Wednesday, May 6, 2020

IWSG - May 2020

It's the first Wednesday in May so it's time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group!

This month's question is:

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

I don't really have any rituals.  I'm someone who writes whenever I have time to write, so I don't feel like I have the time to indulge in any rituals.   I just grab that moment of free time and get to it.

That said, there are a few things I do to make sure that when I sit down to write, I can actually get going without warming into it too much.  For instance, I never leave a project at the end of a chapter or section.  I always write at least a few sentences or paragraphs of the next so when I get back to the MS, I'm not facing a blank page and have a few lines to lead me back into the story.

When I'm drafting, I don't like to stop and do research so if I hit a point where I might need some information I don't have at hand, I'll leave myself a note in the text and highlight it in yellow so I can find it later and fill in the details.  My early drafts are littered with things that say FIND OUT WHAT THE KOREAN WORD FOR GRANDMOTHER IS  or LOOK UP THE LITERACY RATE IN AUSTRALIA IN 1886.

Another thing I do to make sure any writing time I have is constructive, is not to keep going if I'm stuck. If I can't figure out what happens next in a section, I'll just stop writing, open up a new scene in Scrivener and move on to a point in the story where I do know what happens. Usually writing something further down the book's timeline helps me figure out what to do in that earlier scene. And if it doesn't, it often tells me I was moving in the wrong direction with that earlier scene and may need to re-write some or all of it so it does help move the story along.

So, I don't think I've really answered the question, but hopefully some of these tips for making sure any writing time you snatch is productive are useful for you.

What rituals do you observe to help get in the zone?


  1. I do a lot of those same things to help with my productivity. If I don't have the next few lines of a scene, I'll do what Patricia mentions in her comment and write a little summary so I don't forget. Or, you know, don't forget as much, anyway.

  2. I remember someone saying once that you should quit writing in the middle of a scene for just that reason. I'm not sure how much it helps me though :P

  3. Those are helpful tips, Kate. I've gotten better about inserting notes to get back to later. I used to stop and go on research dives, getting way off track for way too long. Leaving notes is far more efficient.