Afternoon tea - an important part of my writing ritual.

INSTAWRIMO
Preptober Day 19/2021

WRITING RITUALS. That is the somewhat ambiguous topic for Day 19 of #InstaWrimo. I mean, it could either relate to writing about rituals, or the rituals we create around our writing. 

Although I write about rituals in my Ulfrheim stories, I can’t really share anything about them right now, so I’ll settle for the latter. My writing ritual. And I’m gonna jump right into it with a confession: 

– This country has corrupted me!

When I moved to England in 2005, I didn’t drink tea. Being Swedish, I was a hardwired coffee drinker and I went through six to eight mahousive cups a day. Let’s just say I ran on coffee like a car runs on petrol. And then Cruel Britannia sank her claws into me on me… 

I’m convinced that this is a country that will have her dues, one way or another, and that she kinda seeps into you. Slowly but surely. And it all starts with the blasted tea. 

You see, tea is a ritual in itself over here. And an important part of the social glue that keeps this society going. There’s no such thing as an occasion that doesn’t call for a cuppa or two here.

There’s been a car crash outside your house? Go check if they need a phone and a cup of tea. Someone’s coming to do the meter readings? Put the kettle on! It’s cold outside. Put the kettle on. It’s scorching hot outside. Put the kettle on. I’m sick! Have some tea. I’m sad. Tea? I’m hungry. What do you want for tea? 

I suppose it makes sense, then, that when the Thames Valley Police wanted to speak out about the importance of consent in any kind of (sexual) relationship, they did so using Emmeline May and Blue Seat Studios’ brilliant video: 

See, this is how they do it over here. They win you over one sip of tea at the time. They make you all this sodding tea, and you find yourself politely taking a sip here and a sip there. And before you know it, you’re swinging by Tesco’s, or whatever shop is local to you, to pick up a few boxes of your own. And popping the kettle on at every opportune moment.

As I said before, I didn’t like tea before I moved here. In Sweden, I’d mainly been offered Earl Grey or Lipton’s Yellow Label and they both get really bitter when over steeped. Fruity teas with milk and sugar was also popular, and other than hot cocoa I’m not too fond of sweet hot beverages. But the Brits are sneaky buggers. They make tea that barely tastes more than a mouthful of bathwater to the untrained palate. 

There’s nothing to dislike about it, really, other than the lack of taste. Initially, it’s just warm, but it doesn’t have much of a taste to it. But over time, it’s like your taste buds begin to recognise the odd brew and pick up on the different notes and flavours in there. And that’s when you realise there’s a whole culture surrounding this drink.

When you’re keeping score in cups of tea made, have your own favourite brand and pop the kettle on every time you pass the kitchen—that’s when you know for sure Cruel Britannia has sunk her claws in you for real.

My writing statiom: A laptop propped up on a pillow on my belly.

My writing station. I’m in bed with the laptop on a pillow on my belly, the fairy lights are on, the candles are burning, the music os on in my headset and I have copious amounts of tea at the ready. It’s nighttime again. My time.

By now, you may be wondering what any of this has to do with NaNoWriMo or Preptober?

Well, let me tell you…

It was supposed to be about our writing rituals, right? And here’s the thing about mine:

I am a night owl. Have been since my kids were littleuns. Working as a writer and writing coach, and studying for a degree, I’d tuck the rugrats in, cosy up with my writing necessities and work until somewhere between 4 and 6 in the morning. Then I’d nap for however long I had left before it was time to wake them up and get the new day started.

The day is full of distractions and disruptions, and I need to get in the zone to be able to read or write. I will light up some candles, switch all sharp lights off, and put my headset on so I can listen to whatever playlist fits the workload best. Then the laptop is propped up on a pillow on top of my belly, and I’m almost all set.

See, I used to consume copious amounts of coffee, coca-cola and caffeine pills to keep me going, but I’ve weaned myself all of those. Now it’s tea.

In addition to the candles, fairy lights, mood music and laptop, I need a stream of proper tea ro take me through the night. Once I have all that, my writing ritual is complete and I can immerse myself in my writing bubble where nothing short of a house on fire can disturb me.

I still write, read and draw until the early morning hours, but these days I don’t have any kids to wake up. Now I can sleep for as long as I want. 

What’s it like for you? What kind of rituals do you write about? And what kind of rituals surround your writing?

Let’s talk in the comments below or send me a message via socials. Also, remember to post the links if you use any of my prompts in your own posts. I’d love to come over and see them.

Thank you for being here today.

See you soon,

//Evalena 😘

© Evalena Styf, 2021

Writing prompt from #NaNoWriMo Preptober InstaWrimo Challenge: 19 October, 2021. “Writing rituals”

The #InstaWrimo is a photo challenge for Instagram, but it works just as well as a daily writing prompt.

P.S.

Here are the daily writing prompts for NaNoWriMo’s preptober challenge. It’s never too late to start, so let’s get into it. Together.

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