Getting back on the writing horse – an IWSG post #IWSG

This post is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG), an awesome blog hop frequented by writers of all kinds; those new to writing, those who are more seasoned, those who do it full time and those who dip in and out. For more details go to the main sign-up page, and why not drop by a few blogs while you’re there. Make sure you’ve got plenty of time though, you could be there longer than you thought …

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. Make sure you head over to see these guys and share some IWSG love!

Each month the IWSG posts a question that can be used in the next blog post, as a guide for sharing thoughts and advice to fellow writers. This month the question on everyone’s lips blogs is:

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

So, it’s fair to say that I’ve been out of the writing zone for a very long time (my apologies if this isn’t news to some). The usual life milestones have wedged themselves firmly in the way, as well as work changes/challenges and other factors beyond my control.

But one good thing (and I like to dwell on the positives if I can) that has come out of this lock down situation is that I have a lot more time on my hands. Yes, things are equally, if not more, stressful at home with two children requiring homeschooling and working from home myself as well, but once the cherubs are in bed, I suddenly have more time for myself. I’m not having to head out for my mid-week darts match or run the children around to all their after-school stuff. And as for the weekends, all I really have on the to-do list is the weekly shop and a run around the block.

The first two or three weeks were tough as we adjusted to a new normal, but now things have settled a bit I want to use my time more productively, and that means getting back to writing. I’m trying to get myself back into a routine and make writing a habit again, something I plan into my day without having to think about it. I’ve been trying to free write for 15 minutes every day and so far I’m managing to do this three times a week. I’m hoping this will start stretching my writing muscles again so I can get back to writing like I used to.

How about you? Do you have any rituals you’d like to share? Any tips for me to help get back on that writing horse? I look forward to picking up some pointers.

36 thoughts on “Getting back on the writing horse – an IWSG post #IWSG

  1. I sometimes think that this “new normal” is affecting my way of writing simply by being put in a different situation to the one I am used to. My old routine – that worked fairly well – has been thoroughly disrupted – and I’m struggling to find a new method that works well.
    The only thing I try to do is make sure that each day I do write something, however big or small that might be. Writing one sentence per day is better than writing nothing all week, which is how I was when disruption hit!
    Hope you manage to find the time time to get back to it soon. Take care.

    1. Thanks Chris. I think I feel like if I do sit and write I need to produce something of at least 500 words to make it worthwhile, but you’re right; just writing a single sentence is something, and all those sentences will eventually add up. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Yes, you would think after 2 months of this we’d all be experiencing a new “normal”. I am just now getting my head in the zone. It’s been weird. I spent the first two months stuck to the tv and the news. That has got to change. Welcome to IWSG, Heather. Nice to meet you. I’m joylene, back after an 18month hiatus. #140

    1. Hi Joylene, thanks for stopping by. When this all started and we didn’t know how long it would last, I assumed it would be temporary and that I wouldn’t need to get into a new routine. Clearly that’s not the case though, and now I’ve accepted that fact I’m being more proactive about making changes. Welcome back to you, too!

  3. I forgot about all the “cart the kids around to after school activities” stuff. My kids are mostly independent these days, so I no longer have to worry about that, but I’m glad you feel you have more time to write now. Take advantage of it as much as you can. Thanks for being part of the IWSG!

    1. Thank you Ken, and thanks for stopping by. Now I’ve got this extra time I intend to make the most of it, or at least try to, for however long it lasts.

  4. Free-writing seems like an excellent way to start stretching your writing muscle again! If you’re trying to make it a regular habit, do you have a specific time of day set aside for it? That can help, if your schedule is fixed enough.

    1. Hi Joanna, thanks for stopping by. With everything else, my free writing time seems to fall in the evening when the children are in bed and I’ve finished with the tidying up. I get myself ready for bed and relaxed(ish), free write for 15 minutes and then read for a bit more.

  5. Good point about not as much driving with kids home. I hadn’t thought about that but you’re right–that tends to take hours shuttling them here and there.

    1. Hi Jacqui. I didn’t realise how much of my time was taken up with it until I didn’t have to do it. And my fuel bill has plummeted! Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Nice to meet you! Yes, as time goes on we need to adjust and take the benefits where they come, and more spare time is definitely one of those. Glad to hear you’re getting back into writing.

