Virtually every writer I know has [a ritual]. One claims to sharpen half a dozen pencils. Another gulps down a can of beer (never mind the hour). A third meditates. (The sound of chanting from up in her lair gets the kids scrambling in embarrassment off to the school bus.) Another needs espresso. His cousin requires Darjeeling straight from India. And one goes outdoors and marches for a while to the beat of a different drummer — marches, literally, around the backyard…. I don’t think most writers’ rituals are mere affectations. I think they’re quite necessary. The writer needs the right room, crowded or bare; the right drink, soft or mildly spiked; the right ambient noise or a dose of earmuffed silence.

— Mark Edmundson. I have a very different take on this: far from being necessary, rituals are pre-fabricated excuses. “I couldn’t write this morning because I have to sharpen six pencils before writing and there are only four in the house.” “I couldn’t write a word today because the Darjeeling hasn’t arrived.”

My writing ritual is: I write. With whatever is available. I typically use my MacBook or, when I’m in a certain mood, a fountain pen in a notebook. But I can write on an iPad or even on a phone. I can write on a legal pad with a ballpoint pen, or on index cards with a pencil. As soon as you say “I can only write when things are just so” you have set yourself up for failure.