Friday, September 21, 2012

In the Zone - with Meg Mims

TV jingles make me crazy, since I rarely watch the tube. But one inspired me to think of that sacred place a writer (hopefully) gets into when a work-in-progress is chugging along. Any interruption is met with dismay. Whether it's another let-the-dogs-out... let-the-dogs-in, telephone call, bathroom break, mealtime or when's-dinner type of interruption. So when I'm In The Zone -- The Writing Zone...

I want to keep writing. I don't want the TV on when I can listen to music or blessed silence. I don't want to hear barking dogs, the doorbell, the telephone. Even listening to the answering machine is a distraction. Call me crazy. But blame it on being In The Zone -- The Writing Zone.

Wild horses running... yep! That's being In The Zone -- The Writing Zone. You get excited, you write for the sheer joy of it. To get to the next page, the next scene, the next chapter. Pantsers are especially good at this. But Plotters can get Into The Zone too! Just follow the outline, and if you get a little off-track, you can get back on without a problem -- unless it's a "happy accident" as Bob Ross used to say.

Thankfully the dogs and I time ourselves for bathroom/outdoor breaks. I grit my teeth when the phone rings, and I've been known to turn it off. I can't prevent the dogs from barking at neighborhood cars, walkers, Mr. Brown delivering UPS packages anywhere on my street, or the mailman (they particularly dislike anyone daring to come so close to the door.) As for meals - I have breakfast, quickly check my mail and approve Triberr posts (trying to avoid Facebook and Twitter), write, then "take a lunch" and get back to writing afterward. Dinner is either something fast, something left-over or something take-out.

Hey. I'm In The Zone -- The Writing Zone! But derailment happens.

When it does, I get cranky. Even routine planned-ahead stuff can derail The Writing Zone. Whether it's a doctor's appointment, a lunch day with friends, an evening meeting, a weekend event... augh! It's enough to seriously get you out of The Zone. What can you do to get back in, to refresh those juices?

I'm writing this blog post now to get myself back Into The Zone after an event across the state. It was fun, great meeting fellow authors, but that little devil whispered in my ear...  "if only you'd stayed home -- you'd be fifty pages ahead!" I try to ignore it. I did find it worthwhile talking with the other writers and meeting new readers. Gone are the days when writers were in their caves hibernating and The Editors were the contact people. You gotta meet-greet these days, in conferences, workshops, school appearances, book clubs, or checking Facebook or Twitter, updating your website. It all takes time. Precious writing time. But the overall goal? To make it to the end.

So what can you do?

Courtesy of

Schedule that PRECIOUS writing time, like the spurts between the Pony Express stations over a hundred years ago. Check your schedule. Block out several days -- or one day. Or a weekend spurts, or evening spurts, or two-three hour morning spurts. Whatever works for you.

And then get yourself In The Zone -- The Writing Zone.

...Meg Mims is In The Zone, at work on the sequel to her Spur-Award winning book, Double Crossing. Check out her website for updates on The Double Series and her WIP, Double or Nothing.


Rachelle Ayala said...

Hi Meg, I love the zone. I call it a sprint. I can never time when it happens, but when it does, I'm typing at my 100 word a minute speed and dashing off 3000-5000 words without stopping. Yes, I'm a panster and I should probably set aside a time. But when you get into it, the words just flow. It's like surfers when they're in the tube without the crash.

Meg said...

WOW!! Fabulous word count, and I love the surfer image. YES!! It's exactly like that. I'm fighting a cold, so my word count now is pitiful to non-existent. But I gotta get back in the Zone! soon.

Lyn Horner said...

Hi Meg, sorry I didn't get here sooner. Great blog! If I'm in the zone and something, or someone, interrupts me, I tend to let my inner witch come out. This week I'm involved with a group garage sale for charity. It's a good cause, but I really hate the distraction. Cant wait til it's over with.

Jacquie Rogers said...

Zone? There's a zone? I used to have a zone but no more. Would sure love to get back there.