After last month’s IWSG support day, I eagerly hit the refresh button to get the prompt for April 1 and found the following on the signup page:
April 1 question – Do you have any rituals that you use when you need help getting into the ZONE? Care to share?IWSG
As I have made it my goal is to answer the monthly prompt as it is given, I began to consider how I was approaching my writing and realized I was very much at a disadvantage in answering such a question. At the time, I didn’t actually have a ritual or any writing habit at all. Ahem. I decided it was a topic worthy of some thought. I decided that in March, 2020, I would develop a ritual that would help put me in this wonderful place known as “the zone.” I would commit to building a writing habit.
I made a note of it, closed the IWSG tab, and went back to my daily life with the prompt rolling around in the back of my head.
Well, except, that’s not exactly the way it went down. The daily life I knew at the beginning of March is very different from the one I know now. At the beginning of March, my husband would leave bright and early for work in the morning. At the beginning of the month, we enjoyed the occasional dinner out or making an outing of a trip to a local market. At the beginning of March, we had the habit of spending our weekends with friends playing board games. At the beginning of the month, I had confidence that I could plan the coming months with a reasonable amount of confidence.
That was at the beginning of this month. In just these few weeks, as I began to consider how to be a better writer, I saw the world drastically change around me. My husband no longer leaves for work. We no longer run to the market for an outing (we are, however, finding some creative ways to use the sardines, French lentils, and other long forgotten supplies in the hinterlands of the pantry). We no longer meet friends for board games but, rather, wrestle with the mute button on Zoom. Here, at the end of the month, we no longer make any specific plans for the future.
As the weeks unfolded, the question of how I might develop a writing habit became a bit of a buoy to hang onto during the rising tide of uncertainty and fear around me. When the sum total of how one can best help in a national crisis is to stay home and keep healthy, it nudges one to look within.
I have now reached the end of the month. (Others, tragically, have not.) Besides timeboxing YouTub sessions, shifting through frightening news broadcasts looking for the latest, factual information, I have spent my days working on answering the question of what it means to have a ritual for getting into the zone. I have, in a matter of weeks, developed my own unique way to begin my day and get myself into the writing chair. In doing so, I have become much more consistent in my writing. I have submitted one of my pieces to a journal. I have written a post for the upcoming WEP challenge. I have continued working on my first novel. And, of course, I have worked on my IWSG post summarizing all I had learned about writing and getting into the flow.
Facing this month’s deadline and having dutifully written my post, I opened the laptop and brought up the IWSG tab. I then smiled seeing that, in the meantime, the hosts of the site had changed the prompt to the following:
…in this time when our world is in crisis with the covid-19 pandemic, our optional question this month is: how are things in your world?IWSG
So, you see, for the April 1st prompt, there has been a bit of a switcheroo sometime during the month and now I had a second, unanswered prompt. Changing the prompt, of course, was a thoughtful, compassionate action on the part of IWSG hosts, and I wholeheartedly commend them for doing so. I smiled because not only did my world change since I started answering the prompt, but the prompt changed! Lots of moving targets these days.
No worries. Once I stopped shaking my head, I realized that my answer didn’t really change. The answer to the question of how things are in my world is that my world is a very scary place, but I am grateful to report that, thanks to the original IWSG prompt, my focus on writing has been a source of comfort.
For now I will take my original post about the resources I used and my very own method for getting in the zone, I will take that post and tuck it away for a later time when such matters might not seem a bit tone deaf. The main message I want to send is that I am grateful to all those who make up this community. I send everyone my wishes for your continued health and safety. Thank you, IWSG and all those who wander here. Best to you all….