Welcome y’all! It’s the first Wednesday of the month so that means today you not only get to hear from me, but you have the chance to hop around and visit with nearly two-hundred other, at times insecure, writers through the ISWG hop along. Thank you to Feather Stone, Beverly Stowe McClure, Mary Aalgaard, Kim Lajevardi, and Chemist Ken! They’re our hosts this month and they’re much appreciated.
So, let’s get to it! This month’s topic of discussion is: rituals I might use to help me get into the zone.
I believe it was in the group I co-manage with a few other writers, Sweet Tea Mafia, where one of the readers asked me a similar question just a few days ago. I believe my answer was something akin to, I was born in the zone. And I honestly was. I think any writer who’s a writer truly through and through, like it owns their heart and soul, was born to this. That’s not to say writers can’t be made. I’m just of the mind that some are born in the zone. Others stumble over it at some point and figure out how to work it. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all stay there perpetually though?
I don’t really believe in “writer’s block.” That to me kind of denotes that a writer can’t write at all and to be honest I believe writing is so much more than the writing. Writing is coming up with ideas, character building, building one’s platform, blogging, doodling, pulling over to the side of the road to jot down some notes so as not to have an accident in a moment of brilliance, waking up in the middle of the night and writing a bit of dialogue on a tissue with a crayon…the list goes on and on. There is no formula. There is no set way of doing it. There isn’t a rule book. For me, as long as I’m doing something to further the writing, even if it’s not making three-thousand words a day, I’m writing and not suffering from a block. Yes, writing is so much more than the writing.
That being said, I do believe in “the zone.” There’s a special place a writer falls into, sometimes deeply, where magic happens. That place is where all the other parts of the writing fall away and there’s just the words. The words come by the thousands and seem to flow like a gushing stream. There are days that place is elusive. There are times one just doesn’t feel like sitting at the desk staring at the blank page when just outside the window the sun is shining and beckoning one out for a walk along the greenway. And that’s just one place I turn to for help getting back in, and staying in, the zone.
When I’m just not feeling it, or I’m a bit at a standstill on a scene, or a character has me befuddled, a nice long walk usually helps. Whether that be on one of the greenways or on my tread mill, makes no difference. If my feet are in motion and I have my earbuds in blaring whatever music fits the setting and mood of the story I’m knee-deep in, my mind is in motion. That’s most often where and when my characters come out of their funk and start walking alongside me, explaining what it is that needs to happen next. And, tugging me back into the zone. I’ve written, at least in my head, entire chapters on a nice long walk then hurried to the car for a pad and pen or hurried to the desk and made words appear as quickly as I could.
For me, the music is as important as putting my feet in motion. It seems it’s a distraction of sorts. While the contrary part of my brain is engaged in lyrics and rhythms, the other parts who want to make words as badly as I do are freed up to romp and play. What is it they say? Out of chaos comes order? It’s as if I need too much going on to be able to focus. Music provides some degree of chaos and out of that comes some degree of order. It might seem counterproductive, but for me it works.
If you’re a writer coming by today, what are your tricks of the trade? Readers, can you detect when a writer has written from “the zone” and when they’ve had to force it?
Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to jump over to IWSG for a complete list of participating writers and visit around.