I don't know about you, but the constant and impassioned nattering of news announcers gets to me. In fact, I mostly read my news now, because I can't handle that emotional overload when I'm already worried about the ones I love and our wider community as we struggle along. Plus, for people in a vulnerable group (that's me, older than dirt), we have to stay home. Yep. Day 56 for me. I've almost mastered ordering groceries online -- and having to wait 8 days before picking them up!
So IWSG's challenge question this month seemed to fit right in. The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) asks: Do you have any rituals that you use when you need help getting into the ZONE? Care to share?
At first, this self-enforced staying at home (which began for me on February 6), was unsettling. Two somewhat connected strategies help me now write nearly every day.
1. Writing Challenges and resources. Who doesn't love a challenge? April brought National Poetry Month, and Robert Lee Brewer's daily poetry prompts. Just that process of falling into a poem centered me. Add Pixabay's library of visual images, and I was transported far beyond my view of the garages just outside my office window.
After a morning of writing, I try to hit the e-mails, deleting as fast as I can. But, there are always gems -- those newsletters from writers teaching other writers; their generosity and helpfulness inspire me -- most recently Kate Weiland's discussion of theme and how it shapes all else. Current favorites include: Kate Weiland's Helping Writers Become Authors, Joel Friedlander's The Book Designer, and Anne R. Allen's blog with Ruth Harris. So this kind of reading feeds back into my writing and gets me ready for the next day.
2. Commitment to a writing routine. Just now, NaNoWriMo sends out an occasional e-mail, maybe once a week with a cute graphic offering tips to help writers on their social, physical, and mental well-being -- and writing. Early on in this pandemic, their advice was simply to create a routine. And this led me to make a commitment to what I really want to do -- and to make that goal visible and achievable by breaking it into smaller steps.
As Kristin Lamb says,
“Wash, rinse, repeat for writing success.
Just write those 500 words every day!”
Part of my ritual in getting ready to write is to open up my file called May Daily Work which sets goals for the month (easily modified). Here, I track and update my musings about and progress each day in about three categories (writing projects, marketing, and other). Each category lists between 3-7 specific tasks. I may not finish them all each day, but they're present and ready for tomorrow. And so am I.
Maybe IWSG was looking for something a bit more quirky? Like that 18th Century poet who was inspired by the smell of rotting apples kept in his writing desk? Let's be inspired, by routine and/or ritual!
|Image by John Hain, Pixabay|
Why not visit IWSG's HOME PAGE at www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com to see what others have written — and to thank this month’s hosts: Feather Stone, Beverly Stowe McClure, Mary Aalgaard, Kim Lajevardi, and Chemist Ken! And make it a good week ahead. Stay home. Stay safe. Cherish yourself and those you care about.