It’s wonderful when the magic happens. You’re lost in your writing. Your fingers fly over the keyboard as your creative forces flow, driving the story forward. Description, action and dialogue fall into place as if they were happening in real life. distractions fall away as if the real world didn’t exist. You’re on fire. You’re in the zone.
Notice that I wrote the previous paragraph in second person. Maybe because, for me, writing in the zone happens less and less frequently these days. Recently I heard something that might explain this. A new brain study has shown that as people age their ability to filter out distractions and focus on one thing lessens. In other words, those of us who are “over the hill” are paying attention to so many things at once that it’s easy to lose track of what’s important. Makes perfect sense to me (Excuse me, the UPS truck just stopped by, left me some cute new shoes and a sweater, just had to open the box and try them on.).
Now let’s see, where was I…? Oh, yes, distractions. In my early writing days when I was dealing with a full time job, children at home and a floundering marriage, writing was a welcome escape. Going into that other world was often the best part of my day. Now that I’m retired and live alone, distractions are like seductive sirens (My 20-pound kitty boy just stretched out across my wrists; time out to love him for a minute). Still, every now and again I hit that zone and it’s exhilarating. Just wish I could do it more often.
Getting in the zone is easier with other things. When I’m in my yoga class, the workout is so intense that I don’t think about anything else. Or when I’m doing a presentation for the local zoo, showing an animal to a classroom of wide-eyes kids, I’m totally there. Likewise when I’m dancing or reading a really good book. But after 31 books, writing just gets harder (Hey, is that a rosy finch on my feeder? Where’s my bird book?). At the climax of the recent election I just had to give up. All I could do was stare at the TV.
How about you? For those of you who write, is the zone an easy place for you to get to? Do you have any tricks for getting there? Things that distract you? What other activities put you in that magical zone where the world goes away and you’re totally in the moment? I’d love to hear.
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