April 9, 2011

Second post: how I get into a writing zone

Here's the second post, coming not long after the first.  Maybe I'm just excited to have a pretty blog up that I can't stop thinking about it, right now.  I should probably be writing my book now, but writing something is better than nothing, right?

Anyway, for the past hour or so I've been in a really good writing zone, and I wanted to jot down my thoughts on how I got there.  The zone is actually somewhat elusive, I think, and while I wouldn't say I ever suffer from anything like "writer's block" (a made up phenomenon IMHO), I do suffer from "writer's procrastination" -- that is, coming onto my computer with the intention of writing, but getting sidetracked by the internet.

But it's more than just getting sidetracked.  Just like when you're reading a good book, and you really start to get into it, the hours can just fly by.  Your mind is swept away by images painted by your imagination of what you're reading, and you feel like you're actually there with the characters.  You feel like you're breathing, seeing, tasting, and experiencing everything with them side by side.  And it's moments like that when you don't want any interruptions.  In fact, if you're anything like me, you zone out of everything going on around you and your focus is entirely on the the book.

A writing zone is similar, in some ways.  I've noticed that my best and most productive writing comes when I enter a similar focused zone.  I picture the characters in my head, see them talking, see them interacting with one another, and see the world around them.  Except that it's different from when I'm reading, because there's so much going on in my head that I just can't get it all down quickly enough.  The writing zone comes in moments like that -- moments when my imagination is out-pacing my ability to get it all down.  But I'm focused only on the writing, and everything else becomes entirely peripheral.

The writing that occurs in this zone, though, is admittedly very rough.  I don't use punctuations, and sentences can drag on and on while I'm trying to just get everything on paper (or rather, on my computer screen).   Sometimes I write parts of dialogue over and over again just to pick out my favorite version later.  But as long as I'm focused, I just keep writing

Once it's done, and I have everything I wanted typed out, I can then go back and read it over.  Some parts make me cringe, while others pleasantly surprise me.  And during the re-read, I add in punctuation, fix spelling errors, etc -- basically, everything I can do when I'm not in a zone.

That's how my writing works.  Or rather, a part of my writing.  Sometimes I just sit down and force myself to write, but that's for another blog post.  The main thing to know, I think, is just how much I enjoy the process of writing fiction.  I love it more than anything, and wouldn't give it up for the world.

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