Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic power in it. Begin it now. – Goethe

This is just one inspirational quote from a collection I’ve been accumulating over time. It’s a good one. And yet beginning “it” (the writing) “now” isn’t as easy as it sounds.

I usually start writing soon after the kids get on the bus. But getting them there can be a hectic process: lunches and snacks to pack, fashion emergencies to solve, the violin to be remembered on orchestra days, etc… Making the transition from harried mom to focused writer isn’t trivial. What helps me is ritual.

First I make sure I won’t get cold from sitting quietly. Having a sweater handy keeps me from jumping up and getting sidetracked by some household task. I make sure I have coffee or tea at my elbow. I close the door, even if no one else is in the house, as it gives me a sense of being safe in my writing “cave”. I turn on music–usually classical instrumental, as lyrics distract me from the words I’m supposed to be writing. At present I’m in an impressionist mood and my CD player is loaded with Ravel and Debussy. On another day it could be Mozart and Beethoven or Elgar and Vaughn Williams. Then I light a candle.

It all may seem rather fussy–and perhaps time-wasting–but it works. These things help me settle down and leave the mundane world behind.

Do any of you have rituals to help you transition between different roles? What are they? Have they changed over time?