Thursday, July 16, 2009

That Ever-Elusive...

Often the timing isn't right. Maybe I'm standing over a skillet of gravy, and won't step away because biscuits and lumps do not go well together. We're two miles from church, two minutes before the service, and I really can't sneak my laptop into the sanctuary. Or my daughter promises this is her last yodel, and I want to give her the benefit of the doubt.

It is not meant to be.

But occasionally, everything works in my favor. I happen to be in the same room as my computer, trying to increase output on my WIP, and all factors align. I've harnessed the necessary discipline, nothing more pressing snatches my time, and I find it.

The Zone.

My fingers, linked directly to my whirring brain, turn nimble. My creativity is sharp, and it buzzes somewhere within my head. My characters speak; I transcribe. The next scene unfolds, and the words are in reach, ready to be picked and plucked. I step away for a moment, tend to a need, and fall back into place without losing momentum.

The Zone is mine.

(I wish I could own it regularly.)


Tell me about your zone.

31 comments:

Lori said...

For me those moments have become so rare! But I have some memory of them. What times!

Joanne said...

I love being in the zone, where it is so transporting that time stops. You look up at the clock and can't fathom how many hours have passed, when it feels like it's been only mere minutes. It's a great place to be!

Jessica said...

It's kind of like that. I get so absorbed, no interruptions, that an hour passes before I know it.

I LOVE the zone. :-) And yet, it's so elusive.

Melanie Avila said...

I had a brief flirtation with the Zone yesterday. When I'm trying to puzzle out a plot point, I'll lay face-down on my bed to think. Yesterday an entire scene started writing itself, so I grabbed a notebook and and wrote on my bed. A little while later I moved to the computer and knocked out a couple pages.

It's been so long since I've worked on this story that I didn't expect things to flow so quickly. Hopefully I can keep capturing that feeling.

LOL! WC: ching

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

I want to be in that zone all the time! It's so wonderful!

Melissa Marsh said...

Oh, how I love the zone. There's a great book called "Writing in Flow" that talks about being in "the zone."

Have to agree with Jessica - it IS elusive so much of the time, especially when you have children around. ;-)

Janna Qualman said...

Lori - I hope they'll be less a rarity when both my kids are in school. Maybe?

Joanne - And when there's so much to show for it!

Jessica - That's the bummer of the zone. :(

Melissa - I wonder if we all have a "brainstorming thing"? Mine is taking a shower.

Donna - Yeah, I wish that was something we could harness.

Melissa - I'll have to look into the book. Thanks for the recommendation!

JLC said...

*Sigh*

The summer schedule has completely disrupted my zone. I used to rely on nap time, but now they are no longer napping. When I wrote my first WIP I would wake at 4am and write until 6am. Then write again during nap time. (When they both slept!) But that also meant going to bed by 8pm and not seeing my husband until the weekend. Now I just write when I get the chance and unfortunately that means a few of my WIPs have grown cold. I won't toss them though. I may have time in the future. Perhaps for now, I should just edit what I have finished and stick to short stories and poems. Writing is great but for now, family is first.

Melanie Avila said...

The shower works well for me too.

Janna Qualman said...

JLC - And really, we shouldn't allow it to be any other way. Family is unending, and the little ones, well, they're only little once. Balancing it all so I don't have to give up my writing dream is hard, but I try to do my best on all fronts. When they're both in school full-time, it will be a different story. *mom high five*

Melanie - I think I need a shower now. *sniff sniff*

Jody Hedlund said...

Oh, I hear ya! I love it when I can get into the zone! But it doesn't happen very often. Most days it's a matter of putting my mind to the grind.

Terri Tiffany said...

Early in the morning after my husband goes somewhere. Then I zone out and love it.

Lazy Writer said...

It's been a while since I've been in the zone, but I love it when it happens. I'm thinking that when the kids go back to school, and my house is quiet again, maybe I'll find the zone again.

Nadine said...

Yay for the Zone!!

I had a moment in the zone yesterday while sitting in the lobby of a resort, waiting for the husband to finish his meeting. I brought my laptop and was able to get a lot done without any interruptions (no internet, etc). They they decided to powerwash the sidewalks... But it was good while it lasted!

Kara said...

The zone is a wonderful feeling, but I too very rarely get there:)

Janna Qualman said...

Jody - I'm learning that, too. If I put myself in a position for the zone (no distractions, a willing mind), I'm more likely to find it! It's still difficult when I'm also a SAHM, but I'm learning to tend to their needs and hit the WIP again, focus my thoughts to find the groove.

Terri - How great to have a "regular" schedule like that!

Lazy Writer - I think that definitely plays a role. And I feel the same in my household. 'Bout a month to go!

Nadine - Yay, you! Boo, them. ;)

Kara - Good to know we're not alone, isn't it?

Deb Shucka said...

Oh, the zone! It's what keeps me coming back during the times when everything feels hard and helpless.

Linda said...

Oh I love the zone. I found myself in it recently during our fourteen hour drive home from grandbaby-land. Thank goodness I had a pad of paper and pen in my purse!

Janet said...

Zone? There is a zone? Got a road map?

Janna Qualman said...

Deb - It's good to have, isn't it?

Linda - I hope you pulled over! ;) (I'm guilty of such things, too.)

Janet - Oh, yes. Oh, no.

Cindy said...

Oh, I LOVE the zone. When I get in the zone, thousands and thousands of words tumble out of me. I HATE to stop. I usually have to make myself because it's midnight or I haven't eaten all day :) Lately, the zone has been rare. I'm hoping for more zone time next week!

Angie Ledbetter said...

Oh that elusive zone!

thedomesticfringe said...

I hope you have lots of moments in "the zone" this week. It's funny how certain times just lend themselves to creativity. I wish we could just turn that part of our brain on automatically.

-FringeGirl

Amy said...

You've described it perfectly!! And when I'm in the zone, time flies!! I recall a time when I started into the zone around 9 a.m. and didn't look up at the clock until 12:30. What a great day! I agree w/Melanie Avila, also. I often get great ideas while showering. The title of my WIP popped into my head while in the shower. Who knows???

Janna Qualman said...

Cindy - Good luck!

Angie - Darn it all.

FG - I think I may be learning how to turn it on!

Amy - Maybe because the tasks we have in the shower are so mundane, it opens our mind to creativity? Or maybe the steam has something to do with it. ;)

Abe Lincoln said...

As I get older, "my zone," comes and goes like the flu. Sometimes it lasts a day or two but seldom three.

Pick a Peck of Pixels is my photo blog with a difference but not so much about writing -- I am hoping you are the difference. For this blog to be famous and me written about in the Wall Street Journal like I was in the seventies, will require more than a couple of dozen hits a day. If 10,000 visitors leave comments then it is instantly famous and your comments are part of history. Lets Make History.

Ladybird World Mother said...

The Zone and me havent met for a while... hoping we do soon!

Amy said...

Yes, the steam theory! Like opening an envelope that's not addressed to us! ;o)

lakeviewer said...

Hi, I came in from Womaninawindow, curious about the title of the blog. The zone you ask? It's when you and the task are one. When it happens, it is heavenly peace.

WendyCinNYC said...

Pass some of that zone over to me when you are finished. I can't seem to find mine lately.

Janna Qualman said...

Abe, that's a great analogy. And good luck with your project!

Ladybird - I bet you will. :)

Amy - LOL!

lakeviewer - I'm really glad you came by! :)

Wendy - I'll try to save some leftovers for ya.