Ep 8: Rituals


Creativity can be spontaneous, but sometimes the muse needs a bit of setup. A few crucial first moves or rituals can help. The guys talk about some of theirs.

Liner Notes:

  • Eric is sockless. You can follow along at home!
  • George says the most important ritual is just sitting down and doing. You have to make it happen and being aware to do the work is the ritual. George is meta.
    • Guilt yourself and just fucking do it.
    • Not insurance against failure. Trying more is making more.
    • Eric adds: Sheer quantity over quality, helps you to improve.
    • Setting aside a block of time can be critical as the first stage.
  • Sheldon details out his morning ritual.
    • Come up with a set of things to do to get in the mood. Use other senses and sequence events to make it happen.
    • Check out write or die
  • Eric loves distractions and uses that part of him to make reward loops for himself.
    • Use the things that you love to do as motivations to push through and get yourself working.

Leave comments down below!

Apparently, George liked this episode 🙂

6 thoughts on “Ep 8: Rituals

  1. Jason (Ralthan) (@Just_Ral) January 17, 2018 / 11:24 pm

    The creative writing I do usually stems from an event in a game of D&D that has occurred recently. To get ready to write about it, I recap notes, put on some appropriate tunes to set my mind to an idea. When I start writing though, I usually do it with as much silence as possible.

    When I take a break, it’s usually to grab a drink, or a snack, but once I sit back down, I’ll usually listen to another song or two, read what I’ve written then switch off the music and get back to it.



  2. Jerry Shen January 18, 2018 / 5:36 pm

    I usually take out 30 mons to clean up my desk, make a cup of coffee, light up an incense, set a target I’m gonna hit on what ever I’m about to write. When I start, I usually put on some tunes and just get done with it.


  3. shadrad January 19, 2018 / 9:06 am

    Oh man, Eric and I are 100% on the same page– bargaining, swapping tasks frequently, etc. I think ADD is a lot of it, but it’s also a perfectly valid workflow– when you get stuck on something (or get bored of it), switch to something else and sometimes it honestly does let your subconscious take over. Visual art is problem solving, and you need to take breaks and get fresh eyes on something frequently.

    A lot of my work strategies I picked up in college, and have been refining in the last year or so because health issues kept me at home almost all the time, and home is where ALL the distractions are (cats, internet, couch, etc). Why work when there are SO MANY OTHER, easier things to do? So there’s bribery/rewards– In fact, one of the reasons I started playing Warframe more regularly was because it was super easy to work on something, get to a milestone, and then boot up the game and play 3 missions before I needed to go back to work.

    But that’s all stuff to keep the momentum going– the hardest thing to do is to start, and I guess I do have a few rituals I try to get going, because for me, getting started is 80% of the struggle.

    1) Before anything else, I plan to do work. It doesn’t always have to be exact, but it needs to be on my mind that at this time, I will be starting the ‘work’ process.

    2) When the time comes for me to start, and BOY I usually don’t want to, I break the starting process into lots of small tasks that don’t require commitment to the idea of ‘work’. If I need to write, I open the word processor of choice and then I fuck off on twitter for a bit. Then I go back and do an outline, or write a few sentences, knowing that if I really hate hate HATE it, I can take another break– I don’t have to commit.

    I do find it harder for art because I don’t always feel like I know how to solve the problem I’m facing, so I’m more reluctant to start. I pull up the file, look at it, then fuck off for a bit– if I’m smart, I’ll go make some coffee, and then sit back down. Then, I rearrange my workspace a little and pull my cintiq over into a working position (which prevents me from operating my computer as normal).

    With writing I don’t want much background noise other than walla, but art requires the ‘spinning in a chair’ part of my ADD brain to have something to latch on to, so there is:

    3) I need something to half-watch/pay attention to. Podcasts are great for this! I also watch a lot of Lets Plays on Youtube because the pacing of video games (that I’m not playing) allows me long stretches of time where I don’t need to pay close attention to what’s going on and can glance at that window less frequently than, say, watching a TV show or movie. It’s ten times as hard for me to get started on anything without knowing I have some content to listen to/watch on the side, so that’s kind of a reward in and of itself (as I don’t listen to these things outside of working time).

    So, say, for tonight, my #1 and #3 was that it’s Thursday, so Critical Role (a live play D&D on Twitch) airs from 10pm-2am EST every single week, and that’s a guaranteed 4 hour uninterrupted period of work. I have zero control over the air time, so I’ll be in my seat with everything I need by the time 10pm rolls around — coffee, snacks, whatever other comforts I think to prepare.

    And for the #2 in my equation, I’ve done this weekly ritual for over a year now and so it’s easy to just pull up the stuff that needs to be done and when the story sets in, I get to work. I also usually have at least 3-5 options of things to work on, so I skip around as need be/when I get stuck. Some weeks, I just can’t crack the problem with my main ‘work’ pieces, but I make myself work on SOMETHING, even if it’s just doodles or personal stuff.

    So that’s the major stuff… another weird ritual I picked up recently is starting all my sketches for complex pieces by drawing with the mouse first. I don’t understand, so maybe this is real dark magic, but when I do that, my proportions, layouts, perspective, and expressions are SIGNIFICANTLY better than when I’m in there with the stylus. It looks like ass, but it’s solid foundation and I honestly don’t understand, but I also don’t question it.

    All that aside, you guys are 100% correct: at the end of the day, what you need to be doing is -doing-. And if you’re like me and find that starting is the absolute hardest part, focus on finding ways to coerce, trick, bribe, or otherwise force yourself to take the first little steps and you know you’ll ease into the groove soon enough.

    Also man, you guys recorded this in November? Can’t wait to hear the eps that come after you’ve gotten some feedback on the show!

    ❤ ❤ thanks as always for the company!



  4. georgespanos1 January 19, 2018 / 6:03 pm

    Awesome comments everyone! We love reading these!


  5. Adrian Rêveur April 18, 2018 / 7:38 am

    Hi everyone. I know it has been a while since this was first posted. But I’m trying to catch up.

    My way of going about it just sitting in front of the computer with my headphones on, listening to music (preferably music without lyrics) to drown out the noise of the world and just letting the music guide my writing speed. The occasional glass of wine is always welcome.

    Also, if anyone else is really into the coffee shop vibe but can’t find the time or energy to get there, there’s always the sounds of coffitivity: https://coffitivity.com/

    Anyway. Thanks for sharing your struggles. It’s nice to see and know that there are other people out there that are faced with the same artistic bug.


    • sheldoncarter April 18, 2018 / 3:34 pm

      Wow… that cafe simulator walla site is great!

      Thanks for sharing and listening 🙂


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