I hear birds chirping in my backyard…it must be time for the May edition of the Insecure Writers Support Group, hosted by Alex Cavanaugh.
This month’s question: Which rituals help you get into the ZONE?
One of my duties as a psychologist is to help high performers enter the zone. I practice two quick skills to work toward achieving a state of flow:
- Diaphragmatic breaths (belly breaths). When we’re anxious or overwhelmed, our breathing becomes fast and shallow. What do you notice about your breath right now? Inhale through your nose and out your mouth, and allow your breath gently to become slower and deeper. Inhale into your belly, and pull your belly button to your spine as you exhale.
- Cue words. Repeat a phrase with each breath to focus on one thing at a time. The phrase is about the process, not outcome; something simple and under your control. What are helpful phrases for your writing? Maybe, “One word at a time”, “I’m the only one who can write this story”, or “I got this.”
In my short story for the IWSG anthology, Masquerade: Oddly Suited, I had a baseball catcher help an anxious softball pitcher take deep breaths and repeat the cue word, “Open hips.”
Beyond these two skills, I find that taking a walk is the best way to inspire writing ideas. Cerebral blood flow from exercise sparks my writing synapses.
Speaking of walking, the fragrant perfume and brilliant colors of Ohio spring flowers have captivated me on my neighborhood jaunts:
What helps YOU get into the zone?