The Insecure Writer’s Support Group meets (online) on the first Wednesday of every month. During these especially scary days, it’s nice to know you’ve got a group like this at your back. If you haven’t already, come join!

The awesome co-hosts for the April 1 posting of the IWSG are Diane Burton, JH Moncrieff, Anna @ Emaginette, Karen @ Reprobate Typewriter (Hi!), Erika Beebe, and Lisa Buie-Collard!

April 1 question: Do you have any rituals that you use when you need help getting into the ZONE? Care to share?

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Actual image of SE, getting ready to share the ZONE ritual

Why, yes, there is indeed a no-fail ritual I turn to and I would be delighted to share.

  • First, what you need is a good knife sharpener. Chef quality, if you can. You’re going to want a really good edge. Next you’ll need a good narrow filleting knife. None of those big ol watermelon chopper kinds, finesse is needed here.
  • During the next gibbous moon (waxing gibbous, definitely) head for any swampy, rich, muddy area close to you. Getting out of there with dry boots is a bad sign, I mean the kind of place that actively tries to suck your shoes off and eat them.
  • Bring a good reusable shopping bag, two green bell peppers (pasilla will work as a substitute), two spiders (doesn’t matter what kind), an empty container, lots of string, and a snack, cause this will take most of the night and self-care is important. (I suggest tacos.) The container is for blood. Blood will flow as streams for this ritual. When you find a good area to set up your trap you’ll need to leash the spiders and tie them to . . . oh.

Oh . . . wait. That’s not—haha, no, wait, that’s incorrect.

That’s the wrong ritual. Wrong one. Sorry, friends.

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*coughs nervously*

Ahem. In actual seriousness, I have no ritual to get me in the Writing Zone. I just . . . do not have one. Nor have I found one that works every time, because discipline and consistency are kinda anti-SE traits, and this is something I know to be true about myself after 33 years on this planet. I am a vague, oblivious, socially anxious, kind of ditzy, unorganized person with a bad short-term memory. I have developed life-hacks and habits to work with and/or minimize (cause this kind of personality doesn’t get the bills paid, yo), but I don’t have one magic bullet fix for my writing life.

The closest I get to a ritual, and if you want to steal this idea please do, is this: I always go back a chapter or two and re-read what was happening before I start writing.

*shocked gasps all around* I know, I know, this goes against current writing advice which is all VOMIT WRITE DIRTY ON THE FIRST DRAFT and NEVER SELF EDIT YOU INSECURE MUFFIN and YOU CAN’T EDIT A BLANK PAGE. Yes. Totally. I agree 100% if this kind of get-it-down-on-the-page works for you. But it does not work for me and my Dory-memory self.

I need to hit the refresh button before I can go forward, and that’s how I write. As I read through what I already finished I slip back into the world I was creating, remember where I was trying to go, and recollect what steps were next to get me across this constantly rushing torrent of ideas. It’s like shifting from park into drive for me, and it’s something I need.

Will it work for you? Maybe. Also perhaps not. We all hack out the words from the Idea Mines with a different pick. But I will enjoy visiting your blogs today and hearing what works for you. Happy IWSG Day, writers. Stay safe and healthy.