Nearly every morning I rise to the dawning of the morning light out my window. Some days, in the winter especially, I awaken before the sun has a chance to peek over the horizon.
Whether the house is dimly lit or pitch black, I wander my way into the kitchen, my feet slipping quietly across the hardwood floors as I try not to disturb a sleeping child.
I go to my Keurig and brew a single cup of black coffee.
Black coffee. The black of the morning.
These are NOT things I’m naturally inclined to enjoy. And yet, they have become a part of my morning routine which blends itself into my writing ritual.
With my mug of steaming hot coffee in hand, I make my way towards the armchair in the den or the hard chair of my desk or sometimes the kitchen table. I grab a soft cardigan or blanket, my journal, and a pen.
I grab a candle and light it.
And then, I write.
I light a candle when I write my morning pages—and honestly when I write just about any words at all.
These small, ordinary practices become part of my writing ritual.
I’m often asked: What’s the significance of lighting a candle when you write?
Well, not only do sensory rituals, like coffee drinking and candle lighting, support our creativity for psychological reasons, but the specific ritual of lighting a candle can draw our attention to the sacred, spiritual practice of writing.
Lighting a candle symbolizes the sacred, spiritual conversations that happen on the page.
The flickering flame of the candle brings my awareness to the Lord’s presence with me as I write and pray.
The candlelight represents the Light my soul is tethered to when I feel lost in the dark sea of the unseen.
I don’t know about you but my soul needs reminders, practices, and rhythms like the simple act of lighting a candle to help me remember, because I can be awfully fickle and forgetful.
There is nothing magical about lighting a candle when you write or pray or write to pray. But the practice of lighting a candle is one that has a long history of significance across cultures and within Christianity.
We light candles as a way to remember, to honor, to pray, remember. The visual reminder of the candlelight symbolizes the Light, Hope, and Divine Inspiration we draw upon to sustain us in our lives (writing lives included).
Because lighting a candle has become part of my daily writing ritual, I wanted to find a way to extend this invitation to you. One week from this posting of this piece, on July 12, 2022, new items to do just this are coming to my shop. Stay tuned…
What writing rituals do you have? Do you light a candle? What does this practice mean to you? I’d love to hear your related thoughts in the comments.