Recapturing everyday rituals

Three hands holding coffee cups

In the past year we’ve given up many daily aspects of our lives. Meeting friends in coffee shops, commuting, gym visits, library lounging, haircuts, window shopping, swimming, meandering walks, eating out… 

What small daily rituals have you been missing? Recreate and celebrate them in this prompt. 

Make a list of small rituals in your day that you’re currently missing. Then choose one to focus on. 

Think about the series of actions that you take to perform this ritual:

  • Where and when does it start? When you wake? Weeks before, when you plan for it? The moment you step outside your door?
  • What key steps are essential to it? 
  • When and how does it finish? How long does it linger?
  • List how each of your senses are engaged in this ritual. 
  • How has it changed over the years? How has it remained the same?

Can you imagine in detail the first specific time (not long now, hopefully) when you’ll be able to do it once more? What will you savour the most?  

For additional inspiration, read this poem on friendship, time and coffee shops by Sanna Wani, ‘Tomorrow is a Place’

Then either:

  1. Write a list of instructions to create a poem that helps you remember how to do (and enjoy) this everyday ritual. Or
  2. Write a piece of flash fiction where you time travel back to the moment(s) of the ritual and notice it in immense detail, capturing it on the page. 

We hope that you might find some inspiration in this writing prompt but as always if you would like to write something else - a diary entry, poem, your reflections on something else about your life at the moment - we'd be delighted to read whatever you would like to send. To go directly to the submission page and send us your writing, click here

Guest writer

Heidi Williamson

Poet Heidi Williamson

This month's guest prompt was created by Heidi Williamson. Heidi is a poet, writing tutor and mentor, and an Advisory Fellow for the Royal Literary Fund. She studied poetry and prose at the UEA and regularly teaches for arts and literature organisations in the UK.

Her first collection, Electric Shadow, was supported by a grant from Arts Council England and was published by Bloodaxe in 2011. It was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation and shortlisted for the Seamus Heaney Prize for Poetry. Her second collection was inspired by being a printer’s daughter. The Print Museum received the EAW Book by the Cover’ Award and the 2016 East Anglian Book Award for Poetry.

Her work has appeared in literary journals in the UK, America and Australia and been translated into Polish, German, and Turkish. It has inspired poetry and science discussions in schools and adult creative writing groups, and has featured in NHS waiting rooms, cafés, and at science and literary festivals in the UK and abroad. With a rootless lily held in front of him, a poem from her latest collection, won the 2019 Plough Prize. She spoke about Return by Minor Road at the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing in November 2020.