It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Every month, the organisers announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. Remember, the question is optional!!!

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May 6 question – Do you have any rituals you use when you need help to get into the ZONE? Care to share?

The first thing I always do when I write the rough draft, is to go through the techniques we learnt in Tiffany Lawson Inman’s writing class, Method to Madness*, in 2012. I won a grand prize through commenting on a blog that year, and the prize was a writing workshop with Tiffany at the Lawson Writer’s Academy. As a trained actor, Tiffany applied the techniques actors used to relax and get into character as a way for writers to get into the zone and let the inspiration flow to write “Oscar-worthy” moments.

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Tiffany taught the workshop based on the principles she’d learned as a Method actor. She was inspiring. She told us Method acting helps actors tap into deep sensory memories and draw from actual life, bringing memories to life, and that a writer can use the same techniques to tap into their own memories and create more vivid fiction. We learnt to use relaxation techniques and exercise as the key ways to access our native creativity.

Tiffany set us a daily assignment of relaxation exercises we had to do before writing. We could not do the routine after a meal but on an empty stomach. We were to wear comfortable clothes and no heavy jewelry. We had to do the routine in a quiet, dim room with only natural light.

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Then we had to lie on the floor, not a bed or a couch, and breathe deeply. Slowly tense and release each muscle group of the body working from the toes to the head, holding each contraction for five seconds, mentally releasing the tension in each muscle group. We moved onto head rolls from side to side and consciously releasing each muscle group in the face by making funny faces, poking out the tongue, frowning and smiling and so on.

We returned to the deep breathing to a count of five or ten, on each out-breath letting out an AAH or an OOH sound. When standing up the body needed to be floppy, and we had to roll up the spine until the head came up last.

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The entire routine takes about twenty minutes.

“Tension is a creator’s worst enemy,” said Tiffany. “Can I persuade you that physical tension paralyzes our whole capacity for action, our dynamism, how muscular tension is connected to our minds,” said the acting teacher Konstantin Stanislavski.

The other part of the technique was to exercise daily. The combination of moving the body to get the blood flowing and then relaxing completely was the magic formula. It must work because it’s the one I still use today, eight years later. You know when something is a valuable tool and when a tip is worth keeping. These things helped me and still help me whenever I need to get into the zone to write.

I hope they help you, too. 

p.s. I highly recommend Lawson Writer’s Academy, the courses are short, high intensity and well priced.

*Copyright©2012 by Tiffany Lawson Inman, All Rights Reserved

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Keep Writing!

Yvette K. Carol

*

“An actor’s instrument is his whole self, it is his body, mind and being, complete with thoughts, emotions, sensitivity, imagination, honesty and awareness.” ~ E.D. Easty

Comments
  1. Matt Sweeney says:

    This sounds like an incredible experience! Never thought about applying any acting principles to writing. Thanks for sharing your story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      It was such a great idea, I thought Tiffany was really clever. It’s a good “tool” to have in your author’s kit.
      Cheers, thanks for the comment, Matt!

      Like

  2. emaginette says:

    I can see how that may work. Great post as always. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      You can see it, right? And you can take it further, to target specific scenes in your story. Once you’re loose and relaxed you can “visit” times in your life when you experienced the emotions your character is going through, then you write down all the reactions you remember, and that way you can write fresher emotional scenes.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Rebecca Douglass says:

    Interesting approach–i can see how the “method” approach would help get into our characters’ heads.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sarah Stroup says:

    Thanks for sharing these tips! I’m very out of practice tapping into my creative processes, and it was inspiring to read about this physical practice. I’ve had some experience with the performing arts, and some of the exercises sounded very familiar. I like the idea of connecting the writing practice to a physical practice.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Janet Crum says:

    I just finished my first Lawson Academy class–visceral responses with Margie Lawson. Great stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Beth McQueen says:

    That sounds like a really great approach to getting in touch with authentic emotions for fiction, and I’m sure the same would help me with my memoir writing. I do something similar with freewriting, where I try to quieten the conscious mind and take into the subconscious well of creativity.

    Like

  7. Thank you Yvette. I quite agree, having dabbled in theatre and choir singing. Easty’s quote certainly applies to writing too. Yoga and relaxation are for me paramount, not only to get into the zone but to maintain Mente Sana en Corpus Sano.
    Wishing you an inspiring month of writing.

    Liked by 1 person

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