I wish I had one.

There’s something about the idea of having a calm, purposeful, repeatable creative ritual that appeals to me.

In The Last Samurai, the jaded Lt. Algren, haunted by the atrocities of war, is impressed by the way samurai warriors live their lives in meditative, perpetual pursuit of perfection. Every action, from a sword slash to the pouring of tea, is ritualistic art.

Often I wish my writing worked like that.

I wish I could sit down in the same way, at the same time, in the same place, day after day, and achieve the same feeling of calm inspiration that’s there one day and gone the next.

But I can also see how creative writing is too messy to be purely ritual. I can ritualize the time and place, but not the writing itself. After all, covering the same ground over and over is hardly creative progress.

And sometimes I question the whole idea of a creative ritual.

Conventional wisdom says that having consistent writing habits helps creativity. But for me, it seems that inspiration comes from a different source (and at a different time) every day. Some days it’s a phrase in a book I’m reading. Other times it’s a memory. Or a noise from outside. Sometimes it comes from reading my own notes over and over and over.

Every day is an experiment: where will the next breakthrough come from?

I like the idea of a writing routine, but would that really make things easier?