Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Zone

Nothing frustrates me more than the inability to articulate what I mean, either verbally or, especially, with written words.

Actually, my metronome frustrates me more, since its entire function is to prove to me my rhythm for a particular piece sucks.

But I digress.

I'm not referring to the mistakes we make in conveying information by bad communication, assumptions, being argumentative, etc. I'm talking specifically about higher, more abstract concepts. Taking the abstract concept and distilling it into understanding nirvana is my job. It's what I do.

Yet, a writer yesterday asked me to explain how I dropped into my Zone, and I couldn't do it.

As writers, we all have The Zone, and The Zone is not the absence of writer's block. It's that extra special oomph of story telling goodness. That mental state we drop into where words flow from the brain to the fingers to the blinking cursor to the page. I've blogged about The Zone before (somewhere in the 350+ posts on this blog), and I believe other bloggers here also have talked about it.

The Zone is the apex of creative process. It is not getting published. It is not landing an agent. It is the visceral creation of the story in the swirl of literary talent. Everything pales besides it. I could have five dancing naked  baristas in front of me and I would, if still in The Zone, keep writing.

Okay, maybe four. Five and I might pause and ask for another espresso.

But I digress.

Why do I drop into The Zone?

I don't know. There is an aspect of "butt in the chair" and the wondrous serendipity of reading great books, but what if it's mainly something else? Like, eating sharp cheddar cheese before bedtime (not recommended, by the way). Or exercising? Would a good back scratch put me in The Zone more often?

Now there's a good idea, must experiment!

But I digress.

What about you? Do you have a Zone? Are you a Zone chaser? Or have you obtained the zen top-shelf of writing, and can slip into literary harmony at will?


  1. I was in the Zone today. I'm hoping I can figure out how to get back there again and again. It was such a great, productive place. *sigh*

  2. Mary, when you find out, let me know!

  3. I have a zone when I start a project and it's suddenly all I can think about for the next 4 months as I write the rough draft. It's a lovely feeling. :)

  4. Interesting post, but I wouldn't know what a zone is, though it sounds like a wonderful place to be in for a writer. However, once I start a piece of writing, I keep going, and there are spells, mostly brief, when it does feel as if the writing is more like a symphony rather than some mis-matched notes.


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