Saturday, August 28, 2010

In the Zone

Yesterday at one or my writing groups we got into "the zone".  The group focused on one of the readings and group think occurred- everyone had an idea, an opinion, a continuation of what had already been said.  Social rules, group etiquette, and boundaries were all forgotten.  WE had the solution, and by gosh (for those other athiestists among us), we were going to be creative.  We were in the collective zone.

Centuries ago Lao Tse taught of the Tao- the zone, the balance.  You can't define it- if you do it's not the Tao.

When I first start to write, I create crap, as my mentor would say, with the idea of going back and fixing it in the re-write process.  As the crap flows I eventually get into my zone, my Tao, as the energy overtakes me.  My mind goes to a place I can't describe and the words, the story, the emotions, the characters all take over.  The story flows from this point.  OK, OK- still crap, but creative crap.

It might be minutes, it might be hours before I arrive.  But when I'm there I know it, and nothing stands in the way.  Energy flows from this Tao and the creative process happens.

I feel the pull to the Tao and plan a getaway next week to find my zone, get my butt in chair, and words on paper.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Books on tape all night long

I've recently stuck buds in my ears and turned on my WMA player to listen to books on tape. I now do this all night long.

I fall asleep easily, I don't hear my obnoxious cat yeowling for food at midnight, and over several nights I "read" a book.

As a writer I've discovered two things with this technique:

1. I listen a while, sleep a couple hours, wake up and listen to more of the story, then sleep some more. Even though I miss a section, it doesn't seem to matter- I still get the plot, just missed the details along the way.

2. Lee Child, who writes the Jack Reacher series, tags every person who speaks every time they speak. When I read his novels I am not aware of the tags. When I listen to the narrator say, "said Reacher, he said, she said, etc." with each line of dialogue, I am painfully aware of them.

So? How does this make me a better writer? Who knows, but knowledge is power.