Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Zone

I whine a lot about writing. I talk about how hard it is. I talk about how difficult it is to plot a book, to come up with dialogue, to create characters. I whine. In all honesty, I whine in general, but I do whine about writing in specific pretty often.

Then I hit places like where I am today. I hit The Zone. The words are flying out of my fingertips. I know what the next scene should be before I finish the one I'm working on. I know goals, motivations and conflicts. I actually wrote in the car on the way to the Christmas Eve celebration at my boyfriend's mother's house and wrote again on the way home the next day. In the car! With kids horsing around in the back seat and my sweetie listening to that stupid dead cat song that he loves so much at Christmas time.

I don't know how to get here. I've tried a million ways to force it. I don't know how to stay here once I've gotten here. I will inevitably hit a rough patch and my production will slow and I'll get frustrated. Still, when I'm here in this Zone and I know my story and my characters and the obstacles they face . . . it's so good. I don't want to do anything, but ride the wave.

So, short post today 'cuz I'm riding it until I fall off!

11 comments:

Molly O'Keefe said...

I remember early in my career listening to I think it was Maggie Shayne talk about this hugely long elaborate process she went through to get herself ready for writing. There were candles, mental exercises - a staircase with different colored stairs and I remember thinking - nope! Not for me.

What a fool I was - I will do anything ANYTHING to get in The Zone! I will chant - meditate - I've started listening to the garbage my yoga teacher says at the end of the class about actualizing myself and finding my truth - instead of thinking about how to fix my book. Alas - as much as I think you can fake it - the real Zone - where it's working and working well - it's magic. Ride that wave Eileen!!!!

Eileen said...

Oh, Molly! You just made me snort chicken soup through my nose!

Maureen McGowan said...

Oh, enjoy the Zone. I love the Zone! I've heard creativity coaches (and that same Maggie Shayne talk) say that you can train yourself to get into it automatically... but I still think there's always a bit of magic. Maybe because I'm not disciplined enough to train myself to use all the tricks. Dunno. (But sounds like I should be going to yoga will Molly ;-)

Eileen said...

I've never been a fan of the chanting and the candles. If it would get me to the Zone, I might be willing to try it, though.

Can't I just do yoga with Molly and Maureen? Of course, I had a bad habit of either bursting into tears or falling asleep during that end part where you're supposed to find your truth and actualize yourself.

Great. Now I sound mentally unbalanced.

Alli said...

Oh, The Zone. What a lovely place to be. Eileen, enjoy the magic! I don't have any secrets for getting into that place, but it does tend to happen when I'm a little tired (ie brain dead). I don't know why, or how... I'm just grateful when it happens (which isn't as often as I'd like).
Here's hoping 2010 is full of many moments in The Zone for all of us!

Molly O'Keefe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sinead M said...

I so fondly remember the zone... miss the zone..

Does anyone else find Yoga mind numbingly boring. it's me, isn't, I'm too shallow and preoccupied to enjoy chanting.... I think I'd rather be running.

Chatty Girl said...

A Good post though!

Eileen said...

I think yoga is SUPPOSED to be mind-numbingly boring so you focus on each movement.

I know what you mean about running, though. When that's good, it's really good.

Allie said...

I totally understand that! I wish I knew the magic way to get to that place. Sometimes, if I exercise really hard (but not hard enough that I just want to collapse and take a nap) and listen to the exact right music and the planets are aligned just right . . .

Maureen McGowan said...

Unobtanium? Glad I was warned. That's crazy. Steph's right that it sounds like a placeholder and they forgot to fix it. Crazy. Clearly no one questions Cameron anymore.

Still, can't wait to see Avatar. I'm downstairs from the Varsity theatres right now (working on my revisions in Indigo)... and Avatar is playing, but in the dreaded cinema 8, which if anyone's from Toronto, or comes to the TIFF, you know it will not be the ideal place to see a 3D movie. Huge theatre, but not well banked, so problematic for short girls. I normally sit on the sides, so no one in front of me, but that might not be good for 3D... so thinking I'll see Nine, or Broken Embraces, or The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus or Young Victoria. Also want to see A Single Man, but that's at the Cumberland, so involves walking a block and it's freaking cold out there tonight....

Best get back to work. No movie for me, unless I reach the half-way point, at least.

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