What’s your experience of being in “the writing zone?” Becca asked in
I have a picture of my brain as a colorful space designed my M.C. Escher. There are different compartments in this space for different types of storage. There are little drawers that have round ivory knobs used to pull the drawer open. There are shallow, open trays, lined with paisley in blues and greens. There are vertical areas with gold hooks. Some areas are dusty because I don’t go there often. Secret areas with little, verdigris crusted locks on the hasp, can only be reached by lifting the floor of another area and walking down steps that go up the other side and end up in a different place.
When I am not concentrating on something else, I am writing in my head. What is that called? Daydreaming, living in a fantasy world, escapism? None of those indicate a physical accomplishment, nothing is acquired, nothing is implemented. This is not a respectable thing to be doing, in accordance to the rules of my hard working, German upbringing. I have overcome the guilt of that, however. Writing in my head is as important as sitting at a table and physically writing. If I didn’t take any of that purely mental zone work and do something with it, I would be living in my daydreams. That is not the case. This daydreaming is the fodder for my writing. I can remember what I write in my head, or at least the gist of it, when I am in a physical writing spot. I can remember the conversations I have overheard between my characters. I remember the scenes, the emotions, the smells, the sounds.
My writing zone has different levels, and exists in those various compartments in my brain, depending on what I am writing. When I am in that area with open trays, I am in a very conscious writing zone, where I am planning and using some kind of background information or research. Even when I am there, writing, my subconscious lifts a corner of the tray and unlocks the secret area hidden underneath. My subconscious takes stuff from that hidden, velvet lined space, and adds it to what I am working on. So even when I am consciously not in a deeper zone, my subconscious is. This is very mysterious to me, and I don’t question it or try to control it.
When I work out of one of those drawers with the little ivory knobs I have to pull open, I am truly in what most people would call “the zone.” The zone that is “an elevated mental state of performance.” I can be anywhere and write then, without being distracted. It is a conscious level somewhere between those secret places down the hidden steps, and the wide-open flat places that are totally in view. So I can walk the dog and be in that zone, writing in my mind. I can be at the coffee shop with music, talking, laughing, the coffee roaster clacking in the background, and I don’t hear a thing outside of my thought process.
All of the levels of the zone are fun places to be. I think that is the bottom line for me: I love to write, so all parts of the process and all levels of focus, drawing from conscious and subconscious, are good.
Who knows what Terra thinks about in her zone. Bunnies? Squirrels? Cookies?