Friday, July 25, 2008

In the Zone

You know how runners reach a runner's high after a certain amount of time? I truly believe writers do, too. It always takes me a while to get into my work. I hit the desk at nine every morning (except weekends), I spend about a half hour fighting the urge to alphabetize my books ro dust the 75 snowdomes I have or rearrange my files, then I usually walk up and down the stairs a few times of mindless and unnecessary errands, like checking to see if the stray cat came back to our porch (not that I could take him in--I'm violently allergic), then I sit down. It takes me about an hour, and then something happens, and I swear it feels like an altered state of consciousness. It's like God's reward for you actually sitting down and opening up veins so you can write.

It isn't that the prose is great or the story flowing. It's simply that I am int his whole other world and I don't want to be anywhere else.

I just wish there was a way to jumpstart it so it could happen instantly.


Clea Simon said...

I understand completely what you're talking about! It doesn't matter what time I get to my desk or how much else is going on, it still takes about an hour to settle down. By then, I've done laundry, checked the mail, talked to the cat, etc. But then - voila!

Of course, I've been so busy, I haven't had the freedom to do anything but stupid money work these last few weeks. But even though I CANNOT WAIT until i can give myself at least a half a day each day to write, I know that when I first sit down, I'll be going, "hmm.... I wonder what's on Galleycat?" first.

Good for you!

Kass said...

Caroline- you hit the nose right on the head. My problem is that Im not as disciplined as you and I dont take myself seriously yet- am I a writer? right(not) - that nasty girl in my head likes to tell me.

I am so good at procrastinating that I let it take over. But when I do allow myself to let go, I get in the zone and dont want to be interrupted . It is shiny new gift and I am in bliss.

So why do I torture myself and let myself have that feeling of failure by not doing what I really want to do so often?
Thanks for pointing it out in the way you did.It helps! Its just another reassuring tidbit from you!

David Gittlin said...

Hi Caroline:

Here is the conundrum.

Most writers are severely cracked in some way psychologically. It is this state of "crackedness" that provides a good deal of the motivation to write. But neurosis is hardly a prescription for happiness. So the question is: How can a writer increase his or her happiness quotient while still maintaining a prolific, compelling output.

I'm still working on the the answer to this Zen cohan. I promise to get back to you in the event of a breakthrough.

Your friend, student, and fan --

David Gittlin