getting in the zone

Write On Wednesday: Happy Zone

Late yesterday afternoon my husband had an unexpected problem arise at work, one that required him to drop everything he was doing and switch gears. He was working from home already, in his office in our basement. I got home myself about 4:00, and went down to check on him. He was just getting started to work on this project, so I came back upstairs and closed the door so it would be quiet.

At 6:00, which is our usual dinner time, I went back to check on him again. Both dogs were down there with him, quietly sleeping in their little beds under his desk. His computer was humming along, his drawings were spread out around him, he was barely aware of my presence. 


Write on Wednesday - The Click

She’d been working so hard all year, why shouldn’t it have arrived around then: that “click” when it feels as if a previously locked door has opened and words and sentences suddenly seem to exist in a new dimension located somewhere between your brain and the screen or page, leading you through an infinite house whose rooms have strange geometric shapes you’ve never seen before, yet you always somehow know where you are.  ~ from Say Her Name, by Francisco Goldman

Athletes call it "the zone," musicians call it "the sweet spot," and Francisco Goldman calls it "the click." Whatever term you use, you probably know what it means - that moment when everything works perfectly, you become suspended in some alternative universe where only you and whatever you're doing exist, and time seems to stand still.

Whether you write, play music, paint, dance, golf, swim, run - there's a "clicking point" when your body, mind, and spirit are in perfect harmony and you just can't do it wrong.

Getting there - now that's the trickier part. For me, the hardest part is just getting started.  I was reminded of this during the past few weeks of my online writing workshop.  We had new assignments each week, and, in typical Becca fashion, I'd procrastinate until the very last minute.  Coming up with ideas wasn't really a problem, but even when I had a good idea I'd put off sitting down at my computer and starting to write.

What's that all about, anyway? I discovered my reluctance to get started was partly related to fear.  What if I took my very good idea, starting writing, and then got completely stuck? Or if I couldn't express what I wanted to say? What if I wasted that wonderful idea with my incompetence?

That happened sometimes, and when it did it was hellishly frustrating.  I wanted to reach inside my brain and drag those perfect sentences kicking and screaming from wherever they were hiding and lay them out on the page. But other times, once I convinced myself to start writing, I was fine, and the words flowed fairly easily and fluently. On a few occasions, I actually "clicked" with my subject matter, and, not surprisingly, those were the pieces that turned out to be the most interesting and emotionally rewarding.

Maybe I need to come up with some sort of fear-reducing ritual...jumping up and down 10 times, or throwing salt over my shoulder, or burning incense.  Maybe a good stiff drink, á la Ernest Hemingway.  Whatever it takes, there's no way to click with writing unless you're actually writing.

You just gotta do it.