How to Hack Blog Rituals to Boost Posts and Engage Readers

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Key Takeaways

  • You are searching for methods to make your blog writing faster and better.
  • In our evolutionary past, humans adapted rituals to create meaning and motivate action.
  • Famously creative people sometimes have what seem like odd rituals.
  • You can strategically use a wide and dynamic variety of rituals to rock your writing.

Have you ever thought about the actions you repeat daily as part of a routine to make your day go smoothly? Consider your grooming for example: Do you follow a specific pattern of actions from the process of showering to combing your hair in the mirror? Most of this is habitual and automatic.

If you learn about how important writing rituals are, you will empower your blogging and tap into your human evolutionary power.

The Origins of the Rituals That Influence Human Behavior

However, some repeated actions become more important to us, symbolizing anything from the practical to the spiritual. Rituals are practices we humans repeat that hold meaning beyond the actions themselves. Religious rituals are the ones we think of first, but rituals extend much further in human existence. We have lots of them, and many help us function and find meaning in life.
Humans evolved, over the past 50,000 years, to enact rituals for many purposes. In this same period, humans became social and developed language and writing. Rituals are intimately connected with society and writing, forming part of glue that binds a culture together.
Rituals are so important to bloggers because they can be both individual and social, influencing writing production. In Cultural Anthropology, Kevin Carrico captures the breadth of ritual in human existence, collectively and individually:

Ritual is arguably a universal feature of human social existence: just as one cannot envision a society without language or exchange, one would be equally hard-pressed to imagine a society without ritual. And while the word “ritual” commonly brings to mind exoticized images of primitive others diligently engaged in mystical activities, one can find rituals, both sacred and secular, throughout “modern” society: collective experiences, from the Olympics to the commemoration of national tragedies; cyclical gatherings, from weekly congregations at the local church to the annual turkey carving at Thanksgiving to the intoxication of Mardi Gras; and personal life-patterns, from morning grooming routines to the ways in which we greet and interact with one another. Ritual is in fact an inevitable component of culture, extending from the largest-scale social and political processes to the most intimate aspects of our self-experience.

We often underestimate the intense influence they rituals have on us. Powerful rituals can shape and alter our existence, and as humans we use them to suit both individual and social needs. Wade Davis delivered a remarkable presentation on the power of ritual in ritual and community. Take a moment and enjoy his enlightening research.
The energy that Davis captures in his talk empowers his ideas about cultural evolution.

Blog Rituals Help Writers Produce Their

Best Work

Rituals are more than just habits or psychological tricks. We evolved to use them to combine meaning and action, and language made possible more complex rituals. Blog rituals are a powerful actions that motivate us to write. The rituals give meaning and importance to the act of writing.

For bloggers, the intimate rituals of writing are potent, and you can use them to help you write with power and productivity. However, you must be conscious of the rituals you use, so that you can change or get rid of them You can add new ones to make you more effective. The rituals make the act of writing significant, different than the normal routine, an art and craft.

Some famous writers have used seemingly random rituals to help them write, but the important quality is that the ritual has meaning for the individual and leads to writing. Many authors are known by their unique rituals:

  • Hemingway, stood up to a high table and wrote standing up, four hours a day, topping off the session by getting drunk for the remainder.
  • Truman Capote famously wrote while laying down, smoking, and drinking coffee.
  • The French writer Victor Hugo who wrote Les Misérables used to write in the nude (so he couldn’t leave the house supposedly).
  • Aaron Sorkin of The West Wing chain smokes, uses notecards, and acts out scenes in front of mirrors.
  • Jack London put to paper 1,000 words every day.
  • John Steinbeck put his desk in order, had stacks of blank paper tablets on it, and lots of sharpened pencils.
  • William Golding, Norman Mailer, and Arthur Conan Doyle supposedly wrote 3,000 words every day.
  • Anthony Trollope began writing at 5:30 A.M. and churned out 250 words every 15 minutes, using a watch to keep time.
  • Stephen King does “whatever it takes to reach his daily quota of 2,000 adverbless words.”

The rituals vary from ordinary to the bizarre. I was curious about the rituals of other SteamFeed authors here and received feedback from several. I thought the practices of other bloggers would benefit you. Their rituals included alcohol and caffeine, but the ritual that was discussed the most involved using a cloud app (Google Docs, DropBox, Evernote, Trello, etc.) to collect lists of topic ideas to reflect on before writing. Setting a deadline to begin writing (like 8:00 AM) was mentioned, an idea I really like.

Marking off clear hours of uninterrupted writing seems useful along with peaceful music playing softly in the background. I have tried many of the above (except writing naked). But, I do them off and on, not really as established rituals. I generally have a fairly fixed agenda when I write for my site ZipMinis.

As I reflected on my rituals for this article, I was surprised by how many involved food. I eat carrots, celery, grapes, and a jelly sandwich before I write. Something about those foods sparks my brain. Weird, right?

I also do a fifteen to thirty minute meditation to clear my mind for writing. This is certainly my most helpful ritual. Wondering what my most bizarre ritual is? Clipping my fingernails (not every time I write, but frequently).

Turn on the Power of Blog Rituals

The eccentric rituals of writers are individualized, just as yours should be. It doesn’t matter of the ritual is weird to outsiders, as long as the rituals are meaningful to you.

If you are conscious of your rituals, you can initiate and guide your writing. While you should make them your own, other people can provide useful rituals that you can add. Maybe you don’t have any yet, and these ideas can get you started:

Environment.
Find a specific quiet space, try a new space, write with people around you, write by yourself, write at a standing desk, make a pact with a fellow blogger to write during the same time period, go for a walk, or design a writing space in an old pantry are abandoned bedroom.

​Behavior.
Brainstorm blog post topics, freewrite for 15 minutes, do a bit of exercise, write a few quick emails to close friends, massage and relax your shoulders and neck, eat something, clip your nails, sharpen pencils (Hemingway did this), write by hand instead of at the computer, arrange your desk, take a shower, or just wash your face.

Time.

Set a fixed time to begin writing, write for a specific lengths of time, plan different kinds of breaks, use an alarm or timer to keep you on schedule, or map out your day in your calendar app.

Using blog rituals  can empower your social / cultural engagement and help you write. Here are some ideas from scholars in writing who tap into human cultural evolution to create productive and useful rituals:

  • Repetition (same action, same time, same place) makes writing a normal, nonthreatening activity. Classes that begin or end every meeting with writing are less threatening than those in which it occurs only to test or punish.
  • Time limits make a writing task less intimidating. Good in-class writing can take place in short spurts.
  • Rehearsed activities that can be performed automatically free the mind to focus on problem solving. Using the same series of classroom activities in preparation for writing each day can drain off unused energy that causes mental digressions.
  • Physical activity affects mental states. Instead of increasing frustration by sitting still, a student can make use of physical movement, even exercise, to stimulate mental activity.
  • External, unrelated sensory stimuli, especially sounds or movements involving repetition and monotony, can improve concentration. Although the music and television that students might choose are probably better left to out-of-class situations, some in-class appeals to the senses can be made to help students focus.
  • Repeating previously productive behavior can build confidence. If something worked once, it can work again. Students can be encouraged to identify and use their successes to support subsequent writing occasions.
  • Creativity is enhanced by working in a state of drowsiness (a hypnogogic state) when negative critical faculties are less active. Since the totally awake mind is not always the most creative one, the student who dozes or daydreams may be on task after all. Students can at least be allowed some gazing time.
  • Magic and superstition, although irrational, can create a sense of confidence, competence, and control. Uncertain writers may benefit from having a lucky charm, perhaps some reminder of a previous victory.
  • Nonverbal drafting activities help a writer begin a piece and maintain momentum. Drawing and doodling may not be time-wasters, but, instead, ways to get started and keep going.
  • Thorough exploration of the pre-drafting stages, during which most rituals take place, may lessen the need for revision. This implication reinforces the value of drawing and doodling.
  • Practicing ritualistic behavior creates a sense of identity. Students who work collaboratively instead of in isolation (at separate desks, without sharing, for a competitive grade), join a community marked by its own ways of behaving and talking. They begin to think of themselves as writers.

The article is an excellent source for learning about repetitive writing actions that empower your writing process.

​Experiment with Your Set of Rituals

The idea is that these ritualized behaviors will trigger in your brain that it’s writing time. The human brain evolved to treasure these actions, but you might analyze your rituals to see if they help or hinder.

Experiment with routines and rituals, keeping the ones that work, and discarding all else. Don’t fall into the trap of having endless rituals that distract you from the task. Your rituals will be powerful triggers and motivators that help you initiate the writing.

Do you have rituals that you find helpful? I love mooching off the rituals of others. 

About the author

George M.

My name is George and I am currently pursuing a masters degree in Information Security and Computer Forensics. I created this blog to share with you my experiences and what I have learned over the past 10 years and help you create and develop your own blog.

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