Yesterday: Bill Cotter On Ritual. Today: Annie La Ganga On Ritual.

Annie La Ganga: On Ritual

Writer Annie La Ganga (right) with writer Bill Cotter

“I used to hate writing. It was just so hard to sit still. Now that I’m fatter, I like it. It’s one of the things I can do that doesn’t make me winded. It’s easier than climbing stairs or taking a shower. I can do it lying down. I’ve learned to just do it. I’m like a Nike ad, only out of shape and tired. I trust myself now. I think that’s what I’m really trying to say. I don’t have to fight a war with my subconscious every time I lie down to write. I no longer feel like I have to prove something to my shaming critical mother complex just to send a fucking email. For me, the battle of writing has never had anything to do with being out of ideas or things to say, or having to work sixteen hours a day and raise small children on a budget or anything even remotely heroic or reality-based. The battle has always been about trying to beat down doubt and anxiety and self-loathing long enough to squeeze a few lines out before I drop into a major depressive episode. Occasionally, I would enjoy a seizure of writing when whole pages popped out earnest and angry and good but usually, on a day to day trying to amass a coherent body of work over a decade kind of way, I failed to produce anything but whining about not being able to write anything that wasn’t about not being able to write. The reason it’s not like that anymore is because I kept writing and I kept going to therapy and finally I got a career coach who made me do collages and use an egg timer to meditate for ten minutes and write with my non-dominant hand and do all that kind of crap. She was awesome. I did everything she said to do because she terrified me. After working together for about a year, she made me pick a deadline to have a completed manuscript. There was something about the deadline with her that mattered to me. I felt that I had truly reached a bottom, I had to pay a stranger to make me finish a book and if that didn’t work I would really be fucked. I finished the book. It got published. Nothing significant changed in my life except that I got fatter and now it’s no big deal to write.”
Yesterday: Bill Cotter On Ritual. (Annie calls Bill Cotter “Billy.”)
Right now: books for sale. Bill’s and Annie’s.
All this year: Happy 2011, ever’body! Hope yours is like a Nike ad, only out of shape and tired. Just like Annie says.

***

On Ritual at Big Other

Is it true, dear writer? Do people in all walks of life find that “starting off with a simple, ordered routine establishes a mindset which helps get any job done”? Questia claims it’s so (August 2009). I remain on a mission to prove or debunk the notion.

Help me. Jot down your writing ritual (or not). We’ll discover–and let readers know, finally and forever–if rituals really do pay off.

  • 300 word limit.
  • Rolling deadline.
  • Recommend others.
  • Reply with a pic of you–in your workspace or in outer space.
  • Replies, questions or comments: stacymus@gmail.com

Previously ritualized: Bill CotterMary HamiltonEmma StraubMarcy DermanskyNicolle ElizabethGabriel OrgreaseMichael Leong

*Some responses may be eligible for posting at American Short Fiction blog, where I began the On Ritual series.

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