It’s simple really – the use of ritual enables a particular state of mind and this can be helpful both with reading and writing. I am not suggesting that you cannot do these without the use of ritual but I would recommend using ritual that you’re comfortable with to get yourself into the zone.
I’ll clarify what I mean by ritual. It is an action that when repeated over time will create a subconscious ripple and speed up access to the required state. This ritual can be a simple action such as wearing your lucky socks, playing your favourite music or stirring your coffee 3 times anti-clockwise. Or you could channel the spirit of William Shakespeare – whatever floats your boat.
It doesn’t matter as long as it is meaningful to you and gets you into that zone quicker and takes you deeper into it.
I am a great lover of creating superstition and myth and believe it has a powerful role to counter a lot of the madness of modern life. When I really want to write and block all else out I shut the door, put on some Fields of the Nephilim, don my lucky writing hoodie (yes, really – I bought it for this sole purpose) and brew a strong, thick cup of coffee. I made a New Year’s resolution this year (which is unusual for me) and that was to only drink coffee when I’m writing. I love coffee, the thicker and treaclier the better, so this was a real big thing for me and I’ve stayed true to this.
Once I do this I’m instantly in the zone. No, more than that – once I have assembled the ritual I am a writer. Nothing else exists but writing. I have created a magic circle around me in which I have invoked the best writer I can be. I have created a myth inhabited by the great writer who quite naturally writes mythic tales.
Now think about it whether you write or whether reading is more your thing I bet you have developed some rituals around your reading and writing. But don’t you think you could up the game a bit? Add another layer, just one simple ritual and I’m sure you’ll reap the benefits.