Friday, February 09, 2007


This is the best response I received to the article about being "In the Zone" as a writer. The correspondent is a grade 10 student:

National Novel Writing Month -is- my zone. Most of the time I just noodle around, getting nothing much accomplished, but in the thirty day span of time where words and espresso are the entire universe to me, that's when the ideas come rushing up to me faster than my fingers can hit the keyboard. Then again, the zone can be a bit odd for me... I'll find myself writing about a suicidal albatross and making fallen stars into wine. It's a lot like a whacked out, semi-lucid dream, writing in the zone.
After it's over, you look up and go, "What in the name of Bluebeard's ribbons did I just write?"

The second reaction is from an author who received his first trade publishing contract in late 2005 and has written non-stop for a year to meet the contract deadline. He knows exactly what the zone feels like:

I have experienced the zone as a musician in a band. It is almost indescribable in music, something totally "transcendental" and very spiritual, a total connection with both audience and other performers. It is arguably the main reason performers perform. Unfortunately, it does not happen in every performance and is more a rarity than a common occurrence, although I believe it does occur more frequently the more adept one is at the particular skill (e.g. music or sports). In sports I believe it involves pacing, fitness level, skill level, and frame of mind. In music I think it involves skill level, audience receptivity, choice of material, and frame of mind of all performers. It most definitely is NOT a switch that can be turned on and off at will. So far it has not happened to me in writing; it's still a struggle!!

Many thanks to those who wrote to me and revealed all!