The Joy of Ritual

She's baaack! After a full day of recovery (and laundry, laundry, laundry) in the wake of the exhilarating, exhausting annual national conference of the Romance Writers of America, I'm more than a little ready to return to Ye Olde Comfortable Routine. Don't get me wrong. I absolutely love seeing friends, my agent, editors, and everyone else at each year's gathering. I enjoyed presenting my "How to Finish the Damned Book" workshop, meeting new people, and attending the parties, but I'm one of those writers who needs calm, quiet, and freedom from (oh, look! It's a squirrel on a trampoline!) distractions to produce.

Introverted much? Like so many writers, I am. As much as I like people, all these interactions drain me, to the point where I can barely remember my stories, much less work on them.

My preferred daily routine is anything but exciting. It involves breakfasting with a caffeine source and the paper, tending the pets, and dealing with e-mail. Walking through the neighborhood and blogging have been incorporated, but finally, I sit down and get back to my work in progress.

That's the place where joy lives, but it's tough for me to find without my little rituals. Music and occasionally candles (when they don't set off my allergies) can figure in. A mindless computer game can help me focus as well, but I have to be very careful not to allow the rituals to consume the day.

The work is most important. The work is what keeps me sane. And the dream, the goal, is the target upon which I keep one eye fixed.

Now that the hoopla's all behind me, I can see it once again.


Jo Anne said…
The hoopla is fun, fun, fun - and I'm sorry I missed sharing it with you this year, Colleen. Like you, I'm someone who needs quiet to create. Classical music and candles, yes - but that's about it.

Folks who know me think I'm a total extrovert. But being one exhausts me, which I believe to be the sign of an introvert. And as much as I enjoy the 'out' time, I require just as much 'in' time to recoup and recharge.

Rituals are good. Caffeine and pet caretaking in the mornings. Email catch up/clean up. Then I must get to my writing before my bookkeeping office opens. Any exercise comes right after work (before I eat and crash for the evening).

Of course, being raised Catholic, where rituals rule - they are ingrained in my sense of being. :-)

Glad you're home safe and that you had a good time.
Joni Rodgers said…
Welcome home, Colleen! Glad to have you back.
Jo Anne, I am the same exact way. Most people who know me think I'm an extrovert--after all, I have over 600 facebook friends. But being with lots of people consistently is way too much for me. And sometimes having "mountaintop experiences" like conferences wires me too much, and then the downside of that is I can't sleep much and eventually crash. So I've learned to be careful with my energy in those situations and mete out my time.

It's funny; several of my friends keep begging Mark and me to go to this religious weekend called a Cursillo. They think we'd love being with many other Christians 24/7 (they all sleep in the same room, split by gender), and that we'd come back so energized in our faith. When I say I'd rather jump off the Sam Houston Tollway than do that, they think I'm kidding, but they are SO wrong.

Sometimes I wonder if a Christian can go to a Buddhist retreat. At least there you're not dissed for wanting silence.

Sorry, that became a little off-topic rant there. Having one of those days.
Mylène said…
Welcome home, Colleen!

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