Been writing... ;-)
During my free time, I've been working on the first three chapters of a new book. This is a spec novel, and just something I needed to get out of my head because it was distracting me from writing what I'm supposed to be writing.
I don't have many rituals, and often times I'll do different things for different novels (some I write long hand, some on the PC, some both... Some I outline, some not at all, etc..). But one thing that remains consistent with every novel I write, is my need to make the first chapter absolutely perfect (or what I think of as perfect at the time) before proceeding. I cannot, in fact, continue with the rough draft of a new novel until that first chapter shines.
I say all the time to write through the crap, write through trouble areas, and just get that rough draft down on paper because you can always go back -- then, at least, you have something to work with versus a blank page. And I do this as well. All except for that first chapter. I realize this is a ritual for me. A constant. To fine tune, revise, edit, polish many, many times before I can then go ahead and write the entire rough draft.
So what constants do you guys have?