Wednesday, May 6, 2020

IWSG: Getting into the Zone


Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting!

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.
 
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!  Be sure to visit and give them some love!

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

This is definitely a good question for me this month! Regular readers of this blog have seen my "Writer's Wednesday" posts that seem to keep saying the same thing: "I can't make myself settle down and attack my edits."

Since that is still true, I probably don't have much good advice about getting into the zone (I have to wonder if it would be easier if I were in drafting mode--I can kind of see falling into a new story, and I'm tempted to just do it). Here's what I've been trying.
  •  Doing some beta reads. This has helped a lot in the past--kind of get my mind in the editorial groove and keep on going. This time? Maybe helped a little. At least I got feedback to my writer friends in a timely fashion!
  • Making outlines and notes.  This is something that has to be done in any case, and is looking helpful in the long run. But I'm still finding it a lot easier to take another look to see if anyone's shared a funny FB meme than to even do the relatively easy task of sorting out what I've written and what needs to change. I haven't even gotten to the really hard work of actually making those changes. At least the multi-color outline is aesthetically pleasing.
  • Picking off other tasks that are distracting. I'm chipping away at editing photos from our extensive travels in Patagonia and Antarctica, as well as finally got started on our taxes (note: I have NEVER before procrastinated about our taxes. Not sure what's up with that!).
  • Finally, I'm kind of trying to accept my restlessness and do things to keep sane: lots of exercise, a bit of effort at imposing order on the house and garden, and planning summer backpacking trips as though I'm confident they'll happen.
 I'm not sure this is about getting into the "zone", but it is what I'm doing to try to keep working, at least a little bit. How about you? Anything working for you in these unsettling times?

And my obligatory gratuitous photos for the day:
It's okay to feel like we're adrift in an alien space.
The cave is beautiful, but deadly. I hope that's not true of our hidey-holes as we shelter in place!
And, finally, stare at the snow and be mesmerized. Let your mind go blank...
 
 All images and text ©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2020, unless otherwise indicated.
As always, please ask permission to use any photos or text. Link-backs appreciated!

 


30 comments:

  1. Procrastinating on taxes can be interpreted as rebellion against the system. It’s a stand, but only a minor one!

    As one of the recipients of your beta comments, I’d say you’ve done hugely well this month :D

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    1. Jemima, it is sooooo much easier to work on someone else's book, especially since I only have to do the easy part--pick out what needs work. Then you get to do the heavy lifting :)

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  2. I really like the idea of "trying to accept my restlessness." Maybe if we beat ourselves up less, we'll relax a bit more which will get us back to being creative and productive.

    That cave is amazing!

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    1. Acceptance is about all I have left!

      The caves and hollows in the ice bergs were amazing. You want to go look inside, but it would be a very bad idea :)

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  3. I think it's a great idea to accept restlessness in these uncertain times or when we have a lot of other pressing things to do. Maybe just setting aside 30 to 60 minutes an hour to work on your edits might make it easier to tackle them.

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    1. I think a schedule would help, even if it's completely artificial.

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  4. Amazing photos. Keep sorting and organizing those, and sharing. What a unique experience! Life is distracting right now. Cut yourself some slack. I'm also gardening like a fiend.

    Mary at Play off the Page

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  5. Those photos are amazing!!

    Accepting your restlessness sounds like a smart way forward. These are such weird and unsettling times and it can be hard to focus on the to do list.

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  6. You're not alone. I don't really have any way to get into the zone either. I just have to start.

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    1. Yeah... "Just do it." Nike made it sound so easy :D

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  7. Getting rid of distracting tasks is a good thing to do. How can we create when our minds are preoccupied with pesky to-do's?

    Thanks for sharing those amazing photos with us!

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    1. Thanks! I love having someone to share my photos with, and posting up every Friday gives me goals and deadlines for the editing. Amazing trips to amazing places, combined with some decent photo gear, gives me amazing photos (even if not so much compared to other photographers in the family).

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  8. Happy IWSG Day, Rebecca! I had hopes that this stay-at-home time would help me get it more together. Instead, it's made me less focussed and more distractible. I'm trying to cut myself a little slack over that, but it's so hard when you are ADHD and a perfectionist ~ LOL! Loved your Antarctica photos! I'm so glad you got there. Antarctica is second at the top of my travel list! A return to Italy is the first. All the best to you!

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    1. ADHD and perfectionism is a pretty hard combo! Do give yourself permission to be less focused. My experience is proof that your own life doesn't have to be much disrupted to make this a disrupting experience!

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  9. I think acceptance is half way through. Wish you safety and good health.

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    1. Trying to find the balance between accepting reality and giving up!

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  10. You have some very specific and well-drawn rituals, which is helpful! I just kinda meander and hope for the best. :-/

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    1. You can try my approaches. Of course, you'll note that none of that is working for me (OTOH: I finally got the taxes done. Kicking myself I didn't do it soon, since we are getting quite a bit back).

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  11. I can relate to everything you've said. I'm doing lot of other distracting tasks, but I'm not getting any writing done.

    In the mean time, here's to us and the anthology!!

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  12. We are in the same boat! I have set myself a few targets hoping that it will help me focus.

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  13. Your writing rituals sound like mine. I edit and plan when I need to get back into the zone after having been out of it because of (yet another) crisis. The lockdown has re-awakened my baking skills as well but that may not be a bad thing according to Julia Cameron and The Artist's Way. I love the idea of planning summer trips as though they might actually happen.

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    1. I'm trying hard not to do too much baking (at least, not of the sweets I love too much)!

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  14. I fare much better with first drafts than edits as well!
    Love the gratuitous photos - just beautiful!

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    1. Thanks! Honestly, for me drafting a new story is just fun. Editing, even when it goes well, is a lot more like work!

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  15. Rebecca, I'm absolutely loving your Antarctica pics. So crisp and clear. I adore editing over first drafts. Odd, aren't I? Trouble is I want to edit forever.

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  16. Thanks for stopping by my blog.
    I too find that beta reading helps me connect to my muse.
    Sometimes starting something new helps you get back on track with other things, but sometimes it doesn't. Still worth trying.
    Love the images.

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