In the Zone: Getting There, Staying There

Writers make excuses to keep from writing, but once they’re in “the zone,” they don’t want to stop. I think it’s something like jumping into the pool–you stand on the edge, knowing it’s going to be cold, but also fun and inviting. Once you take the plunge (or ease in an inch at a time), you don’t want to come out. The Zone’s like that too.
Writing Tip for Today: How can you get past that initial resistance to writing?

  • Before you write, secure the perimeter. This means turning off Facebook, the phone and if necessary, barricading the door. Writers with small children can get a sitter or write during nap time.
  • Reread the last scene you wrote, to help you become immersed in the story.
  • Visualize your character in a scene, in some sort of danger. It’s then up to you to “rescue” that character by writing him/her to safety.
  • Give yourself a ten minute warm-up in which you allow your character to “speak” to you, reigniting the passion you had when you invented that character.
  • Set a timer if you have kids to pick up, dinner in the oven or other errands. Once you are “in the Zone,” you don’t want to be interrupted.
  • While in the Zone, don’t stop to edit. Just get it down.

Try This! How do you when you’re “in the zone?”

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About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

2 comments on “In the Zone: Getting There, Staying There

  1. Your description is absolutely right on the money. I have found that when I really get in the zone, I forget to eat, drink, or even go to the bathroom. (And get very cranky when interrupted!) Conversely, I’ve also gone through the whole procrastination routine. I am currently finding the NaNoWriMo experience to be very helpful in teaching me to write in smaller chunks (1 – 2 hours) on a daily basis rather than wait for those long hauls.

  2. Writers also tend to be readers. Reading, for me, is escape into another existence.

    When I’m writing in the zone I’m in another time and place. Reality no longer exists- I create my immediate reality.

    I procrastinate getting starting, then, when I’m there, I procrastinate leaving.

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