Nancy: Is It Time to Kick Some Habits?

Humans are creatures of habit, and for good reason. Habits lead to predictability, which lends itself well to things like safety and survival. And as brain science and writing gurus have told us, engaging in habits surrounding creativity can boost our productivity. We’ve talked about writing habits, rituals, and routines a lot on this very blog.

But what happens when those habits become necessities, when we can’t write or create or function without them? Is it possible for writing habits to become too precious?

Sometimes life throws us out of our routines. Family emergencies, summer vacations, or business travel intrude on our plans for long hours of solitary writing time. Sure, we can abandon our writing until things go back to normal. But what if there’s a looming deadline, or the break will throw you out of your story at a critical creative juncture? Or, horror of horrors, what if things never go back to ‘normal’?

When it comes to attachment to habits, I know whereof I speak. I love my morning rituals, my writing routines, my writing spot, my editing desk, and schedules and timers to keep it all moving along. But I’m going to have some routine-shattering events coming up this summer, along with deadlines on multiple stories, which means it’s time to get over myself and my ‘must-have’ habits. 

I’ve decided to approach this like an athletic challenge. First, I’ll set up the end goal. Then I’ll set up a training schedule to meet it, and start working up to the challenge day by day, week by week. In case you need to train for a similar event, please to enjoy my training approach and adapt for your own nefarious purposes.

The Challenge: Write outside my comfort zone, achieving 5000+ words and multiple chapter edits weekly while traveling with family and friends Continue reading

Michaeline: Around the Campfire

An evening's entertainment by the light of a flame. (Via Wikimedia Commons, Ferdinand du Puigaudeau, Chinese Shadows:  The Rabbit)

An evening’s entertainment by the light of a flame. (Via Wikimedia Commons, Ferdinand du Puigaudeau, Chinese Shadows: The Rabbit)

Stuck in your writing routine? Here’s some food for thought: the Smithsonian speculates on how the campfire entertainment of our ancestors may have direct influence on the way we entertain ourselves today.

The post links to an abstract that says, “Night talk plays an important role in evoking higher orders of theory of mind via the imagination . . . .”

October is a great time for stories, and the early nightfall gives you plenty of time to explore evening storytime. So, if you are a little stuck, turn out the lights, light a candle, and tell a story to yourself or a loved one. See what happens, and have your writing tools near to capture anything that appears out of the dark.