It’s good to be back

I’ve had three weeks off from opening the grid on Tuesdays. We had a wonderful guest editor, Deb Quinn, and then Erica M took over for me last week when I was still coming down from my blog conference high. 

Truth be told, I tried to write a post last week but had to send up a flare when it was headed badly off course. What I wanted to say was clear in my mind, but the stars and words weren’t aligning the way I needed them to. I was stuck and I knew exactly what was wrong:

My enormous mug of coffee was not directly to my right so I could grab a sip in between sentences.

The ritual of writing

My posts are written in my home office at generally the same time every Monday. My coffee is always right there when I need to contemplate my next thought. So when I was sitting on a bed in a hotel room in Atlanta last week, no coffee in sight, I couldn’t think straight. Nothing in the room felt right for writing and without the typical prompts and cues from my surroundings, and maybe with a little conference fatigue, I couldn’t get this post to sound like I wanted it to.

The whole thing reminded me of a lesson on rituals during a class I took last year. Basically, writer Bret Lott (whom I know nothing about other than his ritual) explained how he got up every day, had the same coffee in the same mug and wrote in the same place while listening to the same music until each book was finished. This ritual got him in the right position mentally and physically to accomplish his task. 

It didn’t occur to me until I couldn’t write last week’s post that I have rituals of my own. Without those mental triggers signaling it’s time to write, I had a hard time switching gears. Now, back in my little office, the story I wanted to tell you came together straight away.

So now that I’ve validated the theory, at least for myself, I encourage you to look at your routines. What do you think? Good advice or a bunch of hogwash?

Please consider donating to two charitable causes

Some of the charitable organizations and events yeah write has supported since its first challenge in 2011 at the request of our subscribers include charity water, Equality Now, BP MS 150, and Builders Beyond Borders. Please consider donating to one or each of the causes we’re promoting this month:

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Our newest perk package: The 2013 Best American Series

October means the publication of the latest The Best American Series, and for the next several months, our perk package awarded on the challenge grid will include three books from that series: Best American Short Stories, Best American Essays and Best American Non-Required Reading. Some of our editors will throw in their personal favorites, and we will occasionally offer our classic writing bundles featuring Stephen King and Anne Lamott. The perk packages are our way of saying thank you for being so faithful to the cause of promoting the good works of others while practicing the craft of writing for an online audience. There are so many other places you could be each week, and we thank you for sticking with us.

Odds, ends, reminders

  • This immediate past Sunday is the earliest your submission can be dated
  • Your post can be no longer than 600 words
  • Personal essays or traditional blog anecdotes only
  • There are no weekly prompts; the topic is yours. Be compelling
  • The grid is open from Tuesday at 12:01 a.m. to Wednesday at 11:59 p.m. 
  • There is voting. Voting will take place Thursday from midnight to 10:00 p.m. US eastern 
  • The challenge grid is limited to 50 bloggers
  • The winners’ post will be published by noon on Friday
  • No self-promotional posts are allowed on the yeah write grid, including those containing links to other blog events and Internet contests

Welcome to the 2013 fall writing season at yeah write weekly writing challenge

Yeah write #130 is open. Bring us your best stuff.