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  • Writer's pictureDebra Stang

My Morning Routine: I Can’t Sit Down to Write Unless…

When I'm on the road, I can write almost anywhere. Curled up in an airport watching the snow and ice cover my plane. Squeezed into a sold-out theater waiting for the show to start. Even in the middle of a Las Vegas bar with a pen in one hand, a legal pad in the other, and a yard-long margarita sitting on the table.

At home, though, I have a series of little rituals that never fail to get me into the writing mood.

Take Meds

I've mentioned in other posts that I'm living with bipolar disorder. Some people are able to accomplish this feat without pharmaceutical assistance. I'm not one of them. Taking my prescribed medications allows me to function better as both a writer and as a human being.


During my first three months or so as a full-time freelancer, I reveled in the luxury of being able to work in a night shirt and a robe. Then the grunge look lost its novelty. I found that the more professional I looked, the more professional I sounded. Besides, when I look halfway presentable, I don't have to worry about scaring the nice UPS guy when he brings my Amazon orders to my door.

Attend to Cats

This involves giving them food and water, cleaning out their litter boxes (ick), and showering them with all the love and attention they're willing to tolerate. I've learned that the more I love on them first thing in the morning, the less likely they are to jump up on my desk and demand attention when I'm trying to get a piece in under deadline.


Breakfast is a protein bar and a cup of milk. I usually eat while I'm sorting email, which helps take my mind off the fact that protein bars taste disgusting.


I pick a candle or a stick of incense that matches my mood. Then I settle in for a productive day of work.

You'll notice I don't say anything in this blog about scheduling my day. That's because I've completed that task the night before. When I sit down at my desk, I know exactly what needs to be done and which project I'm going to reach for first. And so, my work day begins.

What rituals help you get your day off to a good start?

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