I am doing a nice thing for myself: I’ve joined a writers’ group here in town, a real live in-person writers’ group (as opposed to my equally valued “Humber Group”, which I’ve mentioned here numerous times, and which is all email based). I’m hoping it will keep me honest, give me a chance to critique again (I feel as if I’m getting rusty, and that’s not good, as I’m intending to start writing the occasional book review in here), and give me a monthly chance to yak writing with some fine people.

I went to my first meeting last night, and got so riled up and inspired that I wrote 300 words this morning. All flat out and sweaty-like. Yippee!

In the future we’ll be critiquing work, but last night we talked about integrating writing into our lives. We talked about the reasons we don’t write. Do you squander your time on TV, Facebook, Fritter Twitter? (*User raises hand*) You should put yourself through a “time audit” (I loved that) and figure out what you can cut.

Is THE FEAR blocking you from writing? (*User raises hand*) How can I possibly write if it isn’t coming out perfect, first time, every time (well, I may as well go check my Facebook… again)? We reminded ourselves of the freeing beauty of shitty first drafts. We talked about breaking things down into tiny, doable little units. Someone said she was spurred on by watching the word count grow. Not by a fixed amount per day or anything like that, but just that it was “higher”, and “higher” meant a good day. Someone else said she made word-count charts and time goals and that physical evidence of her progress kept her going.

We talked about establishing the habit of writing. The crazy rituals we have to do at the start of a session. Lighting a candle, say; or maybe putting all the “bad writing” thoughts (all the “you suck, you will never write anything good, what the hell do you think you’re doing?” thoughts) into a toy troll and simply *turning him around*, away from you, when it’s time to write — so the bad thoughts can’t interfere, see.  Kind of like a voodoo writing doll?

I confessed that when I’m planning to write, I put on my Writing Uniform, i.e. any one of my NaNoWriMo t-shirts that happens to be clean. Once I’m wearing the Writing Uniform, I have to write. I’ve also just bought myself a “Write Like A Motherf$*ker” mug. Drinking out of it is holy and must only be done while the Church of Writing is open. It works.

So I was wondering… what are your rituals? What gets your ass in the chair?