Wednesday, May 6, 2020

IWSG: Getting into the Z O N E

Hi Everyone,

The first Wednesday of the month has snuck up on me - so much going on in my world. Sadly, its not writing. And being on-line is just about the last thing on my mind - well except to check my bank account and see how close to the red zone I am.

I'm going to jump right into the IWSG question of the month because its very late, I'm tired, and my brain is fuzzier than the Outer Limits beginning credits.

This month's fabulous co-hosts: Feather Stone, Beverly Stowe McClure, Mary Aalgaard, Kim Lajevardi, and Chemist Ken.

May 6 question - Do you have any rituals that you use when you need help getting into the ZONE? Care to share?

Like, oh boy do I!!! Not all are productive - I've been known to let the "getting into the zone" become procrastination and distraction.

If I'm creating a new project, I usually do a bit of research on names (name meanings can be a source of personality traits for characters) and location/setting. Sometimes I have to look up a monster, hero, legend, ethnic group and the like to make the story authentic. I have problems with "voice" and tone, so frequently I have to just free-write a while to settle into the world and character. If that fails, I occasionally need to watch movie/TV snippets to get a certain voice in my head, or read some passages from my favorite books.

Its harder to get into the "zone" with a continuing project. At the start of a session I read several pages of previous writing to remind myself where I am, but also to get into the mood of the story. Sometimes I put on music to fit the over all mood or world setting. If I get REALLY stumped on wording, or the next scene, or how to type the video playing in my head into into a word document I will free write a bunch of nonsense, read a thesaurus, talk to myself, or clean house.

Yep, you read that right: clean house, or other mundane, mindless chores that take my mind off the immediate frustration. The tactic actually does help, unless I get too involved with the cleaning project and forget all the insights I gathered before I get the computer turned on and the story so far loaded with blinking curser announcing its all ready get back into the Zone.

Happy Wednesday Y'all. I'll be around to visit your blogs over the weekend mostly; this is my busy week of long driving and almost no time for sleep or anything else. Stay safe out there, and remember to remain six blogs away from where you really want to be to practice social media distancing.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Six degrees of Kevin Bacon?
Music helps me get in the zone as well. Listening and playing. And yes, I know what it's like to think of something great while in the middle of yard work and then forget it once I get to the computer.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I struggle with voice sometimes too. I like your idea of watching snippets of TV. I'll have to try that next time I'm having a problem with this.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I need to explore the option of reading another book to find the right voice.

DRC said...

Watching snippets of something similar to what you're writing can get those creative juices flowing. Different genres of music help when trying to capture different moods in the writing too, I find...
Keep well

Rachna Chhabria said...

Good luck with your new project. Hope things are okay with you. Stay safe.

Chemist Ken said...

I resort to looking up names and their meanings when I hit a roadblock in my writing. In my case, I'm using that technique to hide from the hard writing instead of moving me back into the zone. Glad it works for you.

Yolanda Renée said...

House cleaning is always a good ritual. although, damn if I use it often enough! LOL
Take care and write when you feel like it!

Nick Wilford said...

It sounds like you've got a lot of different tactics, which is good - whatever works works. Hope you're staying safe out there on those drives.

Olga Godim said...

Research into the world I'm writing about does help sometimes to put me in the mood for writing, but cleaning house or other mundane chores never do.

Pat Hatt said...

All kinds of different ways at your place. Keeps things hopping that way.

Botanist said...

I don't have anything that I'd consider a ritual. That, to me, means something I do regularly. But there's lots of things that help me at different times, like reading the last page or two to launch me into the next writing session, research, and music (always on headphones though, to create a mental bubble)

Jenni said...

I agree that doing something mindless like housework helps. I think it's the repetitive motions. Also, walking works the same way for me.
I also read what I've written. Sometimes I sort of have to trick myself by telling myself that's all I have to do--but then I get going and can't stop.

dolorah said...

Alex; lol, exactly.

Natalie: good voice is hard to pass up no matter where you find it.

L Diane: I always learn something from reading another author's work.

DRC: music is atmospheric :)

Thanks Rachna

Ken: Like I said - sometimes I fall into a rabbit hole instead of moving forward.

Yolanda: lol, sometimes I write to avoid housework.

Nick; I love trying new things

Olga: its the mind clearing thing. And sometimes, it makes me want to write instead of clean. Especially when the hubby is outside working and I need an excuse not to look unbusy.

Pat; I see you have lots of tactics at your sea also :)

Bob: not sure my stuff is "ritual" either, but its things I regularly do.

Jenni: I love it when I sit down and just start to write. Then I feel like a true writer :)

S.A. Larsenッ said...

Oh, how I understand procrastination and distraction. I could teach a class in both. Haha!

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

HA! I can relate! The house is never cleaner than when I'm struggling to write.

Caitlin Coppola said...

I reread my previous work too! Sometimes I'll listen to music and if you're right, doing something mundane is like such a game changer. Happy writing!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Donna - I know ... always other things to do - rather than what one should be doing ... good luck with the project and overcoming mental objections to moving forward. Take care - and all the best - Hilary

Diane Burton said...

Great ideas to get into the zone. Opening the file helps me. LOL

Denise Covey said...

Ah, we all have our rituals, or idiosyncrasies, don't we Donna? I think reading is what I do best, LOL.

Michael Di Gesu said...

HI Donna,

First, congrats on the ten acres... That is AWESOME! I do love my new house, but I have more of a lot than property...about 8000 sq ft. And the house and two-car garage take over most of it.

Glad to see that you are still writing here and there. I need to jump back into it. I have PROCRASTINATING way too long... I took a flop at my neighbor's house yesterday, so I am a bit bruised up today, so I have been catching up on blogging and I HOPE to do some sort of writing later today. I have no excuse now because my knees and shoulder are killing me.

Stay safe while driving around...


Nicki Elson said...

Hehe, social media distancing.

I'm so with you on mundane tasks! Letting the mind wander while doing something simple is such valuable creative space for writers. But lately, I've been listening to podcasts while doing that stuff, and that crowds out any room for free thinking. I need to take those earbuds out once in a while.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...


>>... remember to remain six blogs away from where you really want to be to practice social media distancing.

Amen to *that*!
This virus is becoming more dangerous by the day. Just ask the president of Tanzania. He sent a swab from a pawpaw (a fruit similar to a mango) to the World Health Organization for testing, and it came back positive for having covid-19. (True story!!)

So, stay away from pawpaws, and remain 6 blogs away from your most loved ones. It's crazy dangerous out there (...he said with a sarcastic snicker).

The (genius) singer-songwriter TOM WAITS once said that sometimes when he's got songwriter's block, he'll start reciting some nursery rhymes, and that often seems to get his creative juices flowing.

And I noticed over the years that occasionally parts of those nursery rhymes actually make it un-cut into the final product. Example:

[Link> Little Boy Blue

~ D-FensDogG

dolorah said...

S.A: I'd take the online course.

Lynda: if we open a cleaning service based on that we could never be blocked at the same time.

Caitlin: happy writing!!

Hilary: keep safe in your own travels.

Diane: True that! Step one, turn on computer. Step 2: open word document. Step 3 - yeah still working on that one.

Dx: I miss reading a book as opposed to listening . . .

Michael: ouch, that sounds painful

Nicki: lol. I have to leave the Kindle in the car for the same reason.

Saint Mac: and yet, PEOPLE in my county are encouraged not to go to the doctor if they are sick and the test is only applied to persons obviously sick with the virus. Yup, make sense that pawpaws undergo testing before import to - a rich politicians home. I'll check out the link and see you at your mountain base Good Buddy.

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