Insecure Writer’s Support Group: Getting in the Zone

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

Truthfully, the best way for me to get into the zone is writing with other people. Under normal circumstances, one of my favorite things to do it to meet up with a writing friend at a cafe, catch up over pastries and beverages, and then settle in for a nice writing session. Since both sitting in cafes and socializing is canceled for the foreseeable future, I have had to compromise.

Zoom is currently the best tool in my arsenal. I’ve been meeting up with one of my regular writing buddies almost every week, and Cat Rambo has been hosting writing sessions on Zoom for her Patreon supporters and members of her Discord community since the pandemic began. They are well-attended, and it’s nice to see the same faces on a regular basis. She’s set up a really nice format for the medium, and it’s a great community! It doesn’t always get me all the way into “the zone,” but it’s 1.5 hours of writing time that I would not have otherwise managed, which is pretty darn good, especially right now. While I would prefer to be in my favorite cafe, these writing sessions are the next best thing.

Other news

Cat Ladies of the Apocalypse is out! My physical copy arrived in the mail on Monday, and it’s absolutely beautiful. This is my first anthology publication, and the first time I have seen my fiction in hard copy. It’s been a strange experience, to have this happen during a pandemic, but it’s a weirdly appropriate time for a book of semi-hopeful stories about the end of the world.

How are you all doing? I’m looking forward to reading some of the answers to this month’s ISWG question from other people! Maybe it’ll give me the inspiration to create a decent writing ritual of my own.

Insecure Writer’s Support Group: Life in the Time of COVID-19

April 1 question – The IWSG’s focus is on our writers. Each month, from all over the globe, we are a united group sharing our insecurities, our troubles, and our pain. So, 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?

I almost don’t know how to answer this question. How is my world in the time of COVID-19? In many ways, it’s unchanged. My husband and I already worked from home, and I don’t have kids who are suddenly underfoot and trying to adjust to huge changes. Our recreational activities are curtailed – no more meeting at coffee shops to write with friends for me, and no more long-sword class for my husband – but the basic meat of our lives remains unchanged on the surface. I know that I am incredibly lucky for that.

But life is much more than the surface, isn’t it?

It turns out that I really, really need social contact and external obligations in order to function. My mental health has taken a swift turn for the worse, which particularly sucks because I feel like I only just got onto even footing with that a few months ago. So I find myself mourning that progress, and worried about what it will take to regain it.

I’m frightened. I’m afraid of what will happen if America in general (and Boston in particular, since that’s where I live) does not take this threat seriously. We could lose a lot of lives. I try not to think about that, but the awareness is still there.

I hope that we can use this crisis to build a better society, one where we value people over profit, but I’m terrified that we won’t. I certainly don’t know how to make that happen. I’m looking to see what small steps I can take to create the world I want to see, but it’s hard. That’s nothing new.

But life carries on! I’m checking in with friends and baking. I go for walks and I snuggle my cat, who is finally living her dream of constant human companionship. I’m knitting and reading and getting some writing done.

I even have exciting writing news! I’ll write a dedicated blog post about it soon enough, but I have a short story published in a new anthology, Cat Ladies of the Apocalypse, which has launched as part of a cat-themed story bundle! That runs until April 15, 2020. So if you need cat breaks, you can get ten different cat books, including Cat Ladies of the Apocalypse. I feel a little weird about doing self promotion right now, but I know that I have been craving light reading, so I assume that others are, as well. Cat books might just scratch that itch, so I figure it’s a public service at this point.

I know that I am very lucky to be able to weather this story in comfort and safety. I hope that everyone reading this is doing alright.