    1. Thanks Nick, and thanks for stopping by. I do like to try and look on the bright side of things, and make the most of them if I can, no matter how hard it may seem!

  7. If there is such a thing as a COVID silver-lining, maybe it is that folks find time to get back to things that really matter to them. Best wishes with your writing.

    1. Thank you Liza, and thanks for stopping by. I am starting to feel a little more relaxed with myself now and I’m taking the time to think about what I’m doing in my life. Getting back to writing is a huge part of that.

  8. Welcome back! I think we’re all going to have to adjust to a “new” normal, which is really freaking irritating, as it assumes anything was previously “normal.” But we all have our comfort zone and habits that we do not like to have disrupted.

    1. That’s a good point, Lee. I’m actually quite glad now to have the opportunity to adjust my habits and break into a new comfort zone. Thanks for stopping by.

  9. I really like your 15 minute free write idea. I’ve found that just writing long hand has really helped me get into my writing zone again. It’s always easier to get started if I start small.

    1. Hi Jenni. I love writing by hand and I’ve got a mild obsession with notebooks, but that’s not just me, right? I’ve also got a considerable collection of pencils that I use, preferring that to a pen. Something about hearing the movement on the page, I think. Thanks for stopping by.

  10. Dear Heather, Welcome back. Any writing time is better than none. Working outside, two school-age children and a house to run is a lot . Congratulations on maintaining your balance. We do realise that extra-professional activities are time-consuming and take up a lot of energy. I think we have a tendency to take on too much these days. After twenty five years raising my children, working and activities, I hibernated for two years, letting life flow over me. Like the lock-down it regenerated my energy and my writing momentum, and curiously prepared me for these last three months. So, patience and perseverance. Motherhood is a full-time job until they leave home, so don’t worry about writing output. Embrace it as an enjoyable break, a you-time, a rest from day-to-day responsibilities. Allow yourself to dream and you will soar to unsuspected heights.
    Take care, keep safe. Wishing you an inspiring springtime.

    1. Hi Susan, thank you for these wonderful words. I agree, I definitely take on too much for myself, foolishly thinking that I can do it all. I love being a mother but I know there’s much more to me than that, and if all I can devote is a sneaky half an hour or less each day, then I’ll take it for now. Thank you for dropping by.

  11. Glad to hear you’ve found a real positive about the current situation – it’s certainly important to be able to do that. I didn’t have too much of an adjustment being an existing home worker, although the mental aspect does require some adjustment. I suspect I’m going to be more affected by the loosening of restrictions and expect an increase of anxiety, so am hoping my writing will help to distract me. I hope you get to continue your new practice regardless what the upcoming changes are in your locality.

    1. I try my best to find the positive in any situation, although that’s easier said than done sometimes. I hope the writing is helping with your anxiety, it certainly is a wonderful medium for that.

  12. I try to write BEFORE the kids wake up. Because once that starts, I know any coherent thought will be interrupted in 90 seconds or less.
    I’m also fortunate to head to the office before official start time. Put on some music, write with no one around.
    Trying to do it during that day can definitely be tricky.

    1. I might try getting myself up earlier in the morning and doing some writing before anyone else is up. That’ll be an easier habit to get into while it’s so light in the morning. Thanks for dropping by.

  13. My way to get back into a groove, especially when I’m swamped or stressed (or my favorite–both), is to set the bar really low. For example: every day I will open my manuscript and make one change. That bar is so low, I don’t usually resist doing it, and once I’m in there, I often do more than make one change. I just have to psych myself into sitting in the chair and doing something.

    Good luck!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Janet. I love this idea of setting a minimal target, of doing just one thing a day. I’m often guilty of expecting too much from myself. Thanks for the tip!

  14. I usually scroll up and read through the scene I’m writing to get myself back into the story. It sometimes takes me a while to get inspired, so it helps to have a few days off in a row when I’m drafting. I work 12-hour shifts at my ‘real job’ and try my best to chunk them together when I make my schedule.

    1. It can be tricky managing a writing life and another job, I should really get better at making myself a schedule too, and sticking to it! Thanks for commenting.

  15. It’s been almost a month since you wrote this, so I hope you were able to start writing more frequently! The lockdown has been great for the writing but there have also been so many other commitments to keep!

    1. You’re so right! What with family and work and writing and housework, it’s still non-stop. I have been able to do some writing, although not as much as I’d like to. Thanks for commenting.

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