fun post, Diane!

Jannine Gallant said...

I walk in the woods every day with the dog. Rain, shine, sleet, snow, hail...well, you get the picture. I find being outdoors recharges me and clears my head. I get more writing done afterward, and I clear up those pesky plot points while I'm out there. You just need the right kind of exercise! As for traditions, mine are also mostly food related. I played with cranberry sauce recipes for multiple Thanksgivings until I got one tweaked to my liking. Now I make that every year along with all the other traditional foods I grew up with.

Andrea Downing said...

My only real ritual is first thing in the morning: I make tea, grab a yoghurt drink and sit down and pile through emails while taking vitamins and pills, then breakfast. Bedtime involves a half hour or so of reading--I do read in subways, buses, planes, waiting rooms and so on, but that half hour of reading sets me up for the night. Holiday traditions seem to have gone out the window since returning to the US to live because Thanksgiving is at my brother's and Xmas is anyone's guess.

Diane Burton said...

LOL, Vonnie. Yeah, you'd think a walk to the mailbox would suffice. Unless you have a mile-long driveway, I'm thinking it doesn't count enough.

Brenda, I wear a Fit-Bit and it electrocutes me as a reminder. I can ignore that, too.

Rolynn, we're going to Sedona this winter--a break from son & family. I love those red rocks. I want to experience that vortex and/or the ley lines. Sounds like you're finding your routine.

Patty, maybe a walk would bring the muse back. I might have to try that.

Leah, that ham & cheese strata sounds yummy. I make monkey bread for Christmas breakfast. Totally calorie ladened.

Jannine, my MIL made a great cranberry Jello. Now my daughter makes it.

Andrea, when I take my Kindle to appts, they get me in on time. When I don't, I wait and wait. No subways out here. You know us Michiganders and our cars. LOL We alternate Thanksgiving & Christmas with daughter's in laws. One thing is solid--Chinese take-out for Christmas Eve.

Margo Hoornstra said...

i always make it a point to wear white after Labor Day, just because. Walking seems to bring out the muse in me, but only outdoors, not on the treadmill. Love all this talk about Sedona. A must see for us the next time we make it to Arizona. Sounds amazing.

Diane Burton said...

Thanks for stopping by, Margo. Sedona is so lovely. Unlike the Phoenix area, Sedona has green! Plus the red rocks. You'll love it.