IWSG: Rituals to Get in The Zone

Logo for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Picture of a lighthouse with text reading "THE INSECURE WRITER'S SUPPORT GROUP"

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!


The awesome co-hosts for the May 6 writing rituals to get in the zone edition of the IWSG are Feather Stone, Beverly Stowe McClure, Mary Aalgaard, Kim Lajevardi, and Chemist Ken!

I like to write at work. Which is to say, I try to get a couple hundred words in over my lunch hour, while sitting in a crowded break room, and being interrupted regularly. Writing rituals to get in the zone? I’m not even sure there is a zone, some days. There’s no magic key to getting uninterrupted time. I like earphones. They’re a visible reminder that I am doing something else, and sometimes they work.

What am I listening to on those earphones, you ask?

Well, it would have been music, once. Something classical, with a long playtime. (At least long enough to get me through lunch.) Well, even if there are no words, the music, itself, becomes a distraction after a while. So, I’ve moved on to the sound of rain. It’s fairly easy to find tracks that are long enough, and the sound does a really excellent job of blocking out the noises in the break room.

Beyond that? No. I get enough strange looks when I pull out the fountain pen or the tiny keyboard that goes with my phone. (Co-Workers prefer the tiny keyboard for some reason.)

Most of the rituals are things that make the process easier, not just add-ons. I have a writing notebook. THE notebook. The one that keeps everything together, goes in my purse, and keeps my novel from being scattered across an infinite number of cocktail napkins. Since I work with fountain pens, if one runs out of ink, I refill them all. They were bound to be close to running out, right? And does a bullet journal count as a ritual? Because I have one. It’s hideous.

I’d love to say that eating over my manuscript is vital to creativity. And I’d love to say that the food has to be something fabulous. I simply can’t write a word, until I’ve spilled three drops of mango passion fruit compote on the opening scene. Nope. I’m just eating. Microwave burrito, anyone?

I’ll love to see what everybody else has come up with, though. I’m not above begging. So, tell me… what works for you? If you have time, stick around and read the story I wrote for the Storytime Blog Hop, or just move in and read them all. The list is here.


  1. Reply

    You know, I think you’re absolutely right: a good writing ritual makes the process easier, it’s not just an add-on. I’ve had a lot of writing rituals over the years. Most of them eventually were dropped. The ones I’ve kept are the ones that genuinely do make writing easier.

  2. Reply

    I think for me since I like quiet the best as I write, my rituals are my devices with the scrivener app, a favorite book nearby, and a hot cup of coffee 🙂

  3. Reply

    If I wear headphones, I usually just use them as noise canceling ones. No music for me, although I keep hearing about playlists that are all rain or waves, etc. so I might give that a try one day.

  4. mlouisebarbourfundyblue


    Hi, Karen! Kudos to you for being able to write in your break room! I really don’t have rituals, but coffee and chocolate can keep me going. All the best to you with your writing!

  5. Reply

    Sooo what has worked for me is film scores on Pandora. No words. Familiar tunes (i.e., Superman film…any of them), and I’m in the zone.

  6. Reply

    I like the fountain pen ritual. I may borrow that one, take my pens out of hiding and use them again.

  7. Reply

    I’d say headphones and mango compote are a stimulus package for creativity. I can write in noisy places, but it’s usually just a few notes for later. Most of the time I require quiet and bit a time–luxuries, I know.

  8. Reply

    I like headphones too. But sometimes I’m listening to dead sound because I need quiet and I’m surrounded by noise. In my younger years, I could write under any circumstance. Ha.

  9. Damyanti Biswas


    That is such dedication… to spend your lunch hour writing!

  10. Reply

    Thanks for stopping by my blog.
    That’s magical that you can write on your lunch break. I’ve never been able to do that. When I take a break, I completely check out. Maybe it’s some kind of sense of short-term or confinement that makes it a productive time for you.

  11. Diane Burton


    Headphones and fountain pens. Great combo. I’m amazed you can write in the break room. Good for you! Stay safe.

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