Get into the Zone and Write!

Get into the Zone and Write!Sometimes the hardest thing about writing is the act of sitting down and getting the work done. Many writers have rituals that they use to get in the right frame of mind to produce material. Mine – which I admit is odd – is to eat a giant bowl of cereal, then put the bowl down next to my computer and start writing. My cereal of choice is Trader Joe’s Multigrain O’s. Why that works I have no idea, but it does, so I don’t question it (I just had a bowl before writing this post, in fact).

A friend of mine draws sketches of the characters that he’s about to write about. He’s no artist, so the sketches aren’t particularly good, but the practice jumpstarts his thinking about the project at hand.

Another writing acquaintance roughs out the scene she’s about to write in movie script format. Then she rewrites the scene as prose, using the script as a model.

I’m not sure how or why these things are effective, but what’s important is that the three of us have found something that gets us into the writing “zone.” You know what the zone is, right? Athletes refer to it all the time. It’s when you stop thinking about what needs to be done and just let your body and mind start doing it. And like athletes, artists and writers can achieve the same mental state. When you lose yourself in the act and look up two hours later to realize you’ve written 10 pages – that’s the zone.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi wrote about this experience to great effect in his classic book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. Susan Perry followed up on Csikszentmihalyi’s work with her own Writing in Flow: Keys to Enhanced Creativity, which examined the flow experience from an angle of particular interest to you and me. Though it’s out of print, it’s a fascinating read and I recommend checking it out. Once you understand how flow works, you can more easily get into that zone we so often struggle to find.


What are some of the writing practices that get you into “the zone?”
Let us know by responding below.

 
Takeaway Tweets

Many writers have rituals that they use to get in the right frame of mind to produce material. Tweet This

Stop thinking about what needs to be done and just let your body and mind start doing it. Tweet This

When you lose yourself in the act and look up two hours later to realize you’ve written 10 pages — that’s the zone. Tweet This