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by Sharon Magliano

In this time of quarantine, it may already be hard to remember when you had a normal rhythm to your day. While we can’t control what’s going on in the world, we can add some routine to our lives in the form of a simple morning ritual. Everyone’s ritual looks different. Toni Morrison gave this advice to her students: “I tell my students one of the most important things they need to know is when they are their best, creatively. They need to ask themselves, what does the ideal room look like? Is there music? Is there silence? Is there chaos outside, or is there serenity outside? What do I need in order to release my imagination?”

Here are some suggestions that you could use as jumping-off points for creating your own morning writing ritual.

Rise a Little Earlier – If you are now tasked with not only trying to mind your writing practice, but also being a schoolteacher to your kids, or a caregiver to others, wake up a little before they do. Having even 15 minutes to yourself will help you get your day off on the right foot.

Define Your Space – Because of stay-at-home orders, your workspace has likely changed. Even if you have always written at home, that space may now be shared with children, roommates, and partners in new ways. Having a physical symbol to indicate that it’s time to write can help ground you in your writing practice and be a useful reminder to keep going. You could light a candle, burn some incense, or set a special memento near your workspace. After you are done for the day, extinguish the flame or put your special object away. These small rituals can help differentiate between the different phases in the day and help with work/life balance.

Write Before You Do Anything Else – Before you tackle that load of laundry, return phone calls, start homeschooling your children, or tend to any of the other things that take up time in your day, write. After you have worked for a set amount of time, go ahead and take care of the other essential tasks. Maybe you will have some time and energy to come back to your writing, but even if you don’t, you can take comfort in the fact that you wrote today.

Keep a Journal – There’s evidence that journaling, especially when you first awaken, can ease anxiety and may even strengthen immune cells! Not sure where to start? Try these journaling prompts from The Writers CooperativePsychCentral, and Thought Catalog. It is also a great time to start a gratitude journal by writing down three things you are thankful for each day. Gratitude is proven to increase happiness and improve moods!

Find Structure – An online writing class can add the consistency you need to keep you going, especially when the days can seem to blend together. Having a formal structure, writing prompts, and interaction with an instructor can offer accountability. During this unprecedented time, Hedgebrook wants to make this valuable tool available to anyone who needs it and is offering our four online classes on a pay-what-you-can fee schedule.

Sharon Magliano
About Sharon Magliano
“I’ve spent much of my career focused on creating safe spaces for women to express themselves. I’m honored to be part of the important work that Hedgebrook is doing to amplify women’s voices and tell their stories.”

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Morning Rituals for Writers