in the zone

I’ve been on a roll lately with the new book. It is like it was all just waiting for the right moment and now it’s spilling out of me. There is no better feeling for a writer, I think. It is strange for me, how I can go from weeks of writing nothing at all to suddenly finding I can’t stop. I don’t know where that switch is in my head to turn it on and off. I’m not complaining, mind you, I’m just curious. Did I see or hear or read something that triggered this avalanche? Was I bored enough with what I’d been doing in my life that this pushed to the forefront? Had little ideas and plot lines and characterizations percolated enough until they finally boiled over? I just don’t know. But I am grateful.

This is me when the writing is going well: First, I want to talk about it to everyone. I want to tell them I’m writing and how well it’s going. I want to tell them the story – except I can’t. I can’t tell the story because the story keeps changing and surprising me. And it feels like I will jinx it if I tell the story. So I just repeatedly announce that I’m writing and it’s going well. I have long-suffering friends.

Second, my schedule goes out the window. Some days, like today, I am up at 5:30 a.m. bursting with energy to get down to it, drinking coffee and listening to some bracing classical music to start my brain thinking. I won’t stay with the classical music but I do find it wakes me up. Other days I will have stayed up all night and so am only just getting to sleep at 6:00 a.m. Those are the nights when I decided to re-read what I’d written that day and then start tweaking it and before you know it I’m 5 hours into a new section.

Third, if my budget would allow it I’d order food delivered all the time. I can’t afford to do that, so my eating is erratic. I wander into my kitchen like some starving hunter-gatherer, opening cabinet doors and peering into the refrigerator as if some kind of good food will magically appear. It is usually at this point that I stop and say, “Whoa” and realize I have to pay attention to real life and not stay in the writing zone to the point of neglecting taking care of myself.

The most descriptive word to describe me when I’m really into the writing is happy. I may get frustrated and crazed, I may get manic and sleep-deprived, but underneath it all I’m happy. Because the words are there, the story is ready to be told, and I’m in the zone.

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