Writing in the Zone

For me, writing is a ‘Zen’ kind of thing. It’s almost a form of meditation. If I’m able to get into the zone, the words flow. When the creative juices are sloshing around in my head, the story takes over and all else shuts down – the story almost writes itself.

If not in this zone, my writing sucks. Or worse than that, I don’t write. When I’m creating a new story, if my mind wanders to other things – the day’s events, problems, work, etc. – then my writing becomes stilted or boring. If I were the reader of these poorly written words, I would put down the story and not bother to finish it.

Other activities in my life have that same meditating effect as writing in the zone. Gardening washes all small talk out of my brain. Painting quiets the mind chatter. Painting pictures is what I mean, but routine tasks like painting walls can do the same. I think for some of my friends, house cleaning accomplishes this quieting effect. I know several women (and a couple of men) who clean like crazy when they are stressed. This doesn’t work for me. Probably because my mind is moaning and groaning about doing a job that I don’t like.

I haven’t flown (piloted) a plane in several years, but this was a task that pushed out all other thought. Flying a small plane takes total concentration in order to keep track of all that is happening. Maybe this was because I didn’t fly often enough for it to become routine.

I know that driving a car is so habitual that my mind wanders to all sorts of other places. I’ve even been known to write haiku in my mind as I drive. This is probably not the best way to drive. I should be paying close attention to everything that is happening on the road. Yet, at some level my mind is totally aware of the road, the car, and all the drivers around me, even though my talkative mind is very busy with non-driving related thoughts. I haven’t had an accident from lack of attention since I was sixteen or seventeen and still a novice.

The above random thinking is what happens when I’m not writing in the zone. Sorry if I’ve bored you today.

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