The semester is approaching, and I’m sitting in the neighborhood Starbucks. Two days until my freedom (such as it was) ends, and my fall semester begins.
Rituals and the new school year
Fall semester, for faculty, begins with an all-faculty and staff picnic at the Pavilion on campus. It’s a ritual, one of many that start the school year. The Friday meetings (I’m booked from 8-4 and expect my eyes to glaze over by then), fireworks, even cleaning my office and buying office supplies I don’t need are my beginning of semester rituals. (I tried to convince my husband that a new iPhone fit the category of something I didn’t need but he didn’t jump on it.)
Rituals as a part of my life
I am a great fan of rituals. Perhaps this comes from my childhood as a marginal Roman Catholic that helped me spot rituals in the least likely places (like a Quaker meeting) and caused me to make my own. Rituals help me focus, help me change my direction or rededicate myself to my intentions.
For example, let’s take the shopping for office equipment. Even though I do almost all my work on computers, I still associate pencils and pens with cognitive work and scissors and markers with creativity. Hence my ritual of buying those for the new school year. To be honest, I do use them (although with the markers, not as often as I should.)
Applying this to writing
I’ve been struggling with writing lately, focusing instead on marketing and this blog and TikTok. I wonder if rituals would help me in writing as much as they help me at the beginning of the semester. A new start, a refocus — I need this in my writing because I have drifted away from writing again.
What would be a good ritual to start me writing again? I asked my husband, whose response was “I don’t know”. Guess I’m on my own for this.
I don’t think I need new pens for motivation. I might need to do something in the office to make it feel more mine and less like some place my husband has sentenced me to. I used to work in the living room, and I felt more motivated because I wasn’t alone. The office is small and cluttered, and there is little to be done about it because much of it is items needing to be filed with no room to file them.
A ritual … I’m going to have to think about it.