As I was making a pot of coffee this evening, I got the thinking about writing rituals - the little things we like to do, or have "just so", before we write.
For me, one of the key ones is coffee. I don't have to necessarily drink it (I leave half-empty cups near the computer all the time), but I find I have a harder time getting into my writing groove if I don't at least have the smell of brewed coffee near by. Can I write without it? Yes - and have done so plenty of times. But having a cup around seems to make it that much easier for me to ease into the process.
I must compose on a computer. For a long time, it had to be in my office, but I am able to work mobile now, too.
I have to write fiction using WordPerfect. Don't ask me why, but I just don't feel "at home" in Word or any other word processing program. I *do* use Word for plenty of other things, but not my fiction.
My chair has to either tilt, or be solid a enough wooden one that I can lean back in it from time to time.
I will only outline on a yellow legal pad.
There are other conditions I prefer, of course, but the above are rituals or requirements I have found are more or less a must for me. If one of these is gone, I have a harder time sinking into the story and getting anywhere. Like I said in regards to the coffee, I can still do it - I'm just not as happy about it.
So, what little (or big) rituals help you write? Is there something you have to do before you get started, or can you write anywhere, on anything, at any time? What keeps you in your groove, and what missing things can kick you out of it?