Dashing Words and Foggy Fogs

by Neeks

Someone said that if you want to be a writer, all you have to do is write.  I can agree with that – but like many I’ve found that it isn’t always possible to pick up a pen and start dashing words across the page in wild abandon.  For most of us it takes a little more than that.

There is a special place where we do our writing.  I’m not talking about the library, the breakfast nook or the neighborhood Starbucks.  I’m talking about the zone.  That place in your mind where words roam freely and ideas flow like the Amazon River.  It’s a mood as much as a feeling, when a writer finally forgets about the house payment, the bills and that yappy dog next door.  It’s the place where your mystery novel finally starts to make sense.  A cool plot twist reveals itself to you, and you spend the next three hours detailing how the intrepid detective is going to catch the bad guy because he forgot to wipe his fingerprints off the rear view mirror of the car before he dumped it in the lake.

It’s the place that gives you the words to describe with perfect clarity what the fog looks like rolling through the forest that backs up the seaside cliffs outside of Gold Beach, Oregon.  The fog that is so heavy at times you can feel the water in the air as it beads up on your skin and obscures your glasses.  We’ve all been there: in the zone, on a roll, call it what you will.  Just as important, we’ve all read authors that do a particularly good job of taking us there.  Getting into that zone isn’t always easy.  Certain conditions have to be met first.

Me?  I have to make sure the kitchen is clean, that I have walked the dog and that I have a glass of tea next to me.  Oh and I always run to the bathroom before I start.  TMI?  Sorry about that!  As hard as it can be to get there, I don’t want any distractions to take me out of my 8 1/2 X 11 inch world where everything is flowing.  I know how I get there.  The only question on my mind is this:

How do you get to the place where the words are?

13 Comments to “Dashing Words and Foggy Fogs”

  1. What a wonderful Limebird debut Limebirdneeks! Thank you so much for sharing your experiences when writing as it’s always great to know how other writers get in the zone.

    For me it completely depends on what I’m writing. I’m a Copywriter during the day and to do that type of technical writing I have to be in a certain frame of mind. A lot of the time, I can’t actually listen to music otherwise it distracts me.

    However, when I’m writing fiction, it’s a completely different story! I love listening to music while writing and I can’t actually seem to write my novel without two particular albums – Florence and the Machine and Birdy (I think I mentioned this in a previous post!) I’m the same as you, I have to have eaten, have a drink next to me (and have gone to the loo as well!). I also need to be comfortable and not too many distractions around me.

    I am definitely easily distracted so I need to have the TV off and nothing around. Although it takes me a while to get into it, once I start writing I tend to be able to just keep on writing. I tend to just let whatever flow out what wants to flow out like a stream of consciousness. Then, I go back and edit afterwards.

    I’m looking forward to hearing how other writers get to their writing zone!

    • Thank you for your kind words Beth, and I’m easily distracted too, on the way in. I don’t usually have music playing. After I’m IN the zone, you could turn on the tv, the radio and march a band through here and I’m not likely to care.

      Once I’ve achieved that state it is more interesting than anything else around (unless fire is involved) so I can look up – oh yes dear, that’s nice – then go right back and pick up where I was. Hehehe.

  2. For me, I need to be in an atmosphere that has a good vibe. For example, I am currently writing my NaNo novel in an attic in a house in Spain. I absolutely LOVE the vibe – no distractions, no interruptions, and the view is incredible. It is a sense of comfort and for me, being comfortable as I write is very important.

    I also need a glass of tea, some dark chocolate and a cigarette break every now and then. Those breaks are more than just to get my nicotine fix, they also help me to mentally go over what I had just written and what needs to be written before I complete the day’s writing.

    Oh, and I also need my motivation quote, which I have as my desktop background – “You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.” ~ Jack London.

    Great post Limebirds! 🙂

  3. What a lovely post! I was just thinking to myself that after a long slog, I have finally reached the ZONE. I am about to make that final push which I hope would send me hurtling towards the end of my novel, and after two years of sweat, this is a very, very exciting time.

    I admit to not having any special foods or ritual. The only thing I ask is that there must be complete silence, and my fingers are not too cold to write. Sometimes I hug the laptop to warm my hands- it’s okay, we’re quite close and ‘he’ doesn’t mind me getting touchy feely 😉

    • I love being in the zone, you know you’re in the zone, and you feel bulletproof and you just know you can write forever! Where do you write that you have to worry so often about cold fingers? Good trick about holding the laptop though, it does get very warm doesn’t it? My fingers get cold sometimes due to bad circulation.

      • I live in ‘sunny’ Scotland 😉 There might be four seasons here, but the running joke is that there’s actually two – Cold and Wintry Cold ;>

        I’m sure the locals are used to it, but I come from a country where the average temperature was 27 degree C 😉

  4. You definitely speak the truth! I’ve learned too that you just can’t think too much about it, at least that is how it is for me. Last year’s NaNo novel, I had no idea what I was going to even write about until I sat down, shut out everything in my brain, and just let all this randomness in my mind come together out of nowhere.

    Not sure if anyone is a Stephen King fan, but I love his book “On Writing”. It’s an interesting look at his system – and not to mention all the insanity he has been through in his life. He says he writes a certain number of hours a day, at the same time, in the same place. He says he feels it shouldn’t take more than a season (3 months) to knock out a novel, and then to walk away from it for several months before going back to it to read and edit. I’m curious if he actually penned his extremely large ones in 3 months (The Stand, Under the Dome… over 1000 pages each!) I’m no actually an organized person by any means, and that goes for writing too. I can’t, or at least I haven’t, been able to pin myself down at one certain time of the day, every single day.

  5. Wow Laura, I LOVED that book! I’ve bought it twice, loaned it out to people and have never gotten it back. I will have to buy a third one now, and will not loan it out!
    I’ve been a Stephen King fan all my life, and the chance to see how he does what he does was great. The tips and resources he offered were invaluable. I found the whole book very inspirational and wanted to get started writing even as I was reading it.

    • I love it so much! I’ve read it twice now, and go back from time to time to re-read sections. I think I annoy my husband sometimes because I’m always saying “Stephen King says to do do this… Stephen King says to do that..” hehe, hey he’s the master I say whatever he does sure seems to work!

  6. Great post, Neeks!

    My zone is early morning before my day boggles my mind and exhausts me. I don’t necessarily need peace and quiet, but I do need to be uninterrupted. I have gone hours without eating because I didn’t want to step out of “the zone.” So, I know what you mean by having to get tasks out of the way (like putting the dog out and getting her back inside) before I walk into my nether world.

    If I ever feel the need to write in the middle of the day, then I take the phone off the hook, log out of all modes of social media, give the dog a marrow bone, and go hang out with gamblers, football players, and strippers.

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