I’ve been working hard on finishing up my next book (currently titled Courting Innocence.) I’m cleaning up chapters, tying up loose ends, and rewriting scenes that don’t quite work. I am in The Zone.
It’s a wonderful and horrible place to be. It might be hard for non-writers to understand (and some writers might not agree), but I have to be in a certain head space for this to happen. It’s truly a mental and physical experience. I can actually feel when I’m there. I can write around the space. I know the plot and the technical aspects of the story. I can write some cool characters and some really hot sex. Yet writing in The Zone is entirely different.
Everything else goes away. I’m very aware of the passage of time, but it goes too fast. I’m one with the characters, and the words flow. I sit in front of the keyboard for hours. I ignore the phone. The house doesn’t get cleaned. Meals are whatever I can grab fast. Family knows not to disturb. Sleep is shorter. I am mentally checked out and in another world. In this state, I can crank out an immense number of words — and they’re usually keepers. But when I come up for air or drink or food, it’s like trudging through sludge, trying to come back to reality.
So why don’t I always write in The Zone? Because as difficult it is to leave it, it’s even harder to get there. My mind resists, and so does my body. It doesn’t like the ache in my back from sitting in a chair. My mind resists being pulled away from so many other interesting things. What helps push me past all this and get into the groove? Pressure. I wish I could turn it on and off with a snap of my fingers, but I can’t.
So yes, I do have different places I go inside my head. No, I don’t have mental problems, I’m a writer.
Do any of you do that? Do you have a job or hobby or talent that you can become engrossed in? What does it feel like for you?