Vanessa Davis Griggs on Writing Rituals

I’ve noticed how much my “writing ritual” has evolved over the years. When I first started writing full-time (I used to work at BellSouth full-time and then left after 18 years of service, no retirement just stepped out on total faith), I had the entire twenty-four hours to write if I wanted or needed to.

I would get started around 6 a.m. typing practically nonstop until around 2:30 p.m. I would take a break, get something to eat maybe and start dinner for my husband, and then be right back at it again. Most times I might be working until around midnight, especially when I was on a roll and didn’t want to stop. I loved it!

I had chosen to stop watching television in 1998 when I concluded it really steals a lot of your time and can be a true hindrance to you getting anything done. I chose back then to sow that time into my own dreams instead of someone else’s whom I didn’t even know. When I would read a book, it would most times be one of nonfiction. Although I write fiction, I found that nonfiction had a way of releasing my creativity, so that’s what I would do to relax and it would free my mind.

I always pray about what I’m writing before I even begin. I want to ensure that I’m in line with what God desires of and from me. If any research is required, I generally do that prior to beginning the book so the information can seep deep into my spirit and flow out naturally during the writing process. God and I have discussions whenever I feel the need to balk about something He is leading me to do (like here recently when we’ve been having this extensive discussion regarding my upcoming 2009 release as I asked Him for a different assignment because I really didn’t feel the topic was something I wanted to touch).

These days, I do watch television but not during my actual writing time because I don’t like to be distracted when I write. I prefer not to write when I’m on an extensive traveling tour because once I begin writing I usually don’t want anything to interrupt me, especially when I’m on a roll and things are really getting good. I write for hours without stopping.  Then the following day, I reread and edit what I wrote before picking up where I left off. When the entire manuscript is written, I get down to some real editing. Honestly, I love this process as I watch what’s on the paper begin to more perfectly match the way my brain formed it prior to it becoming slightly distorted as it came through in imperfect me.

My ritual continues to evolve as I now write fiction books and nonfiction articles as I promote my work while spending time with grandchildren and other family members, being there for friends when they want to talk all the while handling the business side that comes along with all that I do. It’s an art to keeping all these various balls up in the air, but honestly, for the most part, I really do love what I do!

Vanessa Davis Griggs is an author and a motivational speaker who resides in Birmingham, Alabama. Her latest three novels are: Blessed Trinity (three sisters…one devastating secret) released May 2007, Strongholds (a congregation urged to cast off their strongholds are about to open the proverbial floodgates) released May 2008, and If Memory Serves (scandalous secrets, impossible choices, and supreme tests of faith) which will be released October 2008. She’s promoting all of these while working on her June 2009 Kensington/Dafina release, Practicing What You Preach. For more information, visit her Web site:

18 thoughts on “Vanessa Davis Griggs on Writing Rituals

  1. Vanessa,

    Thanks for this wonderful post about your rituals. You make a great point about keeping things in balance and loving on people. Without that, none of it makes sense. Congrats on all your success. You are amazing!


  2. Vanessa,

    Thank you for sharing your writing ritual. It’s so inspiring to read about someone who can honestly say that they love what they do!

  3. Vanessa,

    I agree with you on television, watching. You can sit for two seconds and be sucked into the boob tube. I haven’t totally given up watching tv, but I do keep it muted a lot. If I can’t here it I won’t be eager to look at it.

    Great blog and much success to you.

  4. I’m grappling with the TV thing. It’s a great way to relax after a long and busy day. Writing doesn’t do that for me. If I write at night, I’m wide awake into the wee hours, long after I’ve stopped writing. Not good for going back to work the next day on time and alert.

    But that excuse doesn’t wash on the weekends and I’ve recently recognized how much time is wasted in the pursuit of the mindless activity known as TV watching.

  5. Thanks to all of you for your comments. The television thing can be a hard thing to do at first, but it was amazing how much it blessed me. It was like a fast and a detox at the same time. I do watch television these days because I have to know enough about what’s going on when I’m out speaking and meeting people, but I know when to turn it off.

  6. Thanks for sharing Vanessa! I’m still in the early stages of writing, working on my second WIP. It’s getting easier not to watch too much TV because there rarely isn’t anything on I like to see anymore. My biggest battle is the computer and being online, now social networks.

  7. Hi Vanessa,

    I too have cut out alot of television. I watched an interview with millionaires on some television special and they all said they didn’t watch television, because it took time to make money. I realized at the moment that I need to use my time more wisely as well. Thanks for reminding us that we need balance. I struggle with this as well.

  8. Thanks to Vanessa for blogging with us today. Don’t forget that she’ll be sending one lucky commenter a copy of her book, Strongholds.

    To be considered, all you have to do is comment on her post today, or Marilynn’s post tomorrow, or Kristin’s post on Thursday. Of course, you can also comment on all three.

    The more you comment, the more opportunities you have to win a book from one of our three guest bloggers. This post will remain open for comments until the winners are announced on Friday.

  9. Interesting. I enjoy reading how different authors approach the process. I have to turn the TV off when I write as well. I currently work full time, go to school part time and have to take care of my lovely daughter, but I write whenever and however many seconds, minutes or hours that I can. I think it’s important to write everyday, even if it’s just a few lines. I don’t want to loose the connection of what I’m working on.

    Writing is so important to me and I appreciate you sharing!

  10. This TV thing is interesting, and I agree with the idea. I live by myself so I tend to have more than one TV on at a time–for the noise, I think. I even have one right next to my desk. Unlike radio, where I find myself singing along, I can block out the tv. It’s like white noise to me, I guess.

    That said, there are times when I have to have silence, but I think those times are few

  11. The television thing has been a bit hard for me this year because I’m really into politics these days. I find myself writing but wanting to turn the TV on to see what’s going on. Television can be a stronghold as the Internet and social networking if you’re not careful. You’ll find yourself going here and there, looking at this and that, then when the day ends you may see you haven’t accomplished as much as you could have had you not been everywhere. That being said, some of this is part of what we need to do to accomplish our goals (I need to check the social networking places to respond which has helped people know more about me and my books). It is about balance and goals. We have to make decisions and continue thinkinb about what’s best for you to accomplish your dreams.

  12. Excellent post Vanessa. I’m slowly giving up the t.v. This summer I found it a lot easier. Now I’m working on the internet. I find if I do my writing, then I treat myself to a movie or internet.

  13. Another great post! Thanks Vanessa:).

    I have been thinking about not watching tv because I agree it is a big time-waster, as is the Internet, at least for me. I am one of those who can start clicking links in my email and ‘come to’ 3 hours later.

    Angela, I too find that I can ‘drown out’ the tv but I sing along and get very wrapped up in my records. I don’t have TBN or many christian stations but when Yolanda Adams, Luther Barnes, Dottie Peoples, etc, start singing I HAVE to listen and respond.

  14. Greetings Vanessa,

    Thank you so much for sharing your writing process. I’ve reduced my TV watching as well, although I do watch the morning newscasts. When I’m in the house, I prefer writing when it’s quiet (but with a musician husband and two active little girls, quiet is either late at night, early in the morning or when my husband takes the girls out.)

  15. A big thanks from me to you for participating, Vanessa! I’ll have to have you over again since you’re such a great guest.

    Now don’t be sad if I tell all my other guests the same thing! 🙂

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