How to Write, AKA Showing Up (IWSG June)

Welcome to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. On the first Wednesday of each month, we blog about writing to encourage other writers out there. The IWSG is all about connecting, sharing, and ‘rocking the neurotic writing world’. 

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!


Hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the awesome co-hosts for the June 1st posting of the IWSG are SE White, Cathrina Constantine, Natalie Aguire, Joylene Nowell Butler, and Jacqui Murray!

Insecure Writer’s Support Group Logo
IWSG blog hop logo

This month, we are exploring the following question:

When the going gets tough writing the story, how do you keep yourself writing to the end? If you have not started the writing yet, why do you think that is and what do you think could help you find your groove and start?

Here’s the thing: there’s no right answer, no right way to start or keep on track, to reach that end point. Except for this wonderful and oft-quoted advice:

Bums on seats, friends.
You have to show up.

That’s how the story gets written.

Person in a green jumper on a high tree platform that surrounds the trunk and has wooden ladder leading up to it. Landscape visible below.
I think I’d quite like this for an office one day…
Photo by Samuel Theo Manat Silitonga on

If you’re inspired, you’re ready, you’ve got a looming deadline and you Show Up – great!

But what if you’re still having trouble starting? (And don’t worry, I get it!)

I suggest three things:

  • Ritual
  • Routine
  • Rhythm


Mine is a cup of tea (or coffee, or wine, depending on the mood), a comfortable seating posture (but not too comfy), and quiet. Or the ability to ignore all other sounds, which is actually quite easy for me sometimes with my ADHD-level hyperfocus.

Here, 13 Australian authors shared their writing rituals. Some of them are familiar, some very specific to the author. Though of all the rituals I’ve read about, I wish I could rent a hotel room in which to write like Maya Angelou used to.

A light and airy ‘hotel room’… A good place to write…
Photo by Ivan Samkov on


Like I said, pants on chair.

The extraordinary Ursula K. Le Guin had a consistent ritual:

5:30am - wake up and lie there and think
6:15am - get up and eat breakfast (lots)
7:15am - get to work writing, writing, writing.
Noon - lunch.
1-3pm reading, music.
3-5pm - correspondence, maybe house cleaning.
5-8pm - make dinner and eat it. 
After 8pm - I tend to be very stupid and we won't talk about this.
Image from Ursula K. Le Guin’s Daily Routine: The Discipline That Fueled Her Imagination

I’m not sure I could stick to that, but that’s okay. Everyone needs to find their own routine.

open laptop with blank white screen, person's hand touching a white analog alarm clock in front of the laptop on the desk
I’m not a morning person…
Photo by Monstera on


Perhaps you’re finding it hard to just start and not procrastinate online. An author in a workshop I attending once gave us advice for starting off a writing session: do anything that involves words. Write an email. Compose a love letter. Or a shopping list. Read something (short). Play a word game. Get the brain firing, and within a few minutes you’ll be ready to continue with your current project.

I like to get into the writing rhythm by writing flash or micro fiction, particularly to prompts. Small stories that may become something more, or may not, without a driving need behind them other than to get my imagination working. (Because sometimes coffee does not do enough.)

hand with black-painted fingernails holding a mug with Be Happy on it and a pen in the other hand, looks like they are writing on a lined notepad. Desk and black jumper also visible.
Mmmm… coffee.
Photo by Lisa Fotios on

And if you get stuck?

Take Neil Gaiman’s advice: “I always like to have another story, another introduction, another work, and I’ll just go and work on that, while somewhere in the back of my mind I’m churning over why I’m stuck and what went wrong and figuring out how to go forward.”

How do you approach your writing? Do you have specific routines, rituals, or methods to get into the rhythm? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.

Do check out what other IWSG members have to say this month. Check out this link to our Blog Hop!

Have a great June, IWSGers. See you next month. 🙂


My fourth story in a month is published today: Sìth in Drabbledark II! Check it out if you’re interested in dark speculative drabbles. Or see my previous posts for information on Weathering (Where the Weird Things Are anthology), In the Riverlands, Drowning (Etherea Magazine), and A Mother’s Love (Fables for the Dying). Happy reading!

8 thoughts on “How to Write, AKA Showing Up (IWSG June)

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