6 Writing and Productivity Rituals

A few weeks ago I read a blog post from Sonia Simone at Copyblogger. It was about writing rituals that she and some of the Copyblogger creative team use. I always thing it is interesting to see what others are doing and then compare them to my own.
Here is a link to Sonia’s article, 6 Writing and Productivity Rituals from the Copyblogger Creative Team. I took the liberty of adding my own rituals in a similar format.


My ideal setting is still a work in progress. Right now I am in a situation where I have to adjust what I am doing to my environment. Someday I will flip that around so my environment works around me.
Here are the things I know work and do not work for me.
Soft light – I don’t like to work with a simple lamp but bright or fluorescent light does not work either. That makes the shop I work in and working on a patio difficult.
Temperature – I prefer things on the cool side as long as my fingers are not slowed down.
Desk and chair – these are critical. I’m amazed how posture affects my writing. If I have to type off my lap or with my laptop above my elbows, I am not good. But get me a comfortable chair with my feet on the ground and desk at the perfect height and I can go for hours!
Leave me alone – I’m pretty laid back. But if you want to get on my bad side, interrupt me while I’m writing. Given my work environment, getting in to my writing rhythm is no easy task. So when I get there I protect it. No text messages, emails, chats or phone calls please!

Time of Day

Right now, the best time for my writing is early morning from 5:30-7:00 AM. The first thing I do in the morning walk the dog and listen to podcasts. That gets me in the right frame of mind. Then I’ll spend the next hour writing.
The afternoons could be good work time as well but those are rare. This is something I’ll be experimenting with in the next 6 months.


Simple: hot coffee with creamer


A laptop with Word is pretty much all I need. I have a creation process but it starts with a brainstorm / mind map of typing out words and then outlining my ideas. These are easily done in Word. I also use the Hemingway App to refine the work and it has been great for trimming things down.

Music or Silence?

In the mornings, when there is nothing going on around me, silence is golden. As things in the shop get busier all day, background music through my headphones helps. I’ve been using Brain.fm for music with no words and it has helped me focus.


  1. Dan Eiselein

    Thanks Vince,
    Will pass these on to my sophomore ELA students. What advice could you give them regarding their electronic device and its proximity to the writer during the writing process? Positives would be access to writing resources, however negatives are predictable.

    • Vince Hordemann

      Hi Dan,
      Thanks for the question. It’s an important one.

      For each writer it could be different. But for me, good creative writing requires no distractions. I try to put my smart phone out of range and turn it on silent so it doesn’t buzz or alert me to anything. No TV, Netflix or YouTube. No social media. That’s also why I try to do my most important writing around 6:00am, before others are awake and may need me for something.

      If you need an electronic device for research, then it makes sense to have it. But if you are writing on a lap top and have access to the web on there, you may not need it.

      There are times when I do use my smart phone when writing but only when I’m in a noisy area and need some background noise to block it out. The Brain.fm station with a set of headphones or ear buds is great for that and I think the first 10 sessions are free. Could be a good resource for your students.

      Writing is a pretty personalized thing. We all have our different styles. The key is experimenting a lot and then being dedicated to getting better at it. With that approach I think students can figure out what devices they do and do not need.

      Hope that helps!

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