This is an Insecure Writer’s Support Group post. Once a month, authors from all over come together and post in a hop where it’s safe to admit that this writing job has its bad days. There will be listicles, support, and digital shoulders to lean on.

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To sign up for the hop yourself go here. The awesome co-hosts for the May 6 posting of the IWSG are Feather Stone, Beverly Stowe McClure, Mary Aalgaard, Kim Lajevardi, and Chemist Ken! The Insecure Writer’s Support Group is also on Twitter and Instagram, in case you were wondering.

The Question for May is: Do you have any rituals that you use when you need help getting in the writing ZONE?

I got some wires crossed and accidentally answered this question in last month’s post so you all already know that I am an anti-ZONE sort of person. Instead, this month I’ll share what I do that reliably helps me to get out of a writing slump/blue period/seasonal depression zone.

Sometimes it takes one step to lift me out. Sometimes I have to use several steps, or all of them. Still other times, I have to go through this whole sequence a few times. The end result, though, is they work for me. If they sound helpful, feel free to steal them for your own dark times. We’re all in this together.

Step one: Accept that rainy, bad times happen. No really, they do. No matter how mature or well adjusted I think I am. Perhaps for no reason, other than that it’s been a while and my hormones feel like slapping me upside the heart. It’s okay for there not to be a reason. I don’t have to pretend I need one.

Step two: Take a break. No writing for a little while. If the voice inside won’t stop telling me how awful everything I’m trying to write is, it’s time for a break. Fifth rejection in a row, or a manuscript that didn’t even make it to the final round of a RWA contest . . . yeah, it’s time for a cooling-off period from the Doubtful Voice which sings the same old tune over and over.

calm down gif

Words to live by

Step three: Deliberately look up all of the things I’ve done right. Dig out that old critique feedback that was so nice. Look up my name in the one RWA contest that I did place in. Reject the idea that the good things are few and far between. There’s that little voice again, and I’m going to ignore it AGGRESSIVELY.

Step four: Read something funny. My poison of choice is Terry Pratchett. Watch something sweet, or inspiring. Enchanted (from the gif above) is a fantastic choice for this. Take a walk. Sunshine preferred, but I’ll take what I can get.

Step five: Work on a different project. Pick a writing prompt or stumble on a meme that really speaks to me and just let words flow. This project might never go anywhere or be published and it doesn’t matter. Just gotta get those words gushing again.

Step six: Repeat as needed